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If you’re still waiting for your Economic Impact Payments, you might be getting a debit card instead of a check in the mail. This, of course, is the money that’s meant to give relief due to the Coronavirus pandemic. You may have already gotten your payment by direct deposit or by check. But if you’re still waiting, watch your mailbox for either a check or a VISA debit card. And know that the government will never, ever call, text, email, or ask you to click on a link they sent to activate your card or get your money.

 

Here’s what to know if your payment comes in the form of a debit card.

  • Look for the prepaid card (and its envelope) in the mail. The envelope will be from “Money Network Cardholder Service.” Inside will be a VISA-branded prepaid card issued by MetaBank. This card will give you access to your economic impact payment.
  • Activate the card immediately. The mailer will give you instructions on how to activate the card, but here’s the deal: You can activate your card by calling 1-800-240-8100 or visiting USdebitcard.gov and clicking on the EIP card link. To activate your card, though, you’ll have to give them your Social Security number. Once you activate your card, you can get cash or use it anywhere that accepts VISA debit cards. There are no fees associated with transferring the money from the card to your personal bank account. Keep in mind that EIP cards will expire after three years. When that happens, the bank will send any money left on the card to you.
  • Questions about the card? Money Network has a 24-hour call center: 1-800-240-8100. You can call to check your card balance or just ask questions. There’s also more information and a quick video from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to answer questions you might have.

Most important, remember: unless you’ve asked for assistance, no one will ever call you about the EIP card. And no one will text, email, or ask you to click on a link they sent to activate this card or to get your money. If someone does, stop. It’s a scammer. Don’t give them your Social Security or debit card number, or any other information. Then report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.

 

212 Comments


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appreciative citizen
May 28, 2020
Thank you for this very helpful post!
Slight correction
May 28, 2020
They only wanted the last 6 digits of my social security number
Lucky Pepper
June 01, 2020

In reply to by Slight correction

But they already have your full ssn or they couldn’t verify your card. By the way they can also do with your ssn what they want even after the debit card account is closed. This is bad.
Julie123
June 06, 2020

In reply to by Lucky Pepper

Is it safe to give my last 6 numbers? The older I get the li trust..
Denny123
January 15, 2021

In reply to by Julie123

I just activated my card and they do require 6 numbers. For this activation use you need to supply it. I would be cautious otherwise giving out any of my number, especially on calls received, even with caller ID as the caller information can be faked. Bottom line, for activation use disregard my 1st comment.
Rhenson
May 28, 2020
My husband already has this card for unemployment, will they issue a separate card for the stimulous?
Hope this helps
July 22, 2020

In reply to by Rhenson

Unemployment insurance payments are issued by your state. The CARES Act stimulus payment comes directly from the federal government. So, yes, the card for the stimulus should be separate.
Shellafn
May 28, 2020
I am wondering what the benefit is to debit cards vs a check. Isn't the debit card more expensive? I'm trying to be open minded about the benefits, but it seems to me like Metabank benefits most??? Maybe there should be an OPTION to get the debit card, because most people I know would prefer a check.
jj
January 29, 2021

In reply to by Shellafn

Exactly what I was wondering. Just who is benefitting by the manufacturing of millions of these cards!
Don't use Luci…
May 28, 2020
I have not received this card but a bank of America prepaid card ?
Shellafn
May 28, 2020

In reply to by Don't use Luci…

I would say that is NOT your Stimulus check. The paperwork inside clearly states Economic Impact Payment Card.
Diva
May 29, 2020

In reply to by Don't use Luci…

I too received a card from Bank of America which I activated but it doesn't have money on it yet. I thought it was from an Employer not for stimulus or EIP or unemployment. But I'm definitely gonna call tomorrow. Let me know what happens with you?
dueturself
May 29, 2020

In reply to by Diva

The above instructions say the card ..." will be a VISA-branded prepaid card issued by MetaBank." The card you received from BoA may just be a standard solicitation to open a new credit card account.
SamuelMills
May 28, 2020
Thank You for sending me my stimulus check and I will be checking the mail for the card.
M31
May 28, 2020
How much are taxpayers paying MetaBank to put the EIP on debit cards? I receive SS, filed 2018/2019 tax, pay qtrly tax by EFTPS, so why didn't I get a direct deposit? Total chaos!
Shellafn
May 28, 2020

