Stimulus Prepaid CardThe Economic Impact Payment (EIP) (sent out in the form of "stimulus checks") is government-aided income under the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES).
Stimulus Checks and COVID-19
Americans who are experiencing financial loss due to circumstances surrounding COVID-19 (mainly loss of employment) 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 who filed taxes with the IRS in either 2018 or 2019 were already signed up for direct deposit and began receiving financial aid as early as April 11th, 2020. Those who did not file taxes in 2018 or 2019 received physical checks in the mail by (arriving April 24th, 2020).
A deadline of May 13th, 2020 was set for those who were not signed up for direct deposit to do so. People who chose not to sign up for direct deposit opted instead for paper checks in the mail.
Checks are prioritized to lower income households, with an AGI (adjusted gross income) 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. This means that Americans with a higher 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 cards, known as the . These cards are 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, you can activate it 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
These prepaid cards were sent in a plain white envelope addressed from “Money Network Cardholder Services” and many American citizens (before being told otherwise) assumed that they were 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
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!
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