Coronavirus stimulus checks: 800,000 users may have trashed their stimulus card

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The IRS recently gave an update on the stimulus payments issued to the Americans under the CARES Act. In its update on the EIP payments, the agency made one remarkable revelation about the coronavirus stimulus checks sent in the form of debit cards.

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Coronavirus stimulus checks: update on EIP card

According to the IRS, it sent about 800,000 notices to taxpayers who haven’t yet activated their debit cards. This could mean that 800,000 taxpayers accidentally threw out their debit card, thinking it to be junk mail.

When the IRS started issuing the debit cards, there were many instances of people throwing away their EIP card after mistaking it as junk mail.

In May, the agency said that about 4 million Americans would receive their coronavirus stimulus payments in the form of a debit card rather than paper checks. This means about 20% of the cards that the IRS sent remain inactivated and unused.

The IRS has already issued instructions on what to do if you lost or destroyed your card. It is directing such users to the FAQs at for any queries they may have about the payment. The FAQs advise them to call Customer Service at 1-800-240-8100 and select the "Lost/Stolen" option.

Once a user reports their discarded or stolen card, the card issued to them is deactivated to prevent anyone else from using it. The user will then be reissued a new card free of charge. However, for every subsequent reissue of the card, a fee of $7.50 will be applied.

“Please refer to the material in your Welcome Packet or see your Cardholder Agreement online at for more information,” the FAQs say.

What about other payment issues?

The IRS also informed Americans that as of mid-August, it has sent more than 160 million EIP payments or coronavirus stimulus checks. The agency also admitted that there were issues with some of the payments it sent.

The IRS also talked about EIP payment issues for those who did not file a 2018 or 2019 tax return and do not get any federal social benefit, such as Social Security, Railroad Retirement, or Department of Veteran Affairs benefits. Such users have until Oct. 15 to give their information to the IRS using the non-filer tool and receive their stimulus payment.

The IRS also talked about people who qualify but did not get a stimulus check. According to the agency, such people need to claim the payment on their 2020 tax return as a tax credit.

The agency also said all its campuses reopened on July 13. However, the coronavirus outbreak in some regions has led to temporary closures of the campuses. The agency also stated that it hasn’t been able to fully staff its campuses due to social distancing measures.

Coronavirus stimulus: IRS sending reminders to activate EIP debit card

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The IRS started sending out stimulus payments in the form of a prepaid debit card in May. However, several incidences have been reported where people mistook the envelope in which the card arrived, as junk mail or a scam, and threw it away or destroyed it. To address such issues, the IRS has come up with clarifications. Now it is even sending reminders to the people who have yet to activate their coronavirus stimulus EIP debit card.

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Coronavirus stimulus EIP debit card reminder

The stimulus prepaid debit, or economic impact payment (EIP) card arrived in plain white envelopes. There is no mention of either the IRS or Treasury Department on the envelope. Thus, many assumed the envelope to be junk mail or a scam and paid no attention to it. Some even trashed or destroyed the card they received.

Now, to educate the cardholders, the agency is sending out reminders to the cardholders who have yet to activate their coronavirus stimulus EIP debit card. The reminder details the process to activate it.

As per the reminder letter, the cardholders need to call 1-800-240-8100 to activate the coronavirus stimulus debit card. There is no need for a bank account to activate the card. Once you call the given number, you will be asked your name, address, and Social Security number. After you provide the information, you need to create a four-digit PIN number.

Those with a debit card missing, damaged, or have thrown away or destroyed it, need to call the same number (as above) to report it as lost or stolen. Such users will be able to apply for a replacement card, the reminder says.

“Did you throw away the card by mistake, or don’t recall getting one? No worries. Your letter from Treasury will tell you how to request a replacement card, which will include calling a 24-hour customer service line at 1.800.240.8100. It’s free to replace your card,” the reminder letter says.

The first replacement card is free, but you would have to pay $7 for a second replacement card.

How to identify the envelope carrying EIP card?

The letter also instructs users on what to look for in the mail, if they have yet to receive the card. On the envelope, the words "Economic Impact Payment" will be printed on it. Inside the envelope, there will be a letter and a card attached to it.

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The debit card will carry the recipient's name on the front. On the back, there will be a Money Network trademark, as well as, the MetaBank logo.

The letter also informs how the cardholders can use the EIP card. As per the IRS, the cardholder can use it to withdraw cash and at any store that accepts VISA debit cards. The cardholders can also transfer the money from their EIP debit card to their bank account.