WASHINGTON – Starting this week, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service are sending approximately 8 million second Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) by prepaid debit card.

These EIP Cards follow the millions of payments already made by direct deposit and the ongoing mailing of paper checks that are delivering the second round of Economic Impact Payments as rapidly as possible.

For those who don’t receive a direct deposit, they should watch their mail for either a paper check or a prepaid debit card. To speed delivery of the payments to reach as many people as soon as possible the Treasury’s Bureau of Fiscal Service is sending payments out by prepaid debit card.

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IRS and Treasury urge eligible people who don’t receive a direct deposit to watch their mail carefully during this period. The prepaid debit card, called the Economic Impact Payment card, is sponsored by the Bureau of the Fiscal Service and is issued by Treasury’s financial agent, MetaBank®, N.A. The IRS does not determine who receives a prepaid debit card.

Taxpayers should note that the form of payment for the second mailed EIP may be different than the first mailed EIP. Some people who received a paper check last time might receive a prepaid debit card this time, and some people who received a prepaid debit card last time may receive a paper check.

More information about these cards is available at EIPcard.com.

EIP Cards are safe, convenient and secure. EIP Card recipients can make purchases online or in stores anywhere Visa® Debit Cards are accepted. They can get cash from domestic in-network ATMs, transfer funds to a personal bank account and obtain a replacement EIP Card if needed without incurring any fees. They can also check their card balance online, through a mobile app or by phone without incurring fees. The EIP Card provides consumer protections including certain protections against fraud, loss and other errors.

EIP Cards are being sent in a white envelope that prominently displays the U.S. Department of the Treasury seal. The EIP Card has the Visa name on the front of the Card and the issuing bank name, MetaBank®, N.A. on the back of the card. Each mailing will include instructions on how to securely activate and use the EIP Card.

EIP Cards are being issued to eligible recipients across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Residents of the western part of the United States are generally more likely to receive an EIP Card.

The swift issuance of this second round of payments follows the successful delivery of more than $270 billion in CARES Act Economic Impact Payments earlier this year. To check the status of a payment, visit IRS.gov/GetMyPayment. The IRS has updated the Get My Payment tool with information related to the second round of Economic Impact Payments. There is currently heavy demand on the tool given the large number of payments going out and people using the tool.

While the IRS has been able to deliver the second round of Economic Impact Payments in record time, we understand there are many questions and we appreciate everyone's patience during this period.

Here are answers to some common questions coming up related to Get My Payment and the second round of Economic Impact Payments.

I'm having trouble accessing the Get My Payment tool.

Some people visiting the site may get a "please wait" or error message due to the high volumes coming in. The "please wait" message is a normal part of the site's operation. We encourage people to check back later. Also, there is a limit to the number of times people can access Get My Payment each day. When people reach the maximum number of accesses, Get My Payment will inform them they will need to check back the following day.

I didn't receive a direct deposit yet. Will I get a second Economic Impact Payment?

Maybe. IRS updated Get My Payment (GMP) for individuals who are receiving the second Economic Impact Payment on January 5, 2021. If you checked GMP on or after January 5 then:

  • If GMP reflects a direct deposit date and partial account information, then your payment is deposited there.
  • If GMP reflects a date your payment was mailed, it may take up to 3 – 4 weeks for you to receive the payment. Watch your mail carefully for a check or debit card. (See the FAQ for EIP Card)
  • If GMP shows "Payment Status #2 – Not Available," then you will not receive a second Economic Impact Payment and instead you need to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 Tax Return.

Because of the speed at which the law required the IRS to issue the second round of Economic Impact Payments, some payments may have been sent to an account that may be closed or, is or no longer active, or unfamiliar. By law, the financial institution must return the payment to the IRS; they cannot hold and issue the payment to an individual when the account is no longer active. If Get My Payment shows "Payment Status #2 – Not Available" you will not receive a second EIP.

The IRS advises people that if they don't receive their Economic Impact Payment, they should file their 2020 tax return electronically and claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on their tax return to get their payment and any refund as quickly as possible.

What if I have a different bank account than I had on my 2019 tax return? What should I do?

If the second Economic Impact Payment was sent to an account that is closed or is no longer active the financial institution must , by law, return the payment to the IRS, they cannot hold and issue the payment to an individual when the account is no longer active. The IRS advises people that if they don't receive the full Economic Impact Payment they should file their 2020 tax return electronically and claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on their tax return to get their payment and any refund as quickly as possible.

Why can't the IRS reissue the second Economic Impact Payment to me?

The IRS is working hard to deliver the second Economic Impact Payment quickly, as required by law, while still preparing for the upcoming 2021 tax filing season. Due to the compressed timeline, the IRS is unable to reissue and mail checks and instead encourages people to file their 2020 tax return electronically to claim and receive the Recovery Rebate Credit quickly as possible.

Can I call the IRS, software company or bank to resolve issues with my Economic Impact Payment?

People should visit IRS.gov for the most current information on the second round of Economic Impact Payments rather than calling the agency or their financial institutions or tax software providers. IRS phone assistors do not have additional information beyond what's available on IRS.gov.

Where can I get more information?

For more information about Economic Impact Payments and the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit, visit IRS.gov/eip.  For other COVID-19-related tax relief, visit IRS.gov/coronavirus.