EIP card: What is it and will you get one instead of coronavirus stimulus check?

IRS started sending out stimulus payments promised by the CARES Act in April. Some Americans got the payment through direct deposit, some via checks while some got an EIP debit card. Payments or the coronavirus stimulus checks that were sent in the form of an EIP card attracted a lot of controversies. Let’s understand what an EIP card is and if you would get one instead of a check in the second round.

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Q2 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Coronavirus stimulus checks: What is an EIP card?

An EIP card is a debit card that the IRS used to send some stimulus payments under the CARES Act. According to the IRS, it sent about 4 million cards to eligible Americans.

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These cards primarily went to those who were eligible for the coronavirus stimulus check and filed their taxes, but the IRS didn’t have their banking information. Also, taxpayers whose returns were processed in a few selected IRS service centers (Andover, Massachusetts, or Austin, Texas) got the EIP card as well.

Those who got the card needed to activate it first by visiting the EIP card website. The cardholder could use this card like any other normal card to make purchases. Further, they could also withdraw money from in-network ATMs, as well as transfer funds to their bank account without incurring any charges.

These cards, however, attracted controversy after several users reported that they discarded them mistaking it for junk mail.

Will you get an EIP card again?

There have seen several reports that the IRS may send the second coronavirus stimulus checks in the form of the EIP debit card as well. However, not all will get the EIP card, rather those who got the card in the first round would get it again. This is because it would be convenient for the IRS as it already has the information. The taxpayers also will get the money more quickly.

In the second round, the IRS probably won’t issue new cards to the taxpayers who got the EIP card in the first round. Rather, it would just top-up the existing EIP card with the amount of coronavirus stimulus check. This will save time for the IRS, as well as ensure that cardholders get the money quickly.

Those who don’t want an EIP card in the second round can try registering for direct deposit using the IRS’ Get My Payment portal. This way, the IRS would have your banking information to send you a direct deposit, in case Congress approves another stimulus package.

You will know beforehand if the coronavirus stimulus payment is being sent to you in the form of an EIP debit card or direct deposit or check. All the information will be updated on the Get My Payment portal. Also, within 15 days of making the payment, the IRS will send a letter informing about the money, mode and what to do if you didn’t get the payment.