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Don't mistake your stimulus payment for junk mail

Twenty/20

Don't throw away that debit card that just arrived in the mail — it could be your coronavirus stimulus payment.

Instead of a paper check, the Treasury Department is sending economic impact payments in the form of prepaid debit cards to around 4 million people in order to expedite the arrival of the stimulus payments to some individuals. The cards arrive in a plain envelope from "Money Network Cardholder Services," according to the IRS, with the name of the issuing bank, MetaBank, N.A., on the back.

"Prepaid debit cards are secure, easy to use and allow us to deliver Americans their money quickly," Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a statement earlier this month. "Recipients can immediately activate and use the cards safely."

But some recipients, expecting a direct deposit payment or paper check, thought the debit card was a scam and may have thrown it away, the Washington Post reported. That there is no indication on the card that it is from the federal government (though the envelope includes information noting it is being sent on behalf of the Treasury Department) also adds to the confusion, the Post reports. 

What the EIP cards look like.
EIPcard.com

AARP has also reported members being confused by the cards: "Some people suspect the cards are a fraud or an unsolicited credit card offer, meaning some people have shredded them or thrown them away."

If you do throw the card away, you can get a replacement by calling customer service at 1-(800)-240-8100, according to eipcard.com, which provides information on how to use the cards. While the cardholder agreement says it costs $0 to replace the card the first time, there is a $17 charge for priority shipping of the new card.

You can use the cards to make purchases online and at retailers, transfer funds between bank accounts (like your checking or savings) and get cash from the AllPoint network of ATMs, just as you would a standard Visa debit card.

Check out: The best credit cards of 2020 could earn you over $1,000 in 5 years

Don't miss: Waiting for your coronavirus stimulus check? You could get a prepaid debit card instead

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