Stimulus update: Why are some people unable to access their COVID-19 relief checks?

Americans banking with some financial institutions will not have access to the third round of COVID-19 stimulus funds until at least midweek.

Although some people began receiving $1,400 per-person direct deposit payments Saturday morning, others awoke to find the funds pending.

In a Friday call, a U.S. Treasury official told reporters that “some people will see the money in their accounts as early as this weekend as a pending or provisional payment until it is cleared by their financial institution,” CNN Business reported, indicating the funds are being processed and not held.

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Wells Fargo addressed the issue directly in a Friday night tweet stating, “Customers who are eligible to receive direct deposit of their stimulus payment may expect it as soon as March 17, 2021.”

In a follow-up tweet on Saturday following widespread criticism for the delay, the bank noted specifically that it will process all of the direct deposits “according to the effective date provided by the U.S. Treasury” and directed customers to check their status using the IRS “Get My Payment” tool.

President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act on Thursday, clearing the way for stimulus checks to be distributed. The $1.9 trillion plan, which amounts to one of the largest economic recovery plans in U.S. history, includes a third round of stimulus checks for most Americans financially hamstrung by the coronavirus pandemic and expands unemployment benefits.

Chase issued a statement similar to Wells Fargo’s on both its website and Twitter.

“We expect that electronic stimulus payments will be available in eligible Chase accounts as soon as Wednesday, March 17, 2021,” the company stated, according to WBNS.

According to the IRS, the “Get My Payment” tool was temporarily taken offline to allow the agency to review “the tax provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, signed into law on March 11, 2021,” and was expected to be operational Monday, but instead rebooted Sunday afternoon.

Meanwhile, H&R Block confirmed to USA Today that March 17 is the day the IRS has told them that most people will receive payments.

According to an estimate from the Penn Wharton Budget Model, the COVID-19 relief funds are expected to reach about 90% of American families, CNN Business reported.

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