If you are like most Americans, you probably have an aversion to “junk mail.” The second you see something that looks even remotely promotional, your first reaction is likely to toss it in the trash. Some people even go so far as to destroy such items by shredding or cutting them up before putting them in the trash.
For the time being or at least until the country has wrestled the Covid-19 pandemic to the ground, you might want to take greater caution when going through your mail. Why? The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is sending out a small group of stimulus check payments in the form of a debit card.Read More »
Who Will Be Getting Debit Cards?
According to the IRS, approximately 4,000,000 qualifying U.S. citizens will be receiving their stimulus check payments via a debit card. Specifically, such payments are going out to taxpayers who do not have banking information on file with the IRS and had their 2018 or 2019 tax returns processed by either the Andover, Massachusetts, or Austin, Texas IRS Service Center.
About the Cards
If your standard mode of operation is to take unsolicited prepaid debits cards, cut them up, and toss them, you surely would benefit from knowing more about what could be showing up in your mail.
Qualifying individuals, using the guidelines from above, can expect to see a VISA Debit logo on a card coming in the mail from MetaBank. The bank is issuing these cards on behalf of the U.S. Treasury under the authority of President Trump. The cards will come with the preloaded amount of the applicable cardholder’s stimulus payment.
Single taxpayers with reported income of $75,000 or less should be receiving a stimulus payment of $1,200. Single taxpayers with reported income of between $75,001 and $99,000 will get a prorated stimulus payment.
For families, married taxpayers with a reported income of $150,000 or less will be receiving a stimulus payment of $1,200 per individual taxpayer or $2,400 per couple. Married taxpayers with a reported income of between 150,001 and $198,000 will get prorated stimulus payments.
The IRS will be calculating the prorated payments by reducing said payments by $5 for each $100 of income above the $75,000/$150,000 thresholds.
Any taxpayers who can claim a dependent who is under the age of 17 will qualify to receive an additional $500 per dependent.
These bank cards are like any other prepaid card on the market. Cardholders will need to call MetaBank’s toll-free number and go through a card activation process before they can use their cards. As part of the activation process, they will need to set up a four-digit PIN. Activation instructions will come with the card by mail.
In a statement from the IRS, debit cards will start going out to selected taxpayers on May 18, 2020. The IRS will only send out these stimulus cards based on the criteria listed above. Taxpayers CANNOT contact the IRS and request their stimulus payments come in this form.
If you receive one of these cards in the mail, it is not a SCAM. The cards are valid, safe, and secure with the preloaded stimulus funds already available on the card. Should you receive a similar card in the mail with no funds available, you might want to contact the IRS at 800-240-8100 to check for card validity. You can use this same toll-free number to report any card that is stolen, lost, or was accidentally thrown in the trash. Remember, the IRS is sending out stimulus payment confirmation letters two weeks after payments have gone out.
Will Taxpayers Be Charged Fees?
The IRS through MetaBank is issuing these cards to taxpayers free of charge. Also, MetaBank will not be charging taxpayers a monthly maintenance fee.
These are standard debits cards, which follow standard fee guidelines as set for by MetaBank. To avoid fees, taxpayers can take the following steps:
- Make sure all ATM withdrawals are made through in-network ATMs (out of network withdraws could result in a banking service charge)
- Make online and retail store purchases where VISA is an accepted form of payment
- Do not check card balances through ATMs. Cardholders can get free balance information online or through the toll-free number they will find on the back of the card
- Transfer monies free of charge to checking accounts and make withdrawals from there
Again, this is not a SCAM. This payment method will likely be the same one the IRS will use again for applicable taxpayers if Congress decides to pass a second stimulus. At this point, both Congress and President Trump have indicated there will be a second round of stimulus payments as soon as the House and the Senate have completed negotiations on the entire stimulus package
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