You know that sinking feeling that you tossed something really important into the garbage?
Apparently that dreaded goof came true for some names on the U.S. Treasury Department’s mailing list. They threw away a plain, white envelope that looked like junk mail but actually contained a prepaid debit card for their federal Economic Impact Payment – part of coronavirus relief. The card is worth at least $1,200 to each person.
In mid-May, Treasury moved to speed up delivery of some payments by issuing prepaid debit cards. Until then, the payments had been issued as electronic bank deposits and paper checks. Eventually, Treasury will issue debit cards to about 4 million recipients. The Internal Revenue Service said.
The confusion came because a management firm hired by Treasury mailed the cards in white envelopes without any government identification. Instead, the envelopes came from “Money Network Cardholder Services,” the IRS confirmed. The debit card inside, named the “Economic Impact Payment Card,” is a Visa card issued by Treasury’s financial agent called MetaBank, NA.
The payment was explained inside the envelopes, but some people didn’t get that far. They figured the letters were just throwaways, media outlets such as the Washington Post reported.
The IRS, which is in charge of distributing the stimulus payments, announced late in the month that people who lost or destroyed their debit card can request a replacement through MetaBank without paying a fee. Call 1-800-240-8100 for more information.
When their cards do arrive, people can use them like other debit cards to purchase items, to get cash from in-network ATM machines or to transfer the money to their personal banking accounts. There are no fees charged for use, the IRS said.
For advice about stimulus payments, feel free to contact Eric Buechler, who is an enrolled agent recognized by the IRS and owner of tax preparation firm EricJohn Ltd.