The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has already delivered more than 140 million Economic Impact Payments (EIPs, or stimulus checks) worth $239 billion by direct deposit to accounts at financial institutions, Direct Express card accounts, and by check.
Beginning this week, some Americans will receive nearly 4 million EIPs by prepaid debit card, instead of by paper check.
The card is free. The EIP Card is part of Treasury’s U.S. Debit Card program. It provides prepaid debit card services to federal agencies for the electronic delivery of non-benefit payments.
The cards are administered through MetaBank, Treasury’s financial agent for the U.S. Debit Card program in 2016. The EIP Card is a Visa and looks like this:
It’s important to note that the cards will come from MetaBank, not the IRS. According to the IRS, if you receive an EIP Card, it will arrive in a plain envelope from “Money Network Cardholder Services.” The information included with the card will explain that the card is your EIP Card. You can visit EIPcard.com for more information.
“Prepaid debit cards are secure, easy to use, and allow us to deliver Americans their money quickly,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “Recipients can immediately activate and use the cards safely.”
With an EIP Card, you can make purchases at any retail location where Visa is accepted, get cash from in-network ATMs, and transfer funds to your personal bank account without incurring any fees. You can also check your card balance online, by mobile app, or by phone without incurring any costs. The card also provides consumer protections available to traditional bank account owners, including protections against fraud, loss, and other errors.
The EIP Card is another way to provide stimulus money. EIP Cards are being distributed to eligible individuals who do not have bank information on file with the IRS, and whose tax return was processed by the Andover or Austin IRS Service Center.
And no, the IRS doesn’t take requests. At this time, taxpayers cannot opt to receive a debit card; that determination will be made by the Bureau of the Fiscal Service (BFS).