What is an EIP card and will you get one instead of a stimulus check?

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About 4 million people received their stimulus payment through a prepaid debit card called an EIP card, which looks like this. Money Network / Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt / CNET

After the Loi CARES spent in March and the first round of coronavirus stimulus payments began to deploy in April, many Qualified Americans were surprised to learn that they would receive their money through an Economic Impact Payment Card, or PIE, rather than direct deposit or check in the mail. EIP cards are debit cards that you can spend like cash or by wire transfer to your bank. About 4 million people received these cards as of May.

Now Senate Republicans and House Democrats stay within a week disagreement in the dead end on details in the next economic recovery plan. Despite a bipartisan agreement on the need for a second stimulus check, many Americans wonder if and when a second check arrives – and, if they received their first payment via an EIP card, whether the second payment will be made the same way.

Here’s everything you need to know about EIP cards and if you can get a second stimulus payment in this form in the coming months.

What is an EIP card?

An EIP card is a prepaid debit card that the Treasury Department used to distribute stimulus payments under the CARES Act, instead of an electronic money transfer or paper checks. The cards were provided to certain eligible U.S. residents for whom the government did not have banking information. Visa debit cards can be used to make purchases, get money at network ATMs, and transfer funds to your personal bank account at no cost.

Once the card arrives, you head to the EIP card website to activate it and learn more about how to use it.

Who is eligible for stimulus payments via an EIP card?

Those who were eligible received the first stimulus payment via an EIP card instead of a check if they filed their taxes, but the IRS did not have their bank account information on hand, and the tax return was processed by IRS service centers in Andover. , Massachusetts, or Austin, Texas, according to a Treasury press release. The importance of these service centers is unclear, but we have contacted the Treasury for more information.

If a second dunning bill is approved, you can receive your payment the same way you did the first time – so if you received an EIP card, you will likely get another. If you have new banking information to provide, you may receive your check in a different way.

How would my EIP card arrive?

If you are eligible, your EIP card will arrive at the address listed on your last tax return in an unmarked envelope from “Money Network Cardholder Services”. Since it was not clearly marked, some people would have thrown the letter away without opening it during the first round of stimulus payments.

Payment cards are often sent in plain envelopes to deter fraud and thieves. It is not clear whether the IRS would also send a second payment in an unmarked envelope.

How quickly could I get an EIP card if a second stimulus payment is approved?

If another coronavirus relief bill with a second stimulus payment passes, getting your EIP card could take longer than direct deposit. When the CARES law was passed in March, the first EIP cards didn’t start to come out until mid-May. But it is possible that it will be faster this time, since the infrastructure is already in place. We just don’t know yet.

Once a second stimulus check is approved, you will be able to track your money (in any form) using the IRS Track My Payment tool. (If you still haven’t gotten a first stimulus check, you can also track the status of your stimulus check, learn how to report your missing check to the IRS, and find possible reasons why your stimulus check isn’t. still hasn’t happened.)

Can I avoid getting a second EIP card?

If you have a bank account, you can try signing up for direct deposit with the IRS now through their Get My Payment portal. That way, if another stimulus package and a check are passed, your bank account information will be handy so you can probably get it through direct deposit instead of an EIP card. Direct deposit might not be available to everyone, but the portal allowed me to enter my bank details and sign up (I received my first check in the mail).


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How Much Stimulus Money Can I Get on an EIP Card?

Once the bill is passed, the amount you would get for a second stimulus payment (whether it’s a direct deposit, postal check, or EIP card) depends on your AGI, or adjusted gross income, taken from your tax returns, as well as your filing status (single or spouse) and how many dependents you have (Learn how to find your AGI on your taxes here.) The maximum amount a single taxpayer could get is $ 1,200. Find how to calculate how much you could get on a second raise payment here.

Getting your payment through an EIP card won’t change the math or the amount you might get – just the form in which it arrives.

Will I be notified if I need to get an EIP card?

With the first stimulus payments, the IRS sent a letter about your money to your last known address within 15 days of payment. The letter contained information on how you got the money (check or direct deposit or EIP card) and how to report if you did not receive payment. But beware: there have been a lot of dunning check scams go around. Visit IRS.gov before giving your information to anyone to make sure your letter is legitimate.

What should I do if my EIP card is lost or destroyed?

Don’t worry: if you’ve lost or destroyed your EIP card, you can request a free replacement through MetaBank customer service. The replacement fee will be waived the first time.

You do not need to know your card number to request a replacement. Simply call 800-240-8100 and choose the second option from the main menu, according to the IRS website.

To find out more, find out if you are qualified for a second stimulus check and when you can expect a second stimulus check.

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