Many companies featured on MONEY advertise with us. Opinions are our own, but compensation and
in-depth research determine where and how companies may appear. Learn more about how we make money.

Advertiser Disclosure

The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

By Brad Tuttle
Updated: May 15, 2020 2:08 PM ET | Originally published: April 15, 2020
Money; Getty Images

With an online tool from the IRS, you can track your stimulus check, find out how you’re being paid — and, if you want, update your bank direct deposit information to get your stimulus payment as fast as possible.

The online IRS portal for entering payment information and checking on the status of stimulus checks went live on April 15. The application is called Get My Payment.

The Get My Payment app allows taxpayers to check on the status of their stimulus payments and confirm whether the money is arriving via direct deposit or paper check. Receiving your money by direct deposit is generally faster than a paper check payment, though the IRS also started to mail paper checks out the week of April 20. You can enter new bank information using Get My Payment if your direct deposit account isn’t already on file, and if your stimulus payment hasn’t already been processed. (Note: The last day to enter your direct deposit information using the Get My Payment app was May 13, the IRS said. If you missed the deadline and are still eligible and registered for a payment, it will be sent via paper check.)

At least in theory this is how the Get My Payment app is supposed to work. On Wednesday, April 15, the first day the service was available to the masses, people have been complaining on social media about how the app crashed or gave them frustrating messages like “Payment Status Not Available” and “Please Try Again Later.”

IRS Get My Payment Tool

Most people don’t need to do anything to receive their stimulus checks, which pay out up to $1,200 per adult, and $500 per child under age 17. According to the IRS, 130 million stimulus payments had been sent out through the program’s first four weeks, and an estimated 150 million payments will be distributed overall. The payment amounts are based on your adjusted gross income, as calculated in your most recent tax return, and the IRS is paying most checks via direct deposit — provided that information is already on file.

Yet in this particularly trying economic climate, where millions have lost their jobs, many people were waiting for the IRS to offer a service letting them track their stimulus checks, similar to the tool allowing you to track your tax refund. Some taxpayers are also unsure how or when they will receive their $1,200 checks, or they seek to provide the IRS with updated direct deposit information — so that they can get their checks as soon as possible. The Get My Payment application is supposed to address all of these needs.

To use Get My Payment, go to irs.gov/get-my-payment. You should have some information handy in advance. Specifically, you need a copy of 2019 tax return (if you’ve already filed), or a 2018 return if you haven’t done your taxes yet this year. You’ll also need your bank direct deposit information available, if you seek payment that way, as well as standard personal information, such as date of birth, Social Security number, and mailing address.

Why You Get a ‘Payment Status Not Available’ Message

You can use the Get My Payment app to find out the projected date when your deposit is scheduled to arrive in your bank account. The Get My Payment tool will also tell you if you’re set to receive payment by paper check, along with a scheduled arrival date in the mail. However, there could be several reasons why you can’t get a status update on your stimulus payment right now.

The IRS says that through midday on Wednesday, April 15, that over 6 million taxpayers had successfully found out their payment status through the new Get My Payment app. If instead, your inquiry resulted in a “Payment Status Not Available” message, the IRS says that this could be because:

  • You are not eligible for a payment.
  • You have not filed a tax return in tax year 2018 or 2019.
  • You filed your tax return recently and it’s still being processed, or you provided information through Non-Filers: Enter Your Payment Info on IRS.gov.
  • You receive Social Security, or are a RRB Form 1099 recipient, SSI or VA benefit recipient. Status updates for these recipients is not yet available through the Get My Payment app.

Here are more explanations for why you can’t get a payment status update, or why your check simply hasn’t come yet. If you cannot get a status update on your payment, the IRS says that you should check back 24 hours later and try again then.

If you’ve been frustrated and unable to use the Get My Payment app, it may be time to try it again. The Get My Payment app went offline during brief periods over a few days for “planned maintenance,” and on April 26, the IRS announced “significant enhancements” to the app. “We urge people who haven’t received a payment date yet to visit Get My Payment again for the latest information,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement. “IRS teams worked long hours to deliver Get My Payment in record time, and we will continue to make improvements to help Americans.”

Stimulus Checks and Direct Deposit

While Get My Payment allows you to give bank direct deposit information to the IRS, you cannot change bank information with the IRS if it already has an account for you on file. Why? As the IRS explains, “To help protect against potential fraud, the tool also does not allow people to change bank account information already on file with the IRS.” You also can’t change your form of payment if the IRS has already scheduled it for delivery.

If you haven’t filed your 2019 taxes (or your 2018 returns for that matter), you might want to do that now. Many people can file federal tax returns for free, and tax-prep services like TurboTax and H&R Block are easy to use.

The Get My Payment app is strictly for people who file federal taxes. The IRS has a separate spot online where non-tax filers, including many low-income earners, can enter their information to get stimulus checks for themselves and qualifying dependents.

Who gets stimulus checks first? The Treasury Department says that the first recipients of stimulus checks — officially called “economic impact payments,” part of the $2 trillion CARES Act to provide economic relief amid the coronavirus pandemic — will be taxpayers who have already filed their 2019 (or 2018) tax returns and have provided direct deposit information to the IRS. Many of these payments began showing up in taxpayers’ bank accounts on Wednesday, April 15, or even earlier.

A second wave of stimulus payments will reportedly be sent in late April to Social Security beneficiaries and others who have their direct deposit information on file with federal agencies. After that, the IRS will be sending stimulus payments via paper check, to all those who are eligible.

As you can see, the fastest way to get your stimulus check is via direct deposit. Some people should receive their paper check stimulus payments in the mail the week of April 20. But others may have to wait weeks, if not months, longer if you are receiving payment via paper check.

Promoted:

Looking for money tips? Read: 10 Smart Money Moves to be Financially Productive from Quarantine

More From MONEY:

Where’s My Stimulus Check? Here’s Why You Didn’t Get $1,200 Yet or Can’t Track Your Payment Status

Will You Get a Second Stimulus Check for Coronavirus?

Here’s Why You Can’t Call the IRS About Your Stimulus Check

Tax Day Is Not April 15 This Year. Here’s Why You Should File Your Return ASAP Anyway

You May Like

EDIT POST