Some get prepaid debit card for coronavirus stimulus check

Some get prepaid debit card for coronavirus stimulus check
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The Treasury Department said about 4 million Americans will receive their coronavirus stimulus payments in the form of prepaid debit cards. That doesn’t necessarily mean you will receive your coronavirus stimulus payment on a prepaid debit card because some people are still receiving checks.

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At this point, it's unclear what the stipulations are for receiving a paper check or a prepaid debit card. There are some guidelines for those who receive cards instead of checks.

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Coronavirus stimulus: some receive prepaid debit cards instead of checks

For some, it's good news that the IRS is sending prepaid debit cards instead of paper checks for coronavirus stimulus payments. Not everyone has a bank account, so it may be difficult for them to cash a check. In this situation, a prepaid debit card is a much better option instead of a coronavirus stimulus check.

MetaBank started issuing the cards this week. Those who receive a card instead of a paper check will also receive instructions how to activate and use it. For more information on the cards, which are officially referred to as Economic Impact Payment Cards, there's a website here.

The website also has details on how to activate and use the prepaid debit card. You can also use it to locate in-network ATMs where you can withdraw cash. If you don't use an in-network ATM, the card charges a $2 fee to withdraw cash.

According to the Treasury Department, the prepaid debit cards can be used to make purchases, withdraw cash at a register or in-network ATM, or transfer money to bank accounts without paying a fee. The agency said the debit cards will be accepted by any retailer that accepts Visa cards.

Other information about the economic impact payments

As of May 18, the IRS had issued approximately 140 million coronavirus stimulus checks to eligible recipients. The agency has about 10 million economic impact payments left and plans to significantly increase the number it sends out in the coming weeks.

If you want to track your coronavirus stimulus check or prepaid debit card, you can still use the IRS' Get My Payment tool here. However, the deadline to provide your banking information so you can receive your payment via direct deposit has passed.

If you're still getting the "status not available" error, try entering your street address in all caps. Many people say that got them past the error so they could see the date when their coronavirus stimulus check or prepaid debit card is going to arrive.

If you don't file taxes, you should use the tool for non-filers here, but another important deadline has also passed. The IRS is using 1099s to determine eligibility for non-filers, but those forms do not include the number and ages of dependents.

Non-filers had to enter information on their dependents by earlier this month. If you didn't do that on time, then you either missed out, or you will be able to claim the credit if you file a tax return for 2020.

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Michelle Jones is editor-in-chief for and has been with the site since 2012. Previously, she was a television news producer for eight years. She produced the morning news programs for the NBC affiliates in Evansville, Indiana and Huntsville, Alabama and spent a short time at the CBS affiliate in Huntsville. She has experience as a writer and public relations expert for a wide variety of businesses. Email her at
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