Finally chucked the stack of junk mail that’s been piling up on your kitchen table? The economic impact payment you’ve been waiting for the government to send might have been in that stack.
The U.S. Treasury started sending coronavirus relief payments by debit card in mid-May. The cards are issued and mailed by MetaBank, and allow recipients to either spend their relief payment by debit, withdraw cash, or transfer the funds to their bank account.
While there were notices showing recipients what the card and letter would look like to reassure the general public of their legitimacy, one important factoid was left out of most of those guides: the envelope.
If you’ve ever gotten a new or replacement card from your bank or credit card issuer, you know it tends to come in a plain envelope with a nondescript return address—no flashy logos to give away the fact that the envelope might have financial goodies inside.
But if you were expecting a check to arrive from the U.S. Treasury, you weren’t keeping your eyes peeled for a plain envelope. And even if you received and opened yours, you might have thrown it away thinking it was a scam.
(And if you did throw out your payment, I don’t blame you, honestly. The IRS and the Treasury spent forever saying “Sign up online so you get direct deposit or we’ll send a check out,” and then they turned around and said, “Time’s up, but surprise, now we’re sending debit cards!” It’s a lot.)
So how do you retrieve that payment you might have tossed? Michelle Singletary of the Washington Post noticed that people were giving up when they called the listed customer service number because it asked them to enter their card number … you know, for a card they do not have.
Here’s her advice for getting around that and requesting a replacement payment:
Discarded debit cards: If you have lost or thrown out the stimulus debit card, you’ll have to call 800-240-8100 for a free replacement, according to directions at eipcard.com. The cards are issued by MetaBank, but the guidance is woefully lacking from there. Many people give up when prompted to put in their card number.
When you call, ignore the instructions to press Option 1 to reach customer service. Instead, choose Option 2 for a lost or stolen card. Then you need to select Option 1 to input the last six digits of your Social Security number as well as your Zip code. From there, you should be transferred to a person in customer service, where you have to answer some security questions before a replacement card is mailed.
If you’re not sure whether your payment was sent by debit card, check your status as the IRS “Get My Payment” portal before reaching out to MetaBank (aka Money Network) via www.eipcard.com.
Meanwhile, if you haven’t received a payment after seeing a payment date listed in the portal or getting letter in the mail, you can ask the IRS to trace your payment. Singletary says to call 800-919-9835 to do so, and be patient—the IRS has limited staff on the phone lines right now due to coronavirus concerns.
But it’s a better option that filing Form 3911 to trace your payment, she says, since the IRS hasn’t been processing snail mail at all.