When will your new stimulus check come in the mail? You can track it free through USPS – CNET

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Stimulus check or junk mail? Know what to look for so you don’t throw your money away.


Angela Lang/CNET

If you got a first stimulus payment, you may remember the anguish of waiting for it to appear. Now the IRS has started sending second stimulus checks in the mail. If you qualify for another direct payment — you can calculate your second stimulus check total here — there are three methods you could expect to receive it. But if you didn’t already set up direct deposit with the IRS, expect either a paper check or an EIP card delivered to your mailbox.

As a way to discourage stimulus check fraud and theft, the envelope has subtle signs it comes from the US Treasury (like an official seal). But rather than stalk every mail truck or worry it slipped through the cracks, you can sign up for a free USPS service that will help you track when your second stimulus check or EIP card will arrive. It’ll even tell you when your mail has been delivered.

Although the second stimulus checks are coming more quickly this time around, there’s also a catch: a Jan. 15 cutoff date to receive your check. If you don’t get your payment in the mail shortly after that date, you’ll have to file a claim during tax season to get your money. That’s called a Recovery Rebate Credit, and it could slow down your timeline to get your next check. We’ll walk you through how you can use the USPS service to monitor your stimulus check in the mail.

What is the Informed Delivery service? Can you cancel it?

Informed Delivery is a free mail-tracking service from the USPS that automatically scans your letters and that can alert you with an image each time a letter with your name on it is about to be delivered — including your second stimulus payment. 

Just be aware that it will show you all your documents scanned by the post office, not just your stimulus payment. Yes, you can cancel at any time. 


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It can take three business days to activate your account after you set it up. Once it’s live, you will receive an email each morning, Monday through Saturday, if mail is scheduled to arrive, notifying you of mail that will be delivered, along with a grayscale image of the front of the letter. You can also use the free Android and iPhone Informed Delivery app to be notified.

How do I know if I’m getting my second stimulus check in the mail?

If you didn’t already set up direct deposit with the IRS, this is the most likely outcome, as long as you’re eligible to receive a second stimulus check. It isn’t clear at this point if the IRS will open up its online tracking tool for new direct deposit registration. As of Jan. 3, the tool is not yet activated to track your payment schedule for the second check.

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Is your stimulus check in there? You could already know before you ever take a look.


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Informed Delivery: Quickly make sure you can sign up

When the USPS runs mail through its automated mail sorting equipment, it creates a digital image of the front of all letter-size mail, and that includes your stimulus check. The Informed Delivery program uses this digitally captured information to notify you when each piece of mail is on the way. 

The service is available to many residential and personal P.O. box addresses but not businesses. It also won’t work for some multiunit buildings where the Postal Service hasn’t yet identified each unit.

Here’s how to check whether it’s available in your area:

1. Head to the Postal Service’s Informed Delivery page and tap the Sign Up for Free button.

2. Enter your mailing address, and tap Continue

If the service is available, you can then set up an account.

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Don’t throw perfectly good money away.


Angela Lang/CNET

How to set up Informed Delivery to track your mail

Setting up your account is straightforward. 

1. On the Postal Service’s Informed Delivery page, tap Sign Up for Free.

2. After you enter your mailing address and confirm it’ll work with the service, you’ll need to accept the terms and conditions and tap Continue

3. On the next page, choose your username, password and security questions. Then, enter your contact information and tap Continue.

4. On the next page, you’ll need to verify your identity. Tap Verify identity online if you want to receive a verification code on your phone or tap Request invitation code by mail if you want the Postal Service to mail you a code. If neither method works, you may also have the option to visit a post office to verify your identity in person.

For more stimulus check details, here’s how to calculate an estimate of your total, what we know about a third stimulus check and how some of your rights have changed for the better with a second stimulus check.

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