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Second stimulus check: what is an EIP card and how do I get one?

The debit cards were provided to some eligible US residents for whom the government didn't have banking information for.

FILE PHOTO: A man uses an ATM machine next an inflatable plastic balloon inside a Bank of America branch in Times Square in New York, U.S., August 10, 2019. REUTERS/Nacho Doce/File Photo

The IRS and Treasury Department stopped sending out second stimulus checks on Friday, January 15. Some people are receiving their stimulus payment on one of the 8 million Economic Impact Payment cards, or EIP cards, that the Treasury is sending out.

What is an EIP card?

An economic impact payment card is a prepaid debit card that the US Treasury used to distribute some stimulus payments under the March CARES Act, instead of direct deposit or a paper check. The cards were provided to some eligible US residents for whom the government didn't have banking information for.

These debit cards can be used to make purchases, get cash from ATMs and transfer funds to your personal bank account without any fee being involved. If you're sent one, make sure to head to the EIP card website to activate it and learn how to use it.

Why would I get my second stimulus payment on an EIP card?

According to a Treasury press release, for the first round of payments, those who were eligible received the first stimulus payment by EIP card instead of by check if they filed their taxes but the IRS didn't have their bank account information, and if the tax return was processed by IRS service centers in either Andover, Massachusetts, or Austin, Texas.

The IRS claim that some people who received a paper check last time could receive a debit card this time, and some people who received a debit card last time could receive a paper check.

How much money could be loaded onto my EIP card?

Getting your payment via an EIP card wouldn't change anything about the amount you would receive. It is a different format of the same amount.

The amount of money you're entitled to in any second stimulus check depends on your adjusted gross income, from your tax filings, along with your filing status (single versus joint) and how many dependents you have.

What happens if I didn't get my EIP card by January 15?

Any second stimulus check payment that doesn't go out to its intended recipient by January 15 will have to claim it with a Recovery Rebate Credit as part of tax season, which starts on February 12. If you received a confirmation letter from the IRS that it sent your money, but your EIP card never arrived you may have to report the missing funds or any errors to the IRS.


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