COVID-19 Stimulus Checks: Digital Bank Chime Offers Early Payments to Some Users

Covid-19 stimulus check


A digital bank called Chime is sending some of its users the amount of their COVID-19 stimulus checks immediately. The bank will use its own capital to fund early payments for users until checks from the government are issued. At least 1,000 users have already received the funds as part of a pilot program. The CEO of Chime has stated his desire to make this program available to more people as soon as possible.

In a telephone interview with CNBC, Chime CEO Chris Britt explained that he plans to expand the program to as many of the digital bank’s 8 million users as possible, once the government confirms which of its users will definitely receive a check in the coming weeks.

“We think the aggressive action taken by the government is awesome, and we applaud it, but consumers need faster access to that money to pay their bills,” he said. “We’re putting real dollars on the line, without interest rates or guarantees. We’d love to give it to more people. If we had greater certainty that the payments will hit our accounts, we’d do it.”

Britt has called on other banks, like Bank of America, to start offering similar programs.

The users who have received these early “stimulus checks” are customers who direct deposit their paychecks into a Chime account and who have had their tax refunds deposited in their accounts in the past.

Here’s what you need to know:

Chime’s CEO & Mark Cuban Came Up with the Idea to Provide Early ‘Stimulus Checks’ & Are Working on Ways to Make it Available to More People

Chime customers who receive these early payments will be expected to “give” their eventual stimulus check from the government back to Chime. Britt has said that there will be no interest or repayment fees for this feature yet, though some publications have noted the risk that Chime takes on. For example, customers might receive their stimulus checks in other accounts or might find a way to take both payments without repaying Chime.

For now, the digital bank insists it’s working on ways to make stimulus check payments as widely available as possible to the American people, and as quickly as possible. For example, Chime is in talks with the Treasury to offer free checking accounts for people who qualify for a stimulus check but don’t have a checking account, according to CNBC.

The effort comes at a time when millions of people are lamenting how long it’s taking to receive their much-needed stimulus checks and how they need far more than what the initial stimulus check offers them.

If you want to sign up for Chime, you can do so here.

It’s worth remembering, though, that signing up for Chime doesn’t guarantee they will offer you your stimulus check amount immediately. They haven’t yet made this pilot program available to all of their users, just to a small number.

As for when you can expect your stimulus check to arrive, it depends on whether you plan to receive it via a direct deposit or through the mail. Unfortunately, if you’re planning to wait for your check in the mail, you might have to wait upwards of four months, according to Forbes. For that reason, you should set up direct deposit with the IRS if you’re able.

If you don’t have direct deposit details set up with the IRS, you’ll be able to do it before checks are issued to mailing addresses. The web portal to create a direct deposit account with the IRS is not yet available online, so the best thing is to continue to check in on the IRS coronavirus page and follow relevant Twitter accounts like the IRS and Secretary Mnuchin.

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