Coronavirus

Stimulus check: will I receive a replacement debit card if I threw the first one out?

The IRS is lacking bank account information for about 4 million Americans so the agency is sending them their stimulus payments by way of debit cards through the mail.

Stimulus check: will I receive a replacement debit card if I threw the first one out?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) says around 152 million Americans have received a stimulus payment to help them get through the economic shocks caused by the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, but despite this huge amount of money being parachuted into the economy there are millions of citizens still waiting for their cash to help ease the difficulties causes by Covid-19. The IRS says that it is lacking bank details for roughly four million people in the U.S. and that those Americans who are eligible for stimulus checks should receive the cash by way of a pre-charged visa debit card in the mail.

These debit cards will contain $1,200 per individual and have the same protections as a regular debit card from any bank. People who receive the card instead of a direct deposit or a paper check can withdraw the money as they please, use the card for purchases in-store or online or simply transfer the funds to another account.

But because the cards come in plain envelopes some people have thrown them away thinking it was junk mail. Upon realising their mistake, many have discovered that reclaiming their cash can be a frustrating process.

The U.S. Treasury is working alongside MetaBank to send the roughly four million Visa debit cards containing up to $1,200 per individual as part of the CARES Act approved by president Donald Trump back in March. These debit cards are being called ‘economic impact payment cards’. They typically come in a plain white envelope with an Omaha return address from Money Network Cardholder Services. If you receive one, do not throw it away.

In particular, because the government warned Americans to be aware of scams throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, many people have reached the conclusion that these envelopes are some kind of scam, especially given that the name that appears on the envelope is unfamiliar to most people.

How to get the stimulus debit card back

If you have thrown your card away, or lost it after opening it and setting up, Erin Dolin, a spokeswoman for MetaBank, explained what you should do. Check out the extensive Q&A section at EIPcard.com/faq which says that: “If your Card is discarded or destroyed, it is important that you call Customer Service at 1.800.240.8100 (TTY: 1.800.241.9100) immediately and select the “Lost/Stolen” option."

Cards will be deactivated to prevent anyone else from using them, and a replacement card will be ordered. The first reissued card is free, and after that, there is a $7.50 charge, MetaBank said. There is also a $17.50 handling and postage charge.

One reason the U.S. Treasury used debit cards was that it lacked the capacity to print the millions of EIP checks required quickly. Plastic cards offer a quicker option and one which the IRS says is more secure, but it's not an option that is without problems.