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  • Writer's pictureKathryn Bruns, CPA

Be careful about throwing away your "junk mail" these days

In a not-too-highly publicized change....certain people are now receiving their economic impact payments (stimulus) in the form of a debit card, rather than as a check or direct deposit. Word on the street is that these debit cards arrive in the mail packaged in an oddly nondescript unimportant-looking way that resembles your typical junk mail. THIS MAY BE YOUR STIMULUS PAYMENT !

Some points about these debit cards:

- It is stated that the cards (as opposed to check or direct deposit) will be sent to people who don't have bank account info on file with the IRS for 2018 or 2019 AND had their tax returns processed by the Andover, Mass or Austin TX IRS service centers. I underlined "it is stated" because someone I know received a debit card recently, and they would not have gotten their tax returns processed at either of these centers. I have said often about Coronavirus provisions, know that stated rules may not work as intended

- Use of the debit card may cause you to get charged fees akin to out-of-network ATM withdrawals and/or ATM balance inquires. There may some others...YIKES

- If you lose the card, it will cost you to get another. Guard that thing with your life !

- Apparently, you can create an account online related to your card, so you can check balances, etc.

- These cards are especially prone to new SCAMS. It is stated (i.e. don't blame me if this changes) that your card (the real card) will come in a plain envelope from "Money Network Cardholder Services". That actually sounds scammy to me, making this whole thing even more difficult to discern. The front of the card will have "Visa" on it, and the issuing bank "MetaBank" will be on the back of the card. A "welcome packet" should also be included.

With all this, I wish they just stuck with issuing checks. This all sounds WAAAAAY too complicated, but that's just par for the course. It is why you need saavy CPAs like me in your life :)

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