Economic stimulus may arrive as prepaid debit card
Thursday, June 4, 2020
A warning for those who have not yet received their $1,200 economic stimulus payments: Be careful to not throw it away with the junk mail.
“Most people already have received the economic stimulus payment from the IRS either by direct deposit or paper check, but others are still waiting,” said Cindy Clampet, Oklahoma State University Extension assistant resource management specialist. “Those people still waiting could receive that payment via a debit card.”
According to the IRS, about 4 million Americans will receive an economic impact payment card. As a security precaution, the card arrives in a plain envelope from Money Network Cardholder Services. Clampet said that may easily confuse some recipients since the IRS or U.S. Government is not named on the envelope or on the card. That also means it could easily be ignored.
“It’s almost an automatic response to quickly toss junk mail in the trash. But, for those still waiting on the stimulus money, thoroughly check all mail received before throwing it away,” she said. “The VISA card will say Metabank on the back of it.”
Once the card is received, the recipient should activate the card by calling the toll-free activation line at 800-240-8100. Clampet said the recipient will need to confirm their identity by providing their name, address and Social Security number, and then create a 4-digit personal identification number.
Clampet said the EIP card can be used to make purchases at any business that accepts VISA debit cards. It can be used for both in-person and online shopping, as well as person-to-person purchases via PayPal, Venmo and other popular payment apps.
“If you prefer to use cash, card holders can get cash at any ATM. Just be aware that if it’s an out-of-network ATM, there could be a fee,” she said. “Another way to get cash from the card is to use the card for an in-store purchase, key in the four-digit PIN and select ‘yes’ when asked if you want cash back. The last way to get cash is to take the card to a bank or credit union. You’ll need to know the exact balance of the card as the bank teller has no way to tell you the balance.”
Consumers can look online to find in-network machines nearby. They also can track the balance of the EIP card first by registering it – an ID and password will need to be created. The balance also can be checked by calling 800-240-8100.
If the card is lost or stolen, Clampet said consumers should log into their account and lock the card so no one else can use it, then call that phone number to order a replacement card. Fees will apply.
“If you still haven’t received your stimulus payment, keep an eye out for the plain envelope coming in the mail containing the EIP card,” Clampet said.
More COVID-19 information is available from OSU Extension.