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Stimulus funds sent by debit card

Recipients can still get a new card if they have thrown theirs away

-Messenger photo illustration by Kelby Wingert
Those receiving an unfamiliar debit card in the mail are urged not to discard of it, as it may contain their stimulus payment, provided by the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

A new form of federal stimulus payments from the CARES Act, unannounced by the government, has confused some recipients.

If you’re one of the many adults who qualified for a $1,200 Economic Impact Payment through the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act but have not yet received it through a paper check or via direct deposit into your bank account, keep an eye out for an envelope in the mail that may look like junk mail.

The payments started to confuse Iowans not expecting them a few weeks ago, some of whom thought it was a scam, according to the Iowa Attorney General’s office.

The debit cards, issued by Money Network, have a design resembling a close-up of an American flag, blue with white stars. The United States Treasury quietly announced it would begin sending the cards to nearly 4 million people on May 18, according to the office of U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.

The debit cards are being sent to those who have no direct deposit information on file with the Internal Revenue Service (which may have previously been used for tax refunds.) The Treasury started processing payments via both debit card and check to get all payments out as quickly as possible, according to Grassley’s office.

The pre-paid cards can be used to make purchases anywhere Visa is accepted, to make withdrawals at ATMs or to transfer funds to a personal bank account online or in-person at your bank. Many transactions can be done without incurring extra fees.

If you’ve already inadvertently thrown away the card, don’t fret. To order a replacement, contact the card’s customer service line at 1-800-240-8100 and select option 2 to report a lost or stolen card. Callers will be asked to enter the last six digits of their Social Security number for identity verification, and may be asked to answer more questions by a live representative to confirm their identity.

The Treasury agreed to waive the $7.50 replacement fee for the cards after a request by U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne, Democrat of Iowa’s Third Congressional District, and eight other Congressional representatives, her office announced Friday.

The public can find additional information online at eipcard.com

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