What you need to know about the EIP stimulus debit cards

Check your mail carefully. Four million Americans were sent stimulus money as a result of the CARES Act in the form of prepaid debit cards, but there is some confusion.

The cards were sent in a plain white envelope.

"I assumed immediately it was junk mail," said Vivian Molina, of Philadelphia's Somerton section.

"Seems fake," said Isabel Damasceno, of Wilmington, Delaware.

The treasury department's prepaid debit cards do come in a plain envelope from "Money Network Cardholder Services" in Omaha, Nebraska.

They say "Visa" on the front and the back has the name of the treasury's issuing bank, "MetaBANK." Your social security number is required to activate them.

"How come it's not the amount they said it was going to be," asked Damasceno.

Your payment might be smaller due to your filing status or adjusted gross income, but if the amount is a mistake, the IRS says you can get the balance when you file your 2020 federal tax return.

In the meantime, some consumers, including Molina, are reporting a name mix-up on the card.

"The name mix-up was that it was his first name and my last name," she said. "It was very stressful. I actually was going bonkers. I didn't know what to do."

In most cases, you can still activate and use the card. Just use the social security number of the payee with the first name on the first line.

You can shop and pay bills online and pay in person wherever Visa debit is accepted. You can withdraw cash at an ATM but only $1,000 per day. You can also transfer all the money from your card to your bank account. The transfer should post in one to two business days.

If you threw the card away by accident, you can get a replacement by calling 800-240-8100. Also, beware of some fees you could incur.

Additional Resources:

Start using your EIP card

EIP Card Fee Schedule

Is the EIP Card a scam?

Treasury is delivering millions of economic impact payments by debit card

IRS: Economic Impact Payments

IRS: Economic Impact Payment Information Center
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