IRS ISSUES DEBIT CARDS FOR STIMULUS PAYMENTS
THE IRS WEBSITE MAY SAY THAT YOUR CHECK WAS MAILED, BUT IT MAY NOT BE A CHECK THAT YOU RECEIVE
Here's an Internal Revenue Service alert regarding some recently delivered stimulus payments: Pay attention if you get a plain envelope in the mail that's marked "Money Network Cardholder Services."
No, folks, it's not a scam. It's real stimulus cash.
The envelope contains a prepaid debit card that is loaded with your stimulus payment. Do not throw out this envelope or toss aside this card, as it can contain up to $1,200 for single taxpayers.
The cards are marked Visa debit card, and the back of the card has the logo for MetaBank.
No, nothing seems to be simple about the rollout of the stimulus money that's being issued as part of the coronavirus relief effort.
The federal government said it has already delivered stimulus payments totaling $239 billion to more than 140 million Americans. The money has arrived in a variety of ways since April, including direct deposit to bank accounts, Direct Express cards connected to other federal programs and by paper check in the regular mail.
A Visa Debit card, like the one pictured, is being issued to 4 million people who have yet to receive stimulus money, or Economic Impact Payments. Consumers are being told that the cards are not a scam.
Now, some consumers are bewildered when money finally does arrive for them. And some reportedly may have even thrown away such cards.
Some consumers are bewildered when money finally does arrive for them. And some reportedly may have even thrown away such cards.
Or even shredded them.
Jacké Dollar said she immediately cut up the Visa debit card shortly after she opened the envelope Tuesday. She has never had a debit card, never wanted one. So when she got this one in the mail, she just cut it up.
"Today I was thinking, 'Oh my gosh, I bet it's that stimulus thing,' " said Dollar, who is a geriatric care manager in Des Moines, Iowa.
Dollar, 73, said her work life has become far more complicated since she can no longer visit her clients in nursing homes, thanks to precautions being taken to combat COVID-19. She readily admits she was distracted Tuesday and acted hastily. But she doesn't fault the IRS for sending her a stimulus payment via a debit card.
"I cut it up myself," she said.
She's not sure how much money she received in an Economic Impact Payment, but she knows the IRS didn't have her bank account information because she never does anything via direct deposit.
On Wednesday, she spent much of the day, unsuccessfully, trying to fix the problem by calling the customer service number for the card at 800-240-8100. But the prompts seem to take her nowhere. She ended up writing a letter to try to straighten things out.
A relatively small group – nearly 4 million people – are going to receive their Economic Impact Payment via prepaid debit cards, according to the Internal Revenue Service. The prepaid cards, which started rolling out May 18, are being used for some instead of a paper checks.
The government is mailing prepaid cards to some who qualified for a stimulus payment but did not have a way, such as bank account information on file with the IRS, for the IRS to directly deposit the payment.
The IRS has noted previously that it will not send an Economic Impact Payment to an account used to make a payment to the IRS. If the IRS doesn’t have direct deposit bank information for someone, their payment will be mailed to the address the IRS has on file.
Some consumers received paper checks; others received these prepaid debit cards.
"The determination of which taxpayers received a debit card was made by the Bureau of the Fiscal Service, a part of the Treasury Department that works with the IRS to handle distribution of the payments," according to an IRS statement released Wednesday afternoon.
Will I pay any fees?
If you do get a debit card, the IRS notes, you can avoid any fees with several types of transactions including:
The IRS noted that the free, prepaid card provides consumer protections available to traditional bank account owners, including protection against fraud, loss and other errors.