In the United States, as part of the second wave of coronavirus stimulus payments, the IRS said some payments will be sent as VISA debit cards issued by MetaBank.
Wouldn't this be more complicated and more expensive then printing a check? (e.g. the debit card has to have an associated account opened for it)
Is the government getting some kind of kickback from MetaBank or VISA for issuing these cards?
VISA normally gets to earn merchant processing fees from stores anytime anyone uses a VISA debit or credit card - is VISA opportunistically paying the government to issue VISA cards so when consumers spend their stimulus at stores, VISA gets a forced kickback (2.5% of tens of billions) from the merchants?
Also, I looked up MetaBank on Wikipedia and, relatively speaking, it's a smallish bank. Why would the government partner with MetaBank instead of a larger more established bank like e.g. Bank of America?
To be clear, my question is, why mail debit cards instead of checks for people the IRS don't have direct deposit info for? And, why choose MetaBank to handle that instead of a larger bank?