Treasury: Latest COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments Being Processed Tonight

The Internal Revenue Service has begun processing ACH files for the $600-per-person economic impact payments, with a value date of Jan. 4, 2021, the Treasury Department said tonight. ACH files will continue to be sent to banks through Thursday, Dec. 31, Treasury added.

The initial ACH file is expected to include 113 million payments with an estimated value of $112 billion. The IRS will also send 34 million checks and prepaid debit cards amounting to $30 billion. Checks will start to be printed and mailed tomorrow, Dec. 30, at a rate of approximately five to seven million per week and are expected to look the same as the previous round of EIPs in the spring. The checks will be dated Jan. 6, but Treasury has confirmed that it will not return any checks deposited or cashed before that day. Prepaid cards totaling about three million per week will start to be mailed on Monday, Jan. 4.

Bankers should be aware that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and other official sources have signaled that consumers may have immediate access to their EIPs. “These payments may begin to arrive in some accounts by direct deposit as early as tonight and will continue into next week,” Mnuchin said on Twitter tonight. However, since banks’ practices vary on early access to funds sent by ACH, bank contact centers should be prepared for questions about funds availability.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of the Fiscal Service (which will process the EIPs on behalf of the Treasury Department) and the Federal Reserve will host a free webinar on this second round of EIPs tomorrow, Dec. 30, at 2 p.m. EST. Speakers on the webinar will include Roger Replogle, Cash Product Office manager for the Federal Reserve System, who will discuss the effects of EIPs on banks’ cash management. Each bank is asked to register no more than two representatives.