15 million $1,400 stimulus checks were mailed in paper form by postal service.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) confirmed Wednesday the mailing of 5 million prepaid debit cards or “EIP Cards” with the third $1,400 stimulus check.
This payment method is the one that reaches the fewest beneficiaries. In the case of the second wave of payments this week under the third check, 15 million were mailed in paper form, while 17 million payments were deposited into taxpayers’ bank accounts.
Since March 12, when the first $1,400 payments were deposited into the accounts of 90 million Americans, the agency has processed about 127 million payments by one of the three forms.
“Paper checks and debit cards, known as EIP cards, began processing on Friday, March 19, and will continue to be mailed over the next several weeks,” the IRS said of the scope of the second batch of payments.
“Additional payments will be sent in the coming weeks via direct deposit and through the mail as paper checks or debit cards. The vast majority of all economic impact payments will be issued via direct deposit. Most taxpayers do not need to take any action,” the agency advised in a statement.
EIP Cards were mailed to about 4 million recipients as part of the first round of $1,200 checks under the CARES Act.
Many threw away the EIP Card in the first round of stimulus checks.
However, the process became bumpy, as a lack of information about the cards led hundreds of thousands of recipients to throw away the mail that arrived in their mailboxes under the misapprehension that it was junk mail.
One of the keys to knowing that the EIP Card is authentic is that it will arrive in a white envelope stamped with the Treasury Department’s seal.
“The EIP Card will also come in a white envelope that will prominently display the seal of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The card has Visa’s name on the front and the issuing bank, MetaBank, N.A. on the back. The information included with the card will explain that it is an economic impact payment. Each mailing will include instructions on how to securely activate and use the card. It is important to note that none of the EIP cards issued for any of the three rounds are reloadable; recipients will receive a separate card and will not be able to reload funds onto an existing card,” read an IRS release.
As part of the second round of $600 checks, the Treasury Department said the plastic money was issued to 8 million eligible recipients in the nation’s 50 states and the District of Columbia.
“In order to quickly disburse the EIP Cards, some people who received check payments in the first round may receive an EIP Card this time, and some people who received an EIP Card in the first round may receive a check in the second round,” the agency said in a press release on its Web site.
Cardholders can use the cards to make purchases in stores as well as online.
They can also process the payment of housing rent or mortgages.
Some transactions involve additional fees.