In reply to by M31

If your 2018 and 2019 tax returns did not have direct deposit information on your federal return, then you will get a paper check or, NOW you'll get the debit card. Reasons IRS would NOT have your direct deposit information would include: You owed taxes instead of getting a refund, You chose to get a paper check for your refund, or You didn't owe OR get a refund on your 2018 and/or 2019 returns. If you filed a return, the IRS doesn't continue to search for direct deposit information from Social Security, or any other source for that matter.
Bonnafous
May 28, 2020
Got it in the mail on Tuesday 5/28. Almost shredded it without opening the envelope, suspecting it was a junk mail advertisement from a bank that I never heard of. At the last second I noticed the envelope was sent via first class mail, unlike the pre-sorted lower-cost junk mail is sent, so I opened it. I had no information whatsoever that I might get a debit card instead of a check or direct depoist.
scDon't use yo…
January 07, 2021

In reply to by Bonnafous

I almost threw my card away to. Still worried it might be junk mail.
American citizen
May 28, 2020
I have updated my address however I have not received my card yet. I already received a paper check for the stimulus. Will I still receive This card ? There is no way to get a live person through Money Network Regarding the EIP card.
MIKE
May 28, 2020
THIS IS THE MOST ABSURD THING I HAVE EVER SEEN! WE WERE PROMISED A CHECK NOT A STUPID CREDIT CARD!!! WHY DO WE HAVE TO REGISTER... ISN'T THIS A SCAM...
FTC Staff
June 02, 2020

In reply to by MIKE

The prepaid debit cards from the government with Economic Impact Payments are not a scam. This blog explains what to look for if you get a prepaid debit card.

T.Ragland
May 29, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

What if the address on file with the irs is invalid, I haven’t received a check nor a debit card yet? Is there a number I can call to provide the correct information?
jlalt
June 01, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

Isn't anyone ever satisfied with what we are given. Now we're complaining about getting a debit card instead of a check. Take what you have been given. It's still money!
Zpiersall
June 02, 2020

In reply to by jlalt

The problem lies with the ones who have been living on credit cards the past month or so.. my credit card won’t take another card for payment. What’s so wrong with a paper check issued by the treasury department rather than a third party private business? It’s a valid complaint!
Rose
June 03, 2020

In reply to by jlalt

I want you to know EXACTLY what I'm complaining about. It's the over 1 1/2 hrs of stress I have been put through trying to get this card processed. They are asking for the "one time pass code" they emailed to me. Have copied, pasted and even typed it in and still not validated by them. Have requested a new code 6 times and none have worked. Have called the 800 number and there is no customer service - just recorded information. Tried the "transfer to my bank account" line and after given all account information they tell me there might be a charge AND they do not tell me how much that charge is. Really...my son got a check and it didn't cost him a bit of stress (or money) to get it into his bank account. I wish I could take what I have been given...just can't figure out how!!
Kreech
July 23, 2020

In reply to by Rose

I have had the same problem, I have no code number. The phone number given is useless, robots are NOT good conversationalists I have been to the banks 4 times and am rejected How much more time do I have to spend traveling dead end trails that lead me back to day one. I really would like to get rid of that debit card, I detest debit cards
Old Man
May 29, 2020
Received the debit card, activated it, and tried to get cash at seven ATM's. Each time the machine said the card wasn't valid. I was able finally to transfer the money to my checking account. It would be interesting to follow the financial trail back to the persons deciding to use this method and see who personally is benefiting from the wasted taxpayer dollars paid to the bank. By the way; Our tax refunds have gone D/D each year since the inception of EFT and our social security checks go EFT each month. This whole thing is crazy, but you can be assured there is financial gain involved within the administration or party.
Jmcamc
June 08, 2020

In reply to by Old Man

How long did it take to deposit the money into your bank. Just curious because I’m still waiting. Frustrating
PB
May 29, 2020
Thank you very much. I almost put the card in the trash!
AlwaysSkeptical
May 29, 2020
Thank you for having the information available and current. I almost threw it out because I work for a Regulatory Agency and see scams all the time. I wasn't aware they were sending cards out and so thankful your website is current and up to date. I'm usually the one referring consumers to your site, thanks again and it really saved me from making a big mistake.
Concerned Citizen
May 29, 2020
HAS ANYBODY READ THE FEES ASSOCIATED WITH THESE DEBIT CARDS...I AM OUTRAGED!!! WHO SELECTED THIS DEBIT CARD COMPANY AND THEN LET'S THEM CHARGE FEES TO USE MY STIMULUS PAYMENT. THIS SHOULD BE INVESTIGATED IMMEDIATELY DEBIT CARDS A FRAUGHT WITH NOT ONLY FEES BUT WITH OTHER PROBLEMS AS WELL.
FTC Staff
May 29, 2020

In reply to by Concerned Citizen

You can check your balance, get cash, and transfer money to your personal account with no feesRead this article from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to learn how.  

gonowhere
May 29, 2020
How did Metabank get my personnel info. without my permission and is Metabank liable if my info. get hacked.
FTC Staff
May 29, 2020

In reply to by gonowhere

The Economic Impact Payment Card is a VISA prepaid debit card. Your card should come with a note from the US Department of the Treasury. After you activate the card, your money is safe on the card and is eligible for FDIC insurance. This article from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has more information.

