In April 2020, the IRS began rolling out Economic Impact Payments (EIP) as a result of the CARES Act that provides economic relief to Americans in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Starting May 18, 2020, the government will begin issuing eligible recipients relief payments on a prepaid debit card (“EIP Card”) as an alternative to receiving payment by check or direct deposit. Issuance of an EIP Card was made possible by the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection’s (“CFPB”) interpretative rule, which permits the disbursement of funds by a government agency for COVID-19 relief through an electronic fund transfer. Specifically, this interpretative rule allows government agencies to disburse funds via electronic fund transfers in circumstances where an agency may be unable to make payments by direct deposit because they do not have access to a consumer’s account information or a consumer receiving payment does not have an existing account that can accept direct deposits. The solution provides a safe, fast, and inexpensive alternative to sending paper checks.
The EIP Card is a Treasury-sponsored, VISA-branded, prepaid debit card that provides a safe, convenient, and secure way for EIP recipients to access their Economic Impact Payments without having to go to a financial institution to cash a check. Eligible recipients can use the EIP Card to get cash, request a check, and for making purchases anywhere that accepts Visa debit cards.
More information on the EIP Cards and EIP relief can be found here.