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People are throwing away their stimulus debit cards by accident—here's how to replace yours for free

Twenty20

To get coronavirus stimulus payments to some individuals faster, the IRS began mailing prepaid debit cards to approximately 4 million people in May.

There was one problem with the agency's strategy, though: Recipients thought the cards — which came in unmarked envelopes from MetaBank, N.A., a bank many have never heard of — were scams, and some reportedly threw them away or destroyed them.

It had been well publicized that the economic impact payments, as the IRS refers to them, would come as either direct deposit or a paper check. That the IRS decided just a few weeks ago to issue some via debit card, less so. Add the countless warnings from IRS officials and media outlets about potential coronavirus scams, and some cards were thrown away without a second thought. Unfortunately for those recipients, the debit cards are legitimate stimulus payments worth potentially thousands of dollars, depending on the household.

What the EIP cards look like.
EIPcard.com

Replacing the lost cards required calling MetaBank Customer Service, the bank mailing the cards and paying a fee to get a new card shipped. Now, the IRS says that fee will be waived for the first re-issuance of the card, and if you already paid it, you'll get that money back.

If you may have thrown your card away, or think it was lost or stolen, you can call 800-240-8100. You do not need to know your card number, but you will need to provide your Social Security Number. You can find more information at EIPcard.com.

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.

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