If you get a debit card in the mail with a letter claiming it is your coronavirus relief payment, don’t throw it out—it’s actually legit: The U.S. Treasury announced this week that it’s starting to send economic impact payments by prepaid debit card instead of a paper check. The cards are mailed by MetaBank.
You can use your prepaid debit card to make purchases where Visa cards are accepted, but you can also use it to withdraw cash from ATMs or transfer the money to a bank account. All you have to do is activate your card per the enclosed instructions first.
There aren’t many fees you need to know about for this card, except for when it comes to ATM withdrawals. If you withdraw cash from an in-network ATM, there’s no fee. If you use an out-of-network ATM, you’ll pay a $2 fee, but that fee is waived for the first withdrawal. But watch for an ATM operator fee, which may apply even if you don’t complete a transaction.
Check the instructions that come with your card for daily withdrawal limits if you plan on taking your payment out as cash.
This ATM locator will help you find in-network ATMs near you.
If you want to take a closer look at the card and the accompanying instructions, the CFPB posted a video on Twitter showing the card and the letter that will accompany it.
If you receive a prepaid VISA card from Meta Bank in the mail, this is not a scam. Treasury is sending some people their Economic Impact Payment on a prepaid debit card. Learn more: pic.twitter.com/HaM9ATI28g
— consumerfinance.gov (@CFPB) May 18, 2020
While this payment method is real, there are plenty of scammers out there who want a piece of your coronavirus relief money, the Federal Trade Commission warns.
To keep yourself safe from coronavirus-related scams, remember that the IRS won’t contact you by phone, email, text message or social media regarding your economic impact payment, and you won’t be asked for your Social Security number or bank information through any of those channels.