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Be on the lookout for your federal stimulus prepaid card

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(BPT) - Following the enactment of the American Rescue Plan Act on March 11, the IRS moved quickly to deliver the third round of Economic Impact Payments (EIP) with the first batch of direct deposits initiated on March 12.

Some eligible individuals will receive their EIP in the form of a check and others by prepaid debit card. An EIP Card is a safe, convenient and secure prepaid debit card that recipients can use to make purchases directly in-store and online, transfer funds to a personal bank account, get cash at surcharge-free ATMs displaying the Allpoint® or MoneyPass® brand, and pay bills anywhere Visa® Debit Cards are accepted. The EIP Card also provides consumer protections against fraud, loss and other errors for debit card purchases.

As with the prior two rounds of stimulus payments, a brand new EIP Card with pre-loaded funds will be sent to eligible individuals. EIP Cards are not reloadable and funds will not be added to previously issued EIP Cards, which should be kept until the card balance equals zero. Cards can be reissued if lost or stolen.

Past stimulus recipients should not assume payment will be delivered the same way as last time. Some individuals who received a paper check last time may receive a prepaid debit card this time, while some who received a prepaid debit card last time may receive a paper check this time.

EIP Cards were sent out beginning the week of March 22 and are sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Bureau of Fiscal Service, managed by Money Network Financial, LLC, and issued by MetaBank®, N.A.

What Economic Impact Payment Cards look like and how they work

The EIP Card will come in a white envelope prominently displaying the seal of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The card has the Visa name on the front and the issuing bank, MetaBank, N.A. on the back.

Information included with the EIP Card will explain that it is an Economic Impact Payment. Each mailing will include instructions on how to securely activate and use the Card.

For a list of services available to cardholders at no cost, review the Fee Schedule and Cardholder Agreement at EIPCard.com.

How to get started

To activate your EIP Card call 1-800-240-8100.

During activation, a cardholder will be asked to input the EIP Card number, the last 6 digits of the primary cardholder’s Social Security Number, and the 3-digit security code on the back of the EIP Card. Cardholders may be asked to further validate their identity by providing their name and address and answering identity verification questions.

Cardholders will also be asked to create a 4-digit PIN required for ATM transactions, automated telephone assistance, and EIP Card balance verifications. For account security, do not use personal information as the PIN. For EIP Cards with more than one name listed, only the primary cardholder (listed first on the EIP Card) may activate the Card.

The PIN number will be used to facilitate automated telephone assistance and secure transactions. For example, when withdrawing cash from an ATM, enter the 4-digit PIN and select “Withdraw” from “Checking”. ATM withdrawals can be made surcharge-free at any ATM that carries the AllPoint® or MoneyPass® brand.

Avoid scams and fraud

The IRS, MetaBank®, N.A., Money Network and Visa will not contact cardholders directly requesting personal account information. This is a tactic often used by fraudsters.

For list of common signs of attempts at stealing your information, visit http://vi.sa/AvoidPhishingScams.

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