What to Know About Stimulus Checks Via Debit Card

MILLIONS OF AMERICANS have received economic impact payments, or stimulus checks, via direct deposit in their bank accounts. Now, nearly 4 million Americans are being sent stimulus checks by prepaid debit card instead of paper check, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

Say what? Yes, if you were expecting a paper check or direct deposit, you may be receiving an unmarked envelope with a stimulus debit card instead.

Economic impact payments, or stimulus checks, were authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, in early 2020.

Wondering how to manage these economic impact payment cards, avoid fees and get your cash? Here are answers to common questions, including:

  • What are economic impact payment cards?
  • Will I receive an EIP card?
  • What does the EIP card look like?
  • How do I use my economic impact payment card?
  • What fees will I pay when using the EIP card?
  • What if I accidentally throw away my EIP card?
  • Will using the EIP card impact my credit score?

Read on for more information on receiving your stimulus check via debit card.

What Are Economic Impact Payment Cards?

EIP cards are Visa-branded debit cards issued by the government and stocked with your stimulus check money. Starting the week of May 18, eligible recipients began receiving EIP cards in the mail.

Will I Receive an EIP Card?

Nearly 4 million Americans are slated to receive EIP cards. You may be one of them if you qualify for an economic impact payment and didn’t yet receive your stimulus payment as a direct deposit.

“Taxpayers receive EIP Cards because they are eligible for an EIP, but the IRS did not have their bank account information and because their tax return was processed by either the Andover (Massachusetts) or Austin (Texas) IRS Service Center,” wrote Sarah Shannonhouse, manager for tax practice and ethics at the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, in an email.

In general, Americans who qualify for a stimulus check are taxpayers earning an adjusted gross income of less than $99,000 if single or $198,000 if married filing jointly. The full $1,200 per taxpayer is available to single filers earning less than $75,000 and married filers earning less than $150,000. An additional $500 is available for taxpayers with children under age 17.

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