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Susan Tompor: Stimulus cash expected to hit bank accounts on St. Patrick's Day

Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Home and Consumer News

St. Patrick's Day is the day when the green from those latest stimulus payments will actually flow into many savings and checking accounts.

Eligible consumers will have access to their money by 9 a.m. local time Wednesday, according to the trade group that handles the processing of direct deposits.

"The IRS chose the date of March 17, which is the date on which the IRS intends for settlement to occur," according to Nacha, the organization that governs the ACH Network.

So you might want to hold off pulling out your debit card for another few days if you've got immediate plans for how you quickly you'd like to spend that stimulus money.

"In general, most people will get $1,400 for themselves and $1,400 for each of their qualifying dependents claimed on their tax return," according to an IRS statement Friday.

An eligible family of three might end up looking at a stimulus payout of up to $4,200 this time around, while the payout could jump to up to $5,600 for a family of four.

The third stimulus could be the best stimulus of the bunch for most people, given a far more generous up to $1,400 add-on for all dependents, not just for children ages 16 and younger.

All the money isn't going out via direct deposit. Some people will still get money via paper checks and plastic prepaid debit cards issued by MetaBank, both of whichwill be sent in the mail in the coming weeks.

"The vast majority of these payments will be by direct deposit," the IRS said Friday, without being specific on the exact percentage of payments.

There's been some confusion lately as to when people will have access to their cash via direct deposit after seeing some "pending" action relating to the third stimulus payments on their bank accounts this weekend.

Some social media buzz heated up as some consumers complained about why the money wasn't readily available.

"Banks holding stimulus payments so they can collect the overnight interest on the money should be a crime," wrote @goldietaylor on Twitter, editor-at-large for the Daily Beast. The tweet had 4,875 retweets.

Another asked: "Why are @Chase and @WellsFargo holding onto your money until March17?"


Another tweet: "Live look at Wells Fargo bringing my stimulus money to the bank. Talk about speed and horsepower." Not surprisingly, that tweet showed a photo of the Wells Fargo stagecoach.

Bankers and others in the industry set out Monday to clarify the payment time schedule and take on their critics.

"There is no mystery where the money is from the time the first payment file was transmitted on Friday, March 12 to when all recipients will have access to the money on Wednesday — it is still with the government," according to a statement provided Monday morning from Nacha.

The statement noted that the Internal Revenue Service announced that the "settlement date for the initial wave of tens of millions of economic impact payments by Direct Deposit will be Wednesday, March 17."

"This is the date on which the IRS will provide the funds to the banks and credit unions to further make available to recipients," the industry group stated.

I reported last week that the U.S. Treasury would start to send electronic messages to banks on Friday but bank accounts would not see any extra cash available immediately.

It was expected then that March 17 would be the effective date when the Treasury actually transfers the money, according to industry experts. More than 100 million payments are expected to be payable on March 17 via direct deposit, according to banking industry experts.

Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, told reporters in Washington on Thursday that people would start seeing direct deposit of the stimulus checks as soon as last weekend.

Jane Larimer, president and CEO of Nacha, issued a similar sentiment on Thursday after President Joe Biden signed the massive COVID-19 relief package into law.

"The ACH Network is ready to deliver these relief payments via Direct Deposit, with funds available to people on the day instructed by the IRS," Larimer said then.

The IRS noted in a press release issued late Friday: "As with the first two Economic Impact Payments in 2020, most Americans will receive their money without having to take any action. Some Americans may see the direct deposit payments as pending or as provisional payments in their accounts before the official payment date of March 17."

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