The U.S. Department of the Treasury is now mailing Economic Impact Payments (EIP) in the form of prepaid debit cards. Most Americans already received their EIP either by direct deposit to their bank account or in the form of a mailed check. However, the debit cards are being sent to some consumers for whom the IRS did not have bank account information on file. The Treasury announced that this method allows them to provide the money “efficiently and securely” to eligible recipients.
Consumers have contacted the Better Business Bureau (BBB), thinking these cards may be a scam. One consumer reported their concern on BBB Scam Tracker saying, “The letter states this is our Economic Impact Payment card and has a Department of the Treasury seal on the letter. Included is a prepaid debit card… it is being sent to us on behalf of the US Department of the Treasury in place of a paper check. This has to be a scam! We would appreciate it if you would check into this for us and others.”
Rest assured, the IRS is, indeed, sending out prepaid debit cards. The IRS website states, “Some payments may be sent on a prepaid debit card known as The Economic Impact Payment Card. The Economic Impact Payment Card is sponsored by the Treasury Department’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service, managed by Money Network Financial, LLC and issued by Treasury’s financial agent, MetaBank®, N.A.”
Consumers do, however, need to be vigilant to ensure that the card they receive is legitimate, and to be on the lookout for scams.
Tips on how to recognize a legitimate EIP card:
- It will arrive in a plain envelope with the return address of “Money Network Cardholder Services.”
- The Visa® name will appear on the front of the card; the back of the card has the name of the issuing bank, MetaBank®, N.A.
- The welcome kit explains more about the EIP card. Please go to EIPcard.com for more information and to see a sample image of the card.
Once the card has been verified:
- Activate the card by calling the number provided, setting a 4-digit PIN
- Sign the card.
- Keep the card in a safe place.
- Do not share the information on the card with anyone.
- Use the card anywhere Visa cards are accepted and/or get cash back at a retailer or ATM. Note that most transactions are free, but certain uses could incur fees. For more questions, visit EIPcard.com/FAQ.
BBB warns that scammers may try to text, call or email you, trying to get you to give up your card number or your personal information. Report any phishing or scam attempts to the IRS and file a report with BBB Scam Tracker to warn others not to fall for the scam.
If you have not received your Economic Impact Payment, you can track your funds using the Get My Payment tracking tool (https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment).
For more information, read BBB’s Tips on Economic Impact Payments.
See the latest coronavirus information at BBB.org/Coronavirus.
Report scams to BBB Scam Tracker.