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Could your stimulus check still arrive by mail? 2 ways to track it to your mailbox through USPS

This USPS tool allows you to follow your stimulus check right to your mailbox, so you don't accidentally throw it away.

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Stimulus check or junk mail? Know what to look for so you don't toss it in the trash.

Angela Lang/CNET

Friday was the cutoff date for the IRS to finish sending out the second stimulus checks. And while that's likely a hard stop for your direct deposit to land in your bank account, if the IRS is mailing your money instead as a paper check or EIP debit card, you may still have a handful of days left to get the second payment of up to $600 per person -- without having to file during tax season.

If you're anxiously awaiting your check, the first thing you could do is to track your payment. There are two ways to do this and we recommend both. The first is a more general confirmation through the IRS' stimulus check tracker tool, which can inform you about your payment schedule, how it's arriving, your second stimulus check total and if there's been an error processing your check

Then, if your check is coming in the mail (likely at this point), you can sign up for a free USPS service that will show you when your letters have been scanned, are in transit and have been delivered to your home. That includes your second stimulus check, of course. We'll walk you through how you can use the USPS service to monitor your stimulus payment in the mail. (P.S. Here's the latest proposal from President-elect Joe Biden for a third stimulus check.) This story was recently updated.

USPS Informed Delivery: How it works to scan your mail

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

When the USPS runs mailed letters through its automated mail sorting equipment, it automatically creates a digital image of the front of all letter-size mail. Anyone who signs up for Informed Delivery can access the information by asking the USPS to notify you when each piece of mail with your name on it is on the way. Note that it can take three days to activate your account.

As part of the program, you'll receive an email each morning, Monday through Saturday, to notify you of any mail being delivered to you. You'll also see a grayscale image of the front of the letter. Informed Delivery has free apps for Android and iPhone that you can use. 

Just be aware that signing up means you'll see all your mail scanned by the post office, not just your stimulus check. You can cancel the service at any time. 

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How to use Informed Delivery to track your stimulus payment

Informed Delivery does have some limitations. For example, it'll work with many residential and personal post office box addresses but not businesses. It also won't work for some residential buildings where the Postal Service hasn't yet identified each unit. 

To check whether Informed Delivery is available in your area, head to the Postal Service's Informed Delivery page.

1. Tap Sign Up for Free.

2. Enter your mailing address and confirm it'll work with the service; then 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. 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.