- The US Treasury is delivering 4 million prepaid debit cards to Americans struggling during the current times.
- Deemed EIP Cards by the Treasury they will be mailed with instructions for activation and can be used to make purchases, withdraw cash from in-network ATMs, and transfer funds to their personal bank account.
- The US Treasury has already remitted circa 140 million stimulus checks, mostly by direct deposit.
With the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic sparking cashflow problems for businesses and individuals, there is a clear need to get payments to the eligible recipients as soon as possible. However, one challenge is for those without a bank account who inevitably are in greater need of a stimulus payment.
In a new move, the U.S. Treasury announced it will be sending 4 million Economic Impact Payments via prepaid debit cards as opposed to paper checks which was the case previously, and the remaining payments made by check.
Payments of up to $1,200 for American taxpayers will be remitted through these debit cards and is scheduled to begin this week.
The Treasury’s decision of mass-producing prepaid debit cards was made in a bid to improve efficiency in issuing stimulus check payments.
According to the Treasury: “the EIP Card is part of Treasury’s U.S. Debit Card program, which provides prepaid debit card services to federal agencies for the electronic delivery of non-benefit payments.”
Issued by MetaBank, the EIP Card will be made available to those who do not have bank account information on file with the IRS and every card mailed will include instructions on how to activate and use the card.
The IRS will issue these cards to those taxpayers whose tax return was processed by either the Andover or Austin IRS Service Center.
“Treasury and the IRS have been working with unprecedented speed to issue Economic Impact Payments to American families. Prepaid debit cards are secure, easy to use and allow us to deliver Americans their money quickly,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. “Recipients can immediately activate and use these cards safely.”
These prepaid debit cards will allow Americans to make, spend, purchase, get cash from in ATMs and transfer funds to their personal bank accounts without incurring any additional fees.
Furthermore, they will be able to use these cards online or any retailers that accept Visa cards. Recipients will also be able to check their balance online, by phone or via a mobile app and they will be equipped with protections against fraud and loss.
With respect to eligibility for the stimulus payments, the criteria is based on income, and those individuals earning more than $99,000, householders with one child who earn more than $136,500 and married couples without children earning more than $198,000 will be excluded.
Those who claim to be a dependent such as college students and undocumented immigrants who don’t have Social Security numbers are ineligible for the payments.
Until now, the Treasury Department said it has already delivered 140 million Economic Impact Payments worth $239 billion via direct deposit and checks however, there are about 10 million Americans yet to receive them.
The payment cards form a large part of the ongoing individual stimulus payments that were remitted amid the coronavirus response with the CARES Act.
In addition, the IRS said that it will be adding 3,500 telephone representatives to answer queries regarding the direct payments.