That White Envelope May Be Worth $1,200

— Written By N.C. Cooperative Extension
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— Written By Carolyn Bird

If you haven’t received your Economic Impact Payment (EIP) yet, perhaps you should be on the lookout for a white envelope. Here’s why. EIPs were first distributed to the bank accounts of those who have in the past (2018, 2019 tax years or used Get My Payment to sign-up) used direct deposit to receive tax refunds. Next, paper checks were sent to filers not using direct deposit. But another group of taxpayers will receive their EIP by prepaid debit cards instead of paper checks. And here’s where the white envelope comes in. Debit cards are being sent to nearly 4 million people. And, the debit cards arrive in a plain envelope from “Money Network Cardholder Services.” The Bureau of the Fiscal Service, a part of the Treasury Department that works with the IRS to handle distribution of the payments, made a determination of who should receive the prepaid debit cards.

The good news is the free, prepaid card provides consumer protections available through a traditional bank account including protection against fraud, loss, and other errors. How can you use the EIP card? There are no fees to:

  • Make purchases online and at any retail location where Visa is accepted;
  • Get cash from in-network ATMs;
  • Transfer funds to your personal bank account; or
  • Check your card balance online, by mobile app, or by phone.

If you haven’t received your EIP yet, be careful not to mistake the white envelope for junk mail. A white envelope from Money Network Cardholder Services means that your Economic Impact Payment has arrived. Information on activating, using your EIP prepaid debit card, managing balances and locating ATMs can be found at: EIP Card

WRITTEN BY Dr. Carolyn Bird Professor and Family Resouce Management Specialist Agricultural & Human Sciences NC State Extension, NC State University UPDATED ON MAY 28, 2020