Coronavirus Stimulus Checks:
What to Do and How to Get Yours
You Got Your Stimulus Check, Now What?
Many individuals have already received their stimulus check from the government. (If you are still waiting for yours, see our tips below.) Now, how can you make the most of that money? While the intent of the funds is to spend them on goods and services, it's up to you what you do with them. If you are feeling a bit anxious and want to hold on to those funds, it's understandable. But, if you've got your eye on something special, that's great too!
If you have or expect to experience a reduction in income
Likely you will want to make sure your rent or mortgage is paid first. There are federal and state programs in place to prohibit foreclosures and provide right to forbearance for homeowners during the COVID-19 pandemic. For renters, many states have also issued moratorium’s for evictions as well. However, at the end of the pandemic, payments will still come due. You may want to consider setting aside your stimulus funds so you are prepared when those payments come due. If you are worried you might be tempted to dip into your funds, consider placing it into a short term certificate or money market account. If you’d like to increase earnings on those funds you could also checkout Tether Savings. If, at any time, you want to check in and see how those funds are doing, you can log in from the comfy confines of your couch using online or mobile banking.
If you can, consider paying it forward
If you are fortunate enough to have solid employment, have an emergency savings and want to help those in need in your community, donating a portion of your stimulus money might be a good option for you. With millions recently unemployed, food banks and other community organizations are experiencing greater need than ever. Be sure to give wisely. If you are not able to give money, but still want to contribute, many of these organizations are also looking for volunteers to package food and make deliveries.
If You Haven’t Received Your Funds Yet
There are many reasons why you may not have received your funds yet. Paper checks are expected to begin mailing toward the end of April or early May. But it may be several months before all checks are issued. Here are a few links from the IRS to check out to determine your status and when your check might arrive:
- Find out if you are eligible
- Check your payment status
- Update your direct deposit or mailing address
Set up direct deposit
It’s not too late to set up direct deposit with the IRS, but you’ll want to hurry. The IRS cannot update direct deposit information after a stimulus payment has been scheduled for delivery. Also, to help protect you from fraud, they cannot change direct deposit account information already on file with the IRS. However, people who did not use direct deposit on their last tax return to receive a refund, or when their direct deposit information was inaccurate and resulted in a refund check, will be able to provide that information and speed their payment with a deposit into their bank account. To deposit to a Horizon account, you’ll want our routing number, which is 325182506. Your account number can be found on the bottom of your checks.
Deposit your check quickly and safely
The fastest, virus-free way to get that check deposited to your account is mobile deposit. If you have our mobile app, you can deposit your check with your mobile phone (if you don’t, this might be a great time to download it!). If you’ve never used mobile deposit before, we promise you it’s super-easy. But don’t take our word for it, check out our video tutorial here.
Helping you get by
We know that during these unprecedented times, many people are experiencing apprehension around their finances. We understand and are here to help with some financial gear to assist you through tough times. Find out more here.
What to avoid
Keeping it in cash
Your funds are federally insured up to $250,000 from the National Credit Union Administration. Plus, your eligible savings are insured up to an additional $250,000 through Horizon’s exclusive Excess Share Insurance.* While it might be tempting - and maybe even a little bit fun - to hold that stimulus payment in cold, hard cash, having large amounts of cash on hand leaves you vulnerable. Cash is risky because it’s susceptible to theft and damage and, for most of us, it’s tempting to spend when it’s just hanging around in your house.
Scams, scams and more scams
The FTC recommends doing these 5 things to avoid becoming the victim of a Coronavirus scam. If you have been targeted or been victim of a Coronavirus scam, or any scam, be sure to report it to the FTC to help eliminate future scams.
Giving out your personal information
Your financial institutions and the IRS already have the pertinent information they need. We will not call to request your debit card PIN, online banking log in credentials or your social security number. If you need to update your direct deposit or mailing address with the IRS, you must update this on their website. They will not call you.
No matter what you choose to do with your stimulus money, Horizon is here to help. If you have questions or need assistance get in touch at 800.852.5316, chat in online banking or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re here and ready to help!
*Eligible savings include all deposits at Horizon Credit Union, except certificate accounts.