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Track your stimulus check or EIP card in the mail. It's simple and free

Pay attention to when your stimulus payment is on the way by using this free USPS service. It's easy to use and shows you what to look for so you don't throw your money away.

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

Angela Lang/CNET

If you used the IRS tracker tool, you may already know your stimulus check is coming in the mail as either a paper check or an EIP debit card. Or maybe you're waiting for a plus-up payment, which will arrive the same way your third check did. In either case, make sure you don't accidentally throw the envelope away or miss the payment delivery.

So you're prepared, you'll want to use the free USPS service to keep tabs on when it's supposed to arrive. We'll explain what you need to know, including how to sign up and how it works. We'll also show you what your stimulus check or EIP card will look like in the mail. However, it won't say how much money you'll receive -- this letter has that information.

Here's how to hunt down your third stimulus payment if you haven't gotten it yet -- including when you need to file a payment trace. Here are some issues that could hold up check delivery and how to report a problem. By the way, here's the latest on a fourth stimulus check and how much money your family can get if you qualify for child tax credit payments in 2021. Here is also how to see if your state owes you money. This story was recently updated.

Start by using the IRS Get My Payment tool to see when your money might arrive

The IRS has its own stimulus check tracker tool, which contains information about your payment schedule, when your money will arrive and how, and if there's been an error processing your payment. The IRS tool is called Get My Payment, and it can be useful if you're not sure if you're actually eligible -- or if you just want to make sure the IRS knows you are. Here are more details for SSDI and SSI recipients, and for veterans.

A downside to Get My Payment is that it doesn't give an exact date for when to expect your funds. That's where a free USPS service comes in: Since many stimulus checks will be arriving via snail mail now, a service called Informed Delivery will be the next step for tracking. Read on for how to use Informed Delivery to monitor your payment's arrival in the mail. And here's how to tell the IRS and USPS if you've moved.

Next step: Use USPS Informed Delivery to track your money straight to your mailbox (sign-up details below)

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 -- such as your third stimulus payment. 

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

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As part of the program, you'll receive an email every morning, Monday through Saturday, to notify you about mail being delivered to you. You'll also see a grayscale image of the letter's front. Informed Delivery has free apps for Android and iOS, too. 

Just be aware that signing up means you'll see all mail that's scanned by the post office, not just your stimulus check. You can cancel the service at any time. See the last section for details on how to sign up for Informed Delivery.

Your third stimulus check will look like this

Paper checks will be in a white envelope from the US Department of the Treasury and labeled "Economic Impact Payment" in the memo field, according to the IRS. Here's what the check will look like, so you know it's legitimate. You have one year to use it.

United States Treasury economic impact stimulus checks

This is what the new paper stimulus check will look like.

IRS.gov

Here's what your prepaid EIP debit card will look like

EIP cards arrive in a white envelope with a seal from the Department of the Treasury. Inside is a Visa card with the issuing bank listed as MetaBank, N.A. -- that information is displayed on the back. There will be literature included with the card that explains it's your Economic Impact Payment. Note: People who receive Social Security benefits aren't expected to get an EIP card.

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This is what to look for if you're mailed an EIP card.

IRS

Sign-up details for USPS Informed Delivery

Informed Delivery has some limitations. For example, it will work with many residential and personal post office box addresses -- but not businesses. It also won't work for some residential buildings where USPS 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 that it'll work with the service; then accept the terms and conditions and tap Continue

3. On the next page, choose a username, password and security questions. 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 USPS to mail you a code. You may also have the option to visit a post office to verify your identity in person.

For more details, here's how to calculate how much you'll get, everything you need to know about the third stimulus check and when you can expect your payment to arrive in your bank account or by mail. Here are three ways the stimulus bill can bring you more money, and all the tax breaks you could receive.