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Will my second stimulus money be paid as notes, check, bank transfer or debit card?

The new wave of Economic Impact Payments began in December and millions of Americans have received their $600 financial boost, but how will you get yours?

The new wave of Economic Impact Payments began in December and millions of Americans have received their $600 financial boost, but how will you get yours?

By 15 January 2021 the IRS aims have distributed all stimulus checks payments to eligible citizens. As was the case with the CARES Act’s direct payments it is thought that over 165 million will receive the financial support, leaving the IRS with a huge logistical task on their hands.

To get the money out to the people as quickly as possible they use a number of methods to ensure that everyone can be reached. The most common form of payment is as a direct debit paid into a bank account; but millions will also receive theirs in the form of a physical check, or via an Economic Impact Payment debit card sent to their home address.

How will your stimulus check payment arrive?

The IRS will make payments based on the information that they have on file, meaning that the details provided when you last submitted taxes will be crucial. The fastest way to get payments made is through electronic transfers (direct deposit), so they use that method wherever possible. On 8 January the Treasury Department announced that they had already made $107 billion worth of direct deposit payments, and that 79% of the total cost of the second round of stimulus checks had been distributed.

Here’s everything you need to know about how your $600 stimulus check payment is likely to arrive.

Direct deposit

If your full banking details are already on file with the IRS then you will likely receive the stimulus check through direct deposit into your bank account. This covers the majority of Americans and also applies to those who receive Social Security beneficiaries, because it utilises the same payment method for benefits payments. By 4 January, around two-thirds of these electronic payments had already been made. 

Paper checks

Despite being commonly referred to as stimulus checks, few actually receive their Economic Impact Payments in the form of a physical check. They are only really issued to those who are eligible for the support and who have access to banking facilities, but whose direct deposit details were not on file. The extra time required to produce, sort and send the physical checks means that the payments began arriving later than the direct deposit payments.

EIP debit cards

Stimulus check recipients who do not have access to any formal banking, or at least none that the federal government is aware of, will receive their $600 in the form of a EIP debit card sent to their home address. The prepaid Visa card will arrive loaded with the money and can be spent in shops or online, just like a regular debit card. The IRS has already sent around 8 million payments using this method and are being used in all 50 states.


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