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Have You Activated Your Stimulus Debit Card? Uncle Sam Wants to Know

Letters being sent to those who may have tossed their economic impact payments with the junk mail

sample letter about stimulus debit cards superimposed over photo of treasury building

Bloomberg / Getty Images; [letter via National Consumer Law Center, Inc.]

En español | If you are one of the 4 million Americans who received your stimulus payment mailed to you on a preloaded debit card, you may soon get a letter asking a simple question: Why haven't you activated it yet?

The debit cards went to certain taxpayers eligible for a stimulus payment who filed federal tax returns for 2019 or 2018 but for whom the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) didn't have bank account information to make a direct deposit. Instead, the stimulus payment, which the IRS calls an economic impact payment (EIP), is loaded onto the debit card. The Visa debit cards were issued by MetaBank, N.A., and came in a plain envelope from Money Network Cardholder Services.

The debit cards were originally mailed in May and June. Because the cards were sent in nondescript envelopes, some people may have tossed them out along with their junk mail. Taxpayers who were mailed a debit card for their stimulus payment but haven't activated it yet will receive a letter this month reminding them that they can activate it to access their money. If the debit card is lost, the letter will provide instructions for obtaining a free replacement card.

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Look for the Treasury seal

u.s. federal agency seal of the department of the treasury

Unlike the original mailing, the reminder letter will be hard to mistake: The U.S. Treasury Department logo will be prominently displayed on the envelope and letter. The left front of the envelope will say: “Not a bill or an advertisement. Important information about your Economic Impact Payment.”

The letter includes instructions for people who haven't activated their card yet and carries a picture of what the debit card looks like. It will also include a toll-free phone number to call if you haven't received a card or accidentally threw it away: 800-240-8100. If you receive a letter with a different phone number, it's probably a scam, says the National Consumer Law Center.

If you simply haven't activated your card, go to the Money Network site and create a login and a four-digit personal identification number. If you lost your card, or accidentally tossed it out with the junk mail, you can get one free replacement card from MetaBank customer service: 800-240-8100 (option 2 from the main menu). Subsequent replacements cost $7.50. You don't need to know your card number to request a replacement.

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