Second Stimulus Check Payments by Debit Card Are Coming (It's Not Junk Mail!)

The IRS is sending some second stimulus check payments on prepaid debit cards. We've got answers to important questions about these "EIP Cards."

picture of happy woman getting mail from mailbox
(Image credit: Getty Images)

You might be one of the approximately 8 million Americans who finds a debit card in their mailbox soon. If so, don't automatically think it's some sort of scam or junk mail. It might be the second stimulus check payment you've been waiting for – just in the form of a prepaid debit card. The cards – called Economic Impact Payment Cards, or EIP Cards, by the IRS – will go to certain people who don't have bank information on file with the tax agency. Instead of mailing a paper check (which takes longer to process), the cards will be sent to the most recent mailing address on file with the IRS for those selected to receive them. EIP Cards are going to eligible recipients across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, but Americans in the western part of the country are generally more likely to get one.

If you do receive an EIP Card, you'll probably have a lot of questions about how it works. How do I use it? Where can I use it? Are there any fees? Can the IRS track my purchases? The cards come with some nice features, but there are also some special rules for their use. So you can hit the ground running if an EIP Card shows up in your mailbox, here are answers to a few important questions you're likely to have about your second stimulus payment debit card. And make sure you put the money to good use! (To find out how much money you will get, use our Second Stimulus Check Calculator (opens in new tab).)

Rocky Mengle
Senior Tax Editor, Kiplinger.com

Rocky was a Senior Tax Editor for Kiplinger from October 2018 to January 2023. He has more than 20 years of experience covering federal and state tax developments. Before coming to Kiplinger, he worked for Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting and Kleinrock Publishing, where he provided breaking news and guidance for CPAs, tax attorneys, and other tax professionals. He has also been quoted as an expert by USA Today, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, Reuters, Accounting Today, and other media outlets. Rocky has a law degree from the University of Connecticut and a B.A. in History from Salisbury University.