The distribution of the second round of stimulus payments has already begun, as Congress works to put money in the hands of Americans. However, the method of delivering these payments may differ from the first payments received.

The Treasury Department has announced that, similar to the first time around, some Americans will receive their payment in the form of an Economic Impact Payment (EIP) card instead of a check or direct deposit. If you received a check or direct deposit with the first payment, it is still possible that you will receive one of these cards as the second payment instead of a check or direct deposit. Likewise, if you received an EIP card for your first payment, it is still possible that you will receive a check or direct deposit for the second payment. If you did receive an EIP card last year, your second stimulus payment will not be added to that card. You will either receive a new card in the mail or a check.

In the event that you do receive an EIP card as your second stimulus payment, there are some key items you should be aware of. The EIP card is essentially a prepaid Visa debit card – which often comes with fees. There are methods of avoiding these fees, the easiest of which is to transfer funds from the card to your bank account at no charge. The daily transfer limit is $2,500 and can be completed using the EIP card website (https://www.eipcard.com/) or the Money Network mobile App. You will need both the routing number and account number for your bank account to complete this transfer.

If you do not wish to transfer the money to your bank account, or do not have a bank account, you can also make purchases with your EIP card anywhere Visa cards are accepted without being charged a fee. Another option is to write a check from the money on your EIP card, but this will require calling customer service and asking for Money Network checks to be delivered to you. While there is no fee for these checks, you will need to call and get a transaction number every time you use a check, which might be inconvenient for the user.

To avoid fees, you should likewise avoid using your EIP card at ATMs that are not within the AllPoint network. You can find a list of the AllPoint network ATMs on the EIP Card website referenced earlier. If you use your card at an ATM outside of this network, you risk paying two separate fees – one for the card issuer (Metabank) and one for the ATM itself. If you are outside the U.S., you will also be charged an additional $3 fee by Metabank, no matter what machine you use. Requesting your balance at an ATM will also result in a small fee (less than a dollar) each time you inquire, and you will be charged this fee whether you use a network or non-network ATM.  To determine the balance on your card without being charged a fee, either go online to the EIP card website or call customer service at (800) 240-8100.

In addition to exercising caution when using your EIP card at ATMs, you should also avoid withdrawing money from a bank teller – this will result in a $5 fee. You will not be charged this fee the first time you do this, but after that, you will incur this fee every time. Because this $5 fee is higher than normal ATM charges, you are better off using an ATM (whether it’s in network or outside of the Metabank network) than using a bank teller.

Before using your EIP card, you will need to activate it and set up a 4-digit PIN by calling customer service at (800) 240-8100 and verifying your identity. Never give your PIN to anyone, even if someone calls claiming to be from a bank or government agency, such as the IRS or Treasury Department.

Please contact an HHM professional if you have any questions regarding your Economic Impact Payment card.