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IRS stimulus checks: How to deposit your payment safely from home, even with no bank account

IRS stimulus checks: How to deposit your payment safely from home, even with no bank account
[Photo: NeONBRAND/Unsplash]

Are you expecting your economic stimulus payment in the mail? Once your check arrives (here’s the delivery timeline), how will you cash or deposit it? Set up your plan now, particularly if you want to safely deposit it from your home (which you should!). No reason to risk your life for a check. Here are actions to take now to smooth the process:

If you have a bank account

  • Confirm your bank’s mobile deposit limit. Many banks have low check-deposit limits. If this is the case, call and ask the bank for a one-time exception. Here is a table to calculate your check amount. While you’re on the phone, ask how many days after check deposit your funds will be accessible.
  • Set up your bank’s mobile deposit app. Download and set up your bank’s mobile deposit app now. Customer service wait times are currently lengthy, so if you hit a snag, this process can easily take days.

If you don’t have a bank account

Here are some things you can do if your bank is closed, if you do not have an account, or if you simply don’t want to deposit your check in a bank:

  • Create a PayPal Cash Plus account. PayPal is waiving its 1% check-deposit fee for stimulus checks, letting users deposit the check via its mobile app. A typical PayPal account is not enough—you need a Cash Plus account, so start setting it up now. You can choose to spend your stimulus funds on a PayPal Cash Mastercard, which you can use at any store like a credit card, or online through Google Pay or PayPal transactions, among other options. Note that the maximum deposit amount is $5,000. Details here.
  • Consider cashing your check at Walmart. Customers can stay home, open up a Walmart Money Card account, and provide the account information to the IRS Get My Payment portal, so that the payment arrives from the IRS as a direct deposit. Monthly card maintenance fees ($3) are waived until June 30. If you must venture out, call your local Walmart to confirm that the store cashes checks, and what information and identification you will need to do so. Walmart will charge $4 to cash checks up to $1,000 and $8 for larger checks, and it has upped its maximum check amount to $7,500 until July 31. Details here.
  • Try your local chain supermarket. Call today to learn whether your local store will cash a check for your expected amount, the fee, what identification and information you will need, and any mobile options. Kroger, which owns a dozen branded supermarkets nationwide, is offering free stimulus-check cashing.

Another potential snag

  • Ask ahead about two named adults on your check. However you’re thinking of handling your payment, ask your planned institution today how to deposit or cash a check with two names on it. Kroger, to name one example, requires both named adults to appear at their store with the check. Pre-pandemic, many banks required both parties to come to a branch in person with ID.

Whatever you do, do not head to your local check-cashing or payday loan shop, where the fees will be much higher than the options listed here. Happy spending.

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