Don't Throw Away Your Stimulus Payment!

A client recently received a plain looking envelope in the mail that had “Money Network Cardholder Services” as the sender. Understandably, she thought that this was yet another credit card offer and nearly threw it away unopened. 

It’s a good thing she didn’t, because she would have been tossing away her payment from the U.S. government that was authorized in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).

Inside that envelope was her official Economic Impact Payment (EIP) card. If you receive a similar card, it will be loaded with the value of your stimulus payment, which, depending on your income, could range from $200 to $1,200 ($400 to $2,400 for married couples).

Four million Americans will receive their payments via EIP cards rather than by check or online transfers to their bank accounts. But the U.S. government hasn’t done a particularly good job of informing people about this card. This article is designed to clear up some of the most common questions about this program.

I haven’t received a payment yet. How do I find out when (and if) I’ll get one?

You can use the IRS’s Get My Payment portal to check the status of your payment. It will tell you if you’re entitled to a payment, how much you’ll receive, if you’ve already received a payment or whether the payment is still pending.  It will also tell how you will receive your payment—via bank transfer, check or EIP card.

Who will get EIP cards?

Eligible stimulus payment recipients who don’t receive federal tax refunds via online transfers to their bank account and whose tax forms were processed by the Andover, Massachusetts or Austin, Texas IRS regional service centers.

What does the card look like?

The card will look like this.

EIP card
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the front, it will have the VISA logo, a grayish/gold chip mark, a card number, an expiration date and your name at the bottom. On the back it will have a holographic security mark and the official EIP card phone number (1-800-240-8100) and web site URL (EIPCard.com). It will also feature the logo of MetaBank, N.A., the U.S. Treasury’s authorized agent for the EIP card program.

Along with the card you will receive a document explaining how to activate and use your card.

How do I activate it and find my balance?

You can activate your card at EIPCard.com or over the phone at 1-800-240-8100. You’ll need to validate it by providing your name, address and Social Security number. Once validated, you’ll need to create a four-digit Personal Identification Number. Once it’s been validated you can look up your balance and start using it.

How do I use it?

You can use your EIP card like any other debit card to pay for purchases, either at a store, online or over the phone. The charges will be automatically withdrawn from the balance. You can also use it to make cash withdrawals from authorized in-network ATMs. You can locate local ATMs on the EIP card web site.

Are there fees?

In some cases, yes.

  • You’ll be charged $2 for every cash withdrawal from an out-of-network ATM (after the first withdrawal).
  • You’ll pay $3 for each withdrawal from an international ATM.
  • You’ll pay $5 to make a cash withdrawal from a bank teller (after your first withdrawal).
  • You’ll pay $0.25 for every balance inquiry you make through any ATM.
  • You’ll pay $7.50 for a reissued card (this fee is waived for the first reissued card)

Can I transfer some or all of my card balance to my bank account?

Yes. You can use the EIP card web site or the Money Network mobile app to transfer money from your card to a checking or savings account that allows online transfers. When you set up the transfer you’ll need to enter your bank’s routing number and your account number. Generally, the transfer takes no more than one business day.

I threw my original card away. Can I get another one?

If you did, you’re not alone. You can get one free replacement card by calling 1-800-240-8100. For standard delivery there is no shipping charge. However, if you want it sent via Priority Mail it will cost you $17.50.

Will I receive any other communication about this payment?

Yes. A week or so after you receive your card you should also receive a letter, “signed” by President Trump, that confirms that the EIP card is the method by which you will receive your stimulus payment.

This material has been provided for general informational purposes only.  Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, you may also wish to consult your accountant or tax preparer.

 

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This article was authored by Michael Flaherty and Jeffrey Briskin.  Michael is a financial advisor located at Canby Financial Advisors, 161 Worcester Road, Framingham, MA 01701. He offers securities and advisory services as an Investment Adviser Representative of Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser. He can be reached at 508.598.1082 or [email protected]. Jeffrey Briskin is Director of Marketing at Canby Financial Advisors. 

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