WASHINGTON — QUESTION:
Is the IRS sending some stimulus payments as debit cards? How can someone confirm that they are legit?
Yes, the IRS is sending some stimulus payments as debit cards. As of March 24, the IRS is no longer sending payments through direct deposit. All subsequent payments will be delivered as either a mailed check or a mailed debit card.
Photos of the debit card can be found below, so people can confirm that they are receiving a legitimate IRS debit card.
- Henry Grzes, American Institute of CPA's
- IRS, "More Economic Impact Payments set for disbursement in coming days; taxpayers should watch mail for paper checks, debit cards"
- EIPCARD.Com, Frequently Asked Questions
- Federal Trade Commission, "Consumer Information"
As Economic Impact Payments start to arrive in people's bank accounts, others are still waiting. Some have received payments through the mail either by check or by debit cards.
A Verify team viewer wasn't sure if the debit card she received was legit. She was worried that the debit card was part of a scam.
"I just received an Economic Impact Payment Card," she wrote in an email. "Is this real?"
Henry Grzes from the American Institute of CPA's said that the IRS is in fact sending debit cards to some Americans.
"They are legit," Grzes told our Verify team. "It should be in an envelope coming to you mailed from the U.S. Treasury."
The gallery below shows what the debit cards should look like, as well as the envelope:
What the EIP cards, envelope look like:
The envelope should be white with a U.S. Treasury logo.
Visible on the envelope will be the phrase 'important information about your Economic Impact Payment.' The debit card should have a VISA logo on the front, and a MetaBank label on the back. MetaBank is the Treasury's "Financial Agent," according to the IRS.
According to a recent press release from the IRS, the last day to receive payments through direct deposit was on March 24. After this date, payment is only being delivered through the mail either by check or debit cards.
How can these debit cards be used?
According to the IRS, these debit cards can be used online or at stores. They can also be deposited from at an ATM or transferred to another bank account. In addition, the EIP cards can also be used for cash-back from participating merchants.
"It can be used anywhere you can use a credit card or a debit card," said Grzes. "Think of it as cash in your pocket."
What should you do if your card was lost or destroyed?
According to guidance from the IRS, one should call customer service if a card is discarded or destroyed at 1800-240-8100. The card will be deactivated "to prevent anyone from using it," and a replacement card will be sent "at no cost."
What about privacy?
Privacy concerns were addressed on the Frequently Asked Questions page for the EIP Cards website.
"We take the privacy and confidentiality of our Card recipients very seriously," the website read.
According to this FAQ page, the financial agent will "under no circumstances" sell cardholder information to third parties. This FAQ page also said that the Treasury Department will not be able to track how one spends their EIP Debit Card.
"Under Federal law (the Right to Financial Privacy Act), the federal government is not allowed to ask the card issuer about your Card account and the card issuer is not allowed to give the government information about your Card account without your written permission, except under very limited circumstances."
Grzes confirmed that the IRS will not be able to track your purchases.
"There's going to be no tracing of what you're buying or how you're spending," he said.
According to the FAQ page, the government can not withdraw funds from your EIP cards either.
"The funds loaded onto the EIP Card belong to you," it read. "And you are the only one who can access or use the money."
Will using the EIP card impact your credit score?
The FAQ page for the EIP Card website said the answer is no.
"This is not a credit card," it read. "And will not affect your credit score."
Have more questions?
We want to be a resource for you. If you have another question about the EIP debit cards, stimulus checks, or anything else, send us an email at VERIFY@WUSA9.COM