The Internal Revenue Service this week urged recipients of Economic Impact Payments (stimulus funds) who may have been expecting to receive a check in the mail to keep their eyes out for a nondescript envelope containing a prepaid debit card instead.
As Economic Impact Payments continue to be delivered, some recipients have reported throwing out, or nearly throwing out, what appeared to them to be a credit card offer or other junk mail. In reality, according to the IRS, some stimulus payments are being sent by prepaid debit card, and those debit cards arrive in a plain envelope from “Money Network Cardholder Services.”
Nearly 4 million people are being sent their Economic Impact Payment by prepaid debit card, instead of paper check, officials said. The determination of which taxpayers received a debit card was made by the Bureau of the Fiscal Service, a part of the Treasury Department that works with the IRS to handle distribution of the payments.
Those who receive their Economic Impact Payment by prepaid debit card can, without any fees:
• Make purchases online and at any retail location where Visa is accepted;
• Get cash from in-network ATMs;
• Transfer funds to their personal bank account; or
• Check their card balance online, by mobile app or by phone.
The free prepaid card, IRS officials said, also provides consumer protections available to traditional bank account owners, including protection against fraud, loss and other errors.
Frequently asked questions continually updated on IRS.gov
The IRS has two sets of frequently asked questions to help Americans get answers about their Economic Impact Payments, including those arriving on prepaid debit card. These FAQs include answers to eligibility and other many common questions, including help to use two Economic Impact Payment tools.
Get My Payment (https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment), an IRS online tool, shows the projected date when a direct deposit has been scheduled or date when the payment will be mailed by check or prepaid debit card. The Non-Filers Enter Payment Info Here tool (https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here) helps taxpayers submit basic information to receive Economic Impact Payments quickly.
The IRS regularly updates the Economic Impact Payment (https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payment-information-center) and the Get My Payment (https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment-frequently-asked-questions) frequently asked questions pages on IRS.gov as more information becomes available. Taxpayers should check the FAQs often for the latest additions.
Here are answers to some of the top questions people are asking about the prepaid debit cards:
Q. Can I have my economic impact payment sent to my prepaid debit card?
A. Maybe. It depends on your prepaid card and whether your payment has already been scheduled. Many reloadable prepaid cards have account and routing numbers that you could provide to the IRS through the Get My Payment application or Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool. You would need to check with the financial institution to ensure your card can be re-used and to obtain the routing number and account number, which may be different from the card number.
If you obtained your prepaid debit card through the filing of a federal tax return, you must contact the financial institution that issued your prepaid debit card to get the correct routing number and account number. Do not use the routing number and account number shown on your copy of the tax return filed. When providing this information to the IRS, you should indicate that the account and routing number provided are for a checking account unless your financial institution indicates otherwise.
Q. Will IRS be sending prepaid debit cards?
A. Some payments may be sent on a prepaid debit card known as The Economic Impact Payment Card The Economic Impact Payment Card is sponsored by the Treasury Department’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service, managed by Money Network Financial LLC and issued by Treasury’s financial agent, MetaBank.
If you receive an Economic Impact Payment Card, it will arrive in a plain envelope from “Money Network Cardholder Services.” The Visa name will appear on the front of the card; the back of the card has the name of the issuing bank, MetaBank. Information included with the card will explain that the card is your Economic Impact Payment Card. Please go to EIPcard.com for more information.
Q. Can I specifically ask the IRS to send the Economic Impact Payment to me as a debit card?
A. Not at this time. For those who don’t receive their Economic Impact Payment by direct deposit, they will receive their payment by paper check, and, in a few cases, by debit card. The determination of which taxpayers receive a debit card will be made by the Bureau of the Fiscal Service (BFS), another part of the Treasury Department that works with the IRS to handle distribution of the payments. BFS is sending nearly 4 million debit cards to taxpayers starting in mid-May. At this time, taxpayers cannot make a selection to receive a debit card. Please go to EIPcard.com for more information.
Watch out for scams related to Economic Impact Payments
The IRS urged taxpayers to be on the lookout for scams related to the Economic Impact Payments. To use the new app or get information, taxpayers should visit IRS.gov. People should watch out for scams using email, phone calls or texts related to the payments. Be careful and cautious: The IRS will not send unsolicited electronic communications asking people to open attachments, visit a website or share personal or financial information. Remember, go directly and solely to IRS.gov for official information.
Quick links to the Frequently Asked Questions on IRS.gov:
• Economic Impact Payments: www.irs.gov/eipfaq
• Get My Payment tool: www.irs.gov/getmypaymentfaq
• Go to EIPcard.com for more information about prepaid debit cards.