Don't use your…
May 29, 2020
How does this debit card establish the amount I am to receive ? I was given the amount of $843 dollars? Is this corrrect, when others getting checks are getting $1200 dollars. I don't understand how this allotment is established!!!!
Howdiedude
May 29, 2020
How do I exchange my debit card for a paper check? I do not agree to the terms of service with MetaBank.
FTC Staff
May 29, 2020

In reply to by Howdiedude

 Read this article from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to learn how to transfer the funds from the card to your account without paying a fee.

mbmurphy
June 02, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

"Cardholder Agreement" #5 IF YOU DO NOT AGREE TO THESE TERMS, DO NOT USE THE CARD, AND CANCEL THE CARD BY CALLING CUSTOMER SERVICE AND REQUESTING A REFUND CHECK. As stated by others you cannot talk to a person to do this via the phone. Push #1 for customer service, card balance, or to activate your card, then they ask to to enter your card number and something else to continue to activate. The whole point is I don't agree with the terms and DON'T want to activate my card, but there is no customer service person to talk to because they are forcing you to put your information. I tried to not enter information and it would not let me continue. I agree we should have just gotten a check. This is bogus!! What is the number for customer service so I can talk to a person and do what #5 states in the cardholder agreement! Please post a number where we can talk to a person about this.
march52
June 04, 2020

In reply to by Howdiedude

I have contacted EIP again regarding my stimulus debit card not arriving. They had me respond to security questions and only two of those questions had to do with me; so at the end of these questions, I was told my responses were not correct and they could no longer help me. I contacted the IRS who could not help me. Please advise.
TRX82
May 29, 2020
My parents got their EIP debit card today in the mail with both their names on it but to activate it says only the primary(first name listed) cardholder may activate it. The thing is my father's name is listed first and due to his advanced alzheimers isn't capable of handling financial matters so will there be any problems when my mother(who does have power of attorney) goes to activate it?
Yorkieandshihtzumom
May 29, 2020

In reply to by TRX82

All she needs is the last 6 digits of his social security. I'm a wife,and my hubby sat in his chair and handed me the card. 786.00 is better and nothing!
User
June 02, 2020

In reply to by TRX82

It's all automated. I had my husband stand by because his name is first and thought I would need him, but I didn't. I called to activate and entered the account # on the keypad on the phone!
F XGG
May 29, 2020
Will the funds be taxable and will I get a W4?
FTC Staff
June 01, 2020

In reply to by F XGG

The IRS says you don't include your Economic Impact Payment in your taxable income on your Federal income tax return or pay income tax on your Payment. The Payment won't reduce your refund or increase the amount you owe when you file your 2020 Federal income tax return.

Look at Question #31 on the Economic Impact Payment Information Page.

CHECK PLEASE
May 29, 2020
Who decided I should get a debit card? I would prefer a check and prefer my government to not give money to a bank to issue cards everyone. I do not understand how a tax refund can be deposited directly in my account but EIP payment has to be paid out in the form of debit card. Is it possible to get a check to replace this card? Please don't just tell me I can just transfer the money from the card to my account... that would still mean I would have to activate card and that is what would like to avoid doing.
Don't use your…
June 01, 2020

In reply to by CHECK PLEASE

please give me a money for my esy pysa account iam waiting
harden52
May 29, 2020
in April i received a $1200.00 direct deposit check now will i receive a second $2000.00 check in June or July
Jeanne
May 29, 2020
Hi - sorry you all have had trouble with receiving Stimulus payment, but good to know I'm not alone! IRS.gov confirmed that my Stimulus check was due to be mailed out 5/22/20. I spoke to IRS today (5/29) to ask if it ever got mailed. The woman I spoke to was nice, and said a "debit card" was indeed, mailed to me on 5/22, (to my correct address), but I never got it, or any other correspondence. She offered no other real assistance. I called MetaBank and got no help. I feel like everyone I talk to just wants to push me off onto someone else (who isn't able to help). Well, thanks for listening.