Stimulus ‘Checks’ May Come In The Form Of Prepaid Debit Cards
If you’re the type of person who shreds unsolicited credit cards that you receive in the mail, you might want to be a bit careful about that in the next few days… especially if you are expecting a stimulus check, and haven’t yet received it.
Last month, the Treasury Department announced that they were sending nearly four million Economic Impact Payments by prepaid debit card, instead of by paper check. Per their announcement, “Card recipients can make purchases, get cash from in-network ATMs, and transfer funds to their personal bank account without incurring any fees. They can also check their card balance online, by mobile app, or by phone without incurring fees. The EIP Card can be used online, at ATMs, or at any retail location where Visa is accepted. This free, prepaid card also provides consumer protections available to traditional bank account owners, including protections against fraud, loss, and other errors.”
But one error that some people have made is: they didn’t realize that the cards aren’t junk mail. The Visa cards are issued by MetaBank and are delivered in plain envelopes from Money Network Cardholder Services, both companies that are unfamiliar to many. According to Marketwatch, reports of people mistaking these for preapproved credit-card junk mail, or even a scam, have been popping up across the country. And like all credit cards, there’s a replacement fee: it’ll cost you $7.50 to replace the card, or $17 for replacement and priority shipment. (Other fees include $2 per ATM withdrawal after your first withdrawal, which is free, but you can only withdraw $1,000 per day; international withdrawals will run you $3 a pop. Balance inquiries are 25 cents).