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Stimulus checks may arrive as prepaid debit cards via mail

  • U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY
                                Sample of the envelope containing economic impact payments by prepaid debit card.

    U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY

    Sample of the envelope containing economic impact payments by prepaid debit card.

  • U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY
                                Sample of the prepaid debit card used for economic impact payments.

    U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY

    Sample of the prepaid debit card used for economic impact payments.

State officials are reminding Hawaii residents that their federal economic impact payments may arrive in the mail in the form of a prepaid debit card instead of by paper check or direct deposit – and that it is legitimate.

Earlier this month, the U.S. government began issuing approximately 8 million economic impact payments by prepaid debit card via U.S. mail, according to the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Office of Consumer Protection.

The forms of payment in the second round may differ from the first round, according to the Internal Revenue Service, meaning those who never received the debit card last year may receive one this time and should not accidentally discard it, OCP said.

The card will have the words “VISA” and “DEBIT” on the front and the issuing bank, MetaBank, N.A., on the back. The envelope will display the U.S. Department of the Treasury seal.

Activating the card requires providing private information, including the recipient’s Social Security number.

“While consumers should always be vigilant before providing personal information to anyone offering or sending unexpected money in the mail or email, consumers can rest assured that these debit cards are not a scam,” said Stephen Levins, executive director of OCP, in a news release. “In order to fully protect themselves, recipients should only call the number listed in the IRS instructions and refrain from divulging any information to anyone else.”

Recipients of the cards can make purchases, get cash from in-network ATMs, and transfer funds to their personal bank account without incurring any fees, the office said, when instructions are followed. They can also check the card balance by phone, mobile app, or online.

More information about the card is available at cca.hawaii.gov/ocp/eipcards/.

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