Many stimulus payments are still pending: What that means for you

Maurie Backman
The Motley Fool

Last week, President Joe Biden signed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill into law, and the White House was quick to announce that $1,400 stimulus payments would start hitting bank accounts over the weekend. But not everyone who's entitled to a stimulus payment has gotten their money. In fact, a lot of people are checking their bank accounts and seeing that their stimulus money is stuck in "pending" status. Here's what you need to know if you're seeing something similar.

You should have your money soon.

Given the number of people who have exhausted their savings accounts over the past 12 months, any sort of stimulus-related holdup is apt to be met with frustration. As such, if you're seeing that your stimulus payment is still pending, you may be itching to get to the bottom of that delay in your payment.

So here's the scoop: Financial help in the form of stimulus payments did, in fact, start going out over the weekend. But it takes banks a few days to process those payments. So a lot of stimulus funds may be stuck in "pending" mode right now. However, customers who sit tight for a couple of days should see those funds clear by the middle of the week, at which point they'll be able to access that cash and spend it as they please.

Wells Fargo, for example, announced late last week that customers getting their stimulus cash via direct deposit could expect their funds to clear as soon as March 17. Chase Bank had a similar message -- that it would be processing stimulus funds and making them available as quickly as possible and that most customers in line for stimulus funds could expect to see that money in their accounts by March 17. If your stimulus payment hasn't cleared yet, you may just need to hang in for a couple more days until that money is available.

Now, if you're getting your stimulus by mail, as opposed to direct deposit, it's a different story. As was the case with the first two rounds of stimulus payments, the IRS can only issue so many checks at once. So those waiting on a stimulus by mail may not get their money until April -- and possibly beyond. Another thing you should know is that if you're getting a stimulus by mail, those funds may arrive in debit card form. Such was the case with the first two stimulus rounds, so it wouldn't be surprising to see a repeat.

If you want to know where your stimulus payment stands, you can use the IRS's Get My Payment tool to do some digging. That way, if you're missing your money, you'll see whether a payment has actually been issued to you electronically or sent out in the mail. It especially pays to use this tool later this week if you're expecting stimulus funds to hit your bank account electronically. But for now, if your stimulus hasn't cleared, that could change in a matter of days.

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