Credit: L.M. Otero | AP

The BDN is making the most crucial coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and its economic impact in Maine free for all readers. Click here for all coronavirus stories. You can join others committed to safeguarding this vital public service by purchasing a subscription or donating directly to the newsroom.

About four million Americans will receive their stimulus corona cash on a prepaid debit card, according to the Treasury Department.

And, yes, these debit cards are real.

[Our COVID-19 tracker contains the most recent information on Maine cases by county]

If you thought these debit cards were fake, you have a lot of company, according to local accountants.

“One client thought the card was a scam, and shredded the prepaid debit card which had their $1,200 payment,” said David Zalles, a CPA based in Blue Bell.

“It took a lot of people by surprise,” said Mary Lew Kehm, a CPA in Whitehall Township.

As the Treasury Department sends out the prepaid debit cards — called Economic Impact Payment (EIP) cards — look for them in your mailbox, probably in a plain envelope.

These cards are issued by Treasury’s partner MetaBank and preloaded with government stimulus payments. Be on the lookout in case you thought it was junk mail.

If you threw yours away, call MetaBank’s 24-hour call center: 1-800-240-8100. You can also call to check your card balance or just ask questions.

Single people earning less than $75,000 generally are to receive an economic stimulus payment of $1,200; married couples earning less than $150,000 receive $2,400; and there’s an additional payment of $500 for eligible children under the age of 17.

Those receiving a debit card this week have filed tax returns but do not have bank account information on file with the IRS.

According to the Treasury, once these four million taxpayers receive the preloaded cards, they will be able to use them to withdraw cash from in-network ATMs, to make direct purchases anywhere that accepts Visa cards, and to transfer funds directly into their own bank accounts without being subject to any fees. The cards are going primarily to Americans without bank accounts.

You will have to activate the card and it should come with instructions on how to do that, as well as directions for use.

The government stimulus payments are meant to offer relief amid the COVID-19 pandemic and have already been sent out to about 140 million recipients, but that hasn’t eliminated frustration for the roughly 10 million taxpayers still waiting on the IRS.

What can you use the debit card for?

You can transfer the funds from your EIP card to an existing bank account online at You will need the routing and account number for your bank account.

To transfer funds:

Call 1-800-240-8100 (TTY: 1-800-241-9100) to activate your card.

Register for online or mobile app access by going to;

and click on “Register.” Follow the steps to create your User ID and Password. Be sure to have your EIP Card handy.

Select “Move Money Out” and follow the steps to set up your transfer. Transfers should post to your bank account in one to two business days.

“Prepaid debit cards are secure, easy to use, and allow us to deliver Americans their money quickly,” Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said in a statement. “Recipients can immediately activate and use the cards safely.”

Treasury has already delivered more than 140 million Economic Impact Payments worth $239 billion to Americans by direct deposit to accounts at financial institutions, on Direct Express card accounts, and by check.