It's not a scam: Many will receive their $1,200 coronavirus stimulus payment as a debit card

Posted at 7:56 AM, May 28, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Treasury Department has mailed nearly 4 million economic impact payments to Americans via a prepaid debit card. But while Treasury Sec. Steve Mnuchin touted the cards as "secure, easy to use," it's not what many Americans were expecting.

Laura Irrera-Hahn hadn't heard that the Treasury Department was sending her stimulus payment as a debit card. When the prepaid card arrived in the mail, she thought it was a scam.

"When we did get it, it seemed a little odd," Irrera-Hahn said. "My name was correct, but my husband's name was not."

She and her husband had never heard of Meta Bank. The financial institution was selected as the Treasury's financial agent for the U.S. Debit Card program in 2016.

When they tried to call Meta Bank, they couldn't get through to speak with a person, and the voicemail was full.

"It's a recording, and they want the last six digits of your social security number," Irrera-Hahn said. "We hung up."

The Treasury Department sent the debit cards to anyone eligible without banking information on file with the IRS instead of paper checks.The debit cards arrive in a plain envelope from "Money Network Cardholder Services." The Visa debit card will be issued from Meta Bank and comes with a welcome sheet with information to help verify the card is real.

The debit cards can be used to make purchases, get cash from in-network ATM's and transfer funds to bank accounts without a fee.

The Treasury Department is still sending stimulus checks through direct deposit to those with banking information on file with the IRS,

Find more information on the stimulus debit cards here.

This story was originally published by Jessica Porter on KMGH in Denver.