Stimulus Checks: What Do You Do If You've Thrown Away Your Payment

Almost 4 million Americans will receive their Economic Impact Payments as pre-paid debit cards, which caused even more confusion when the Internal Revenue Service suddenly switched to this method late last month. People took to social media to complain about throwing their coronavirus stimulus checks away because they assumed the cards were scams in anonymous-looking white envelopes. If you are afraid you threw yours away, there is a way to replace them.

The Visa cards have been mailed in plain white envelopes with "Money Network Cardholder Services" listed as the sender and no visible federal markings on the envelope. The cards are issued by MetaBank, the U.S. Treasury's financial agent, and include the entire stimulus payment for the taxpayer. Since the IRS warned Americans about stimulus check scams, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau even issued a statement assuring Americans the cards are not scams. "The government is sending some people Economic Impact Payment Cards if they qualified for a stimulus payment and the IRS couldn't direct deposit the payment," the bureau said.

If you have already thrown out the card, it is not hard to replace it for free. According to the IRS, taxpayers can call MetaBank Customer Service by phone at 800-240-8100 and do not need to know the card number to get the replacement. The standard $7.50 fee will be waived for the first issuance of a new EIP card. Any previous re-issuance fees paid will be reimbursed.

The stimulus payments were part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act signed into law in late March and Americans began receiving them in mid-April. Most Americans received them as direct deposit payments if the IRS had banking information based on the most recent tax filings. Others received the payment as physical checks, which were mailed in May. On Wednesday, the IRS said almost $27 billion has been sent to over 159 million Americans.


Individual American taxpayers with an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less received up to $1,200, and that number was doubled for joint filers. The CARES Act also included $500 added to a payment per dependent under 17. If you do not need to file taxes, the IRS still has its "Non-Filers" tool, which allows Americans to apply for the stimulus payment through Oct. 15. Taxpayers can also use the "Get My Payment" tool to track payments.

There is still no signed legislation that includes a second stimulus payment, although there are several proposals floating around Congress. Senate Republicans have expressed concern over the costs of sending another payment, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said another coronavirus stimulus package would be smaller than the CARES Act. House Democrats passed a $3 trillion stimulus bill in May, but Republicans have refused to take that up in the Senate.