Stimulus Prepaid CardA stimulus check, also known as an Economic Impact Payment (EIP) is a government aided income under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES). These checks, which the IRS began distributing in mid-April of 2020, were intended as financial support to individuals, couples and families in light of the recent worldwide pandemic, known now by the name “COVID-19”. However, some 4 million Americans received a prepaid debit card in the mail rather than the usual check. This article will delve further into details regarding stimulus payments, specifically in regard to government prepaid cards.
Stimulus Checks and COVID-19
Americans experiencing financial loss due to circumstances surrounding COVID-19 have been receiving payments from the IRS to help with everyday living expenses while in quarantine. Each check promised a total of $1200 to be paid out to individuals, $2400 to married couples and an extra $500 per child, as children can be claimed as dependents. Those that were already signed up with direct deposit from filing taxes with the IRS in either 2018 or 2019, began receiving financial aid as early as April 11th, 2020 while physical checks began arriving in the mail by April 24th, 2020. A deadline of May 13th, 2020 was set for those who have yet to set up direct deposit to do so. Those who did not sign up for direct deposit option, opted instead for paper checks in the mail. However, checks are prioritized to lower income households, with an AGI of $10,000 or less. Each week, the AGI increases by $10,000 and those that fit in that category can apply and so on, meaning Americans with a high income will not receive a stimulus check for a long time.
Stimulus Prepaid Debit Card
In order to bypass the wait times for paper checks, the IRS began mailing Americans stimulus checks via prepaid debit card, known as the , which is funded by the Treasury Department’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service, managed by Money Network Financial, LLC and issued by MetaBank, N.A. Once your card arrives in the mail, it will have to be activated by calling a toll-free activation line. This prepaid card can be used online or in any brick and mortar store that accepts Visa Debit as a viable form of payment.
Receiving Payment and Associated Fees
A plain white envelope addressed from “Money Network Cardholder Services” will house these prepaid cards, so American citizens (before being told otherwise) have assumed that these cards are a scam. Due to this, many have simply destroyed, lost or threw away their prepaid card. To make sure your card is authentic, look for the “Visa Debit” sign on the front and the issuing bank (MetaBank) on the back. Luckily, a free replacement card can be issued by calling MetaBank customer service, where the standard fee of $7.50 will be waived for first time occurrences.
Others fees associated with the Stimulus prepaid card include $5 per second and subsequent cash withdrawal at your local bank branch (the first withdrawal is free), $2 per second and subsequent withdrawal at ATMs, $3 per withdrawal at international ATMS, 25 cents per balance inquiry, $7.50 per second and subsequent card replacement and $17 for priority shipping of said replacement card.
The EIP debit card is a quick and easy way to get access to stimulus payments if you opted out or do not have access to direct deposit. These cards are secure, convenient and your purchases are not recorded or tracked by any government agencies, so you are free to spend, save, or invest your money accordingly!