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The card is in the mail

by BILL BULEY
Staff Writer | January 13, 2021 1:00 AM

HAYDEN — Enid Heintz wasn’t sure what to make of the “Economic Impact Payment” card that recently came in the mail.

It was joined by information that described it as basically a debit card with stimulus money from the government and she needed to call the number provided to activate it.

Included information also said it was authorized by the U.S. Department of Treasury and was issued by MetaBank.

It sounded real, but still, Heintz had her doubts about this free money offer.

“It worried me because it looked so official,” the Hayden woman said Tuesday.

So she did some checking.

Heintz was correct to be wary of yet another scam and like most people, expected her stimulus money to come in the form of check or direct deposit, like last year.

But after checking around, Heintz was told that the EIP card was the real deal.

“It’s the first I’ve heard of this,” she said.

According to the Internal Revenue Service website, the Treasury Department and the IRS are sending 8 million second Economic Impact Payments 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,” the website says.

IRS and Treasury urge eligible people who don't receive a direct deposit to watch their mail carefully during this period.

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.

According to the IRS, the EIP Cards “are safe, convenient and secure” and can be used free wherever Visa debit cards are accepted.

EIP Cards are being sent in a white envelope that display the U.S. Department of the Treasury seal.

Heintz said it would have been nice if the EIP card program could have been better publicized in advance of the mailing so as not to leave some wondering if it was real.

“I just think people should be very much aware,” she said.

To check the status of a payment, visit IRS.gov/getmypayment. For more information about Economic Impact Payments visit IRS.gov/eip.