The $600 stimulus payments from the latest $900 billion coronavirus relief act are hitting bank accounts and mailboxes for millions of Americans.
And for a few, the money won’t come via direct deposit or in paper check form – instead, it will be sent on a debit card.
The IRS is sending some of the payments on debit cards to speed the delivery, according to the agency. It also said that the format of payment may be different from the first round, meaning that even if you didn’t get a card the first time, you might this time.
So far, the IRS hasn’t updated its website with specific details for those receiving the second payment on a debit card, but the agency is likely to follow a process similar to the first round.
If you get the second stimulus payment on a debit card, here are some things to look out for.
You will likely need to activate the card
The first round of payments came via a Visa debit card for some people.
Like any other debit or credit card, that means you’ll have to call to activate it before you can start using it. You’ll also likely establish a pin and will be able to hear your total balance.
How you can use it
Like the first payment, the debit card stimulus money will probably be able to be used anywhere debit cards are accepted, including in-person, online or over the phone. That means that people should be able to use it for shopping or to pay rent, utilities or other bills.
It’s also likely that you’ll be able to withdraw cash from the debit card for free at an in-network ATM or transfer the funds to a bank account without fees as was the case with the first round of cards.
The funds don’t expire, but the card might
Because the money is coming on a debit card, it might have an expiration date – the first round of cards did. Luckily, the funds on the card do not expire, even if the debit card does, according to the IRS.
If your card expires and there’s still money on it, you’ll likely need to call customer service to request a refund check, according to the first cardholder agreement.
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There may be costs associated with the card
There may be some fees and costs associated with using the debit card. For the first round of debit cards, there were charges laid out in the fee schedule.
For example, with the first round of debit cards, the first withdrawal fee from an out-of-network ATM was waived but all others were subject to a penalty. There were also fees associated with making a balance inquiry at an ATM and making a bank teller over-the-counter cash withdrawal more than once.
Fees may also apply if you’re using the card outside the U.S. And, if the card is lost or stolen more than once, you may have to pay for a replacement card and to have it shipped to you.
To avoid any fees, make sure you know what ATMs are in-network, so you can withdraw money without charge. And, if you need to check your balance, you can do so for free through the online portal at eipcard.com or by calling customer service.
To be sure, some of the specifics may change from the first round of stimulus payments, depending on the guidance from the IRS. Still, people who receive the second stimulus check on a debit card should take care to read any agreements with the card issuer so they don’t accidentally incur extra fees for spending the payment.
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