Coronavirus

Stimulus check: how can I use and cash my IRS prepaid debit card?

Last Friday the Internal Revenue Service confirmed that they had issued 140 million stimulus payments worth a total of $200 billion as part of the CARES Act.

Stimulus check: how can I use and cash my IRS prepaid debit card?
Robert F. Bukaty AP

Even though the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has sent 140 million payments worth a total of $200 billion to help Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic, about 20 million are still waiting for their money. The IRS has created a portal so people can track their payment, but it is not always clear to consumers when the money will land in their mailboxes or bank accounts.

The CARES Act was signed by president Donald Trump and it is a bill to provide a $1,200 Economic Impact Payment for Americans who lost their jobs during the outbreak and for those that have been struggling financially during the quarantine period.

US Treasury will send prepaid debit cards

Since there are about 20 million people in the U.S. who haven’t received their stimulus check, the Treasury announced on Tuesday that they will be sending four million stimulus payments via prepaid debit cards with the remaining payments will be made by paper check.

The U.S. Treasury has named these cards as per the bill term, Economic Impact Payments (EIP), and they will be mailed to those who are still waiting for their payment and will include instructions for activation. Once the EIP card is activated people can use it as they please and even withdraw the money to get cash from ATMs or transfer the funds to another account.

The issuer of the EIP card is MetaBank and people will also be able to use it to buy things online, which means that it has the same consumer protections as traditional debit cards. The nearly four million Americans who will receive these cards are the ones that don’t have bank account information on file with the IRS.