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Why it’s important to have an EIP card if Congress authorizes a new stimulus check?

Why it's important to have an EIP card if Congress authorizes a new stimulus check

We explain what it is and how to obtain a prepaid card in case a new support order is authorized.

Nearly 4 million eligible Americans received their first stimulus check in the form of an Economic Impact Payment (EIP) card instead of a physical check or direct deposit when the CARES Act passed in March.

If a second stimulus check is authorized, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is likely to make millions of payments using the same payment method.

How do you know if you’ll get an EIP card?

An EIP card is a prepaid debit card that the Treasury Department has used to distribute some stimulus payments under the CARES Act, instead of an electronic money transfer or paper check. The cards were provided to some eligible U.S. residents for whom the government did not have banking information.

This is a Visa debit card that can be used to make purchases, get cash from ATMs and transfer funds to your personal bank account at no charge.

In case the IRS sends you one, after the card arrives you must go to the EIP card website to activate it.

Why receive an EIP card?

Those who were eligible received the first stimulus payment through the EIP Card instead of a check if they had filed their taxes but the IRS did not have their bank account information available, and if the tax return was processed by the IRS service centers in Andover, Massachusetts, or Austin, Texas, according to a press release from the Treasury.

If a second stimulus bill passes, you may receive payment in the same manner as the first, so if you received an EIP card, you will probably receive another one. It may be that if you have new banking information to provide, you may receive your check in a different manner.

If you are eligible, your EIP Card will arrive at the address shown on your last tax return in an unmarked “Money Network Cardholder Services” envelope. Be careful, because the envelope was not clearly marked, some people even threw the letter away unopened during the first round of stimulus payments. Payment cards are often sent in plain envelopes to deter fraudsters.

How quickly could you get an EIP card?

In the event that a new coronavirus relief payment is approved, it will probably take longer to get your EIP card than by direct deposit. When the CARES Act was passed in March, the first PID cards didn’t start coming out until mid-May. But it may be faster this time, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchinm said in a public statement a few days ago.

Once a second stimulus payment is approved, you will be able to track your money using the same IRS tool to track the status of your stimulus payment. If you are still waiting for your first check, remember to report your missing payment to the IRS and learn the possible reasons why your stimulus payment has not yet arrived.

If you have a bank account, you can try to sign up for IRS direct deposit through their Get My Payment portal. That way, if another stimulus package is approved and another payment is issued, the IRS will have your updated bank account information at hand. That will make it more likely that you will receive the direct deposit payment instead of an EIP card.

Here’s what we know about negotiations for a new bill that could include a second stimulus check.

If you want to know how much stimulus money you might receive through an EIP card, the amount will depend on your AGI, or adjusted gross income, on your tax returns and the number of economic dependents you have. The maximum amount a single taxpayer can get is $1,200.

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