• In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the IRS has sent out millions of stimulus checks to Americans totaling more than $200 billion.
  • That money was appropriated by Congress as part of a $2.2 trillion program passed in late March.
  • Most Americans qualify to get a coronavirus stimulus check, and you can even get it faster via direct bank deposit — but to do so, an important deadline is coming up on Wednesday.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

In the first four weeks since the IRS started sending out waves of direct coronavirus stimulus payments to Americans in the wake of the ongoing pandemic, the tax agency says around 130 million people so far have received checks worth more than $200 billion.

However, that still leaves millions of people who might be newly unemployed or in some other kind of economic hardship waiting on their check — which will total up to $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for married couples, with an extra $500 per eligible child. There is a way those people can speed up getting their check, but it involves a deadline that’s coming up fast.

The checks are being sent out in two different formats. Some people will get theirs in a physical, paper form, while for others the check will come electronically, via a direct bank deposit. As you can probably imagine, it’s the latter format that people will get faster, while the IRS will soon be sending out new waves of paper checks that take weeks to arrive — cold comfort to Americans who’ve been out of a job or in some other kind of financial distress stemming from the coronavirus since March.

On Monday, the IRS announced a deadline, for the first time, associated with the direct deposits. For anyone who wants to get their check faster, the agency needs your bank details by Wednesday, May 13, at noon (the announcement doesn’t specify noon in which time zone, so it would probably be safest to assume Eastern).

“We’re working hard to get more payments quickly to taxpayers,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “We want people to visit Get My Payment before the noon Wednesday deadline so they can provide their direct deposit information. Time is running out for a chance to get these payments several weeks earlier through direct deposit.”

The “Get My Payment” tool Rettig refers to is a web portal the IRS set up that allows taxpayers to not only check on the status of their payment but to give their banking data to the agency if they haven’t done so already. According to the IRS, the information shown on that page is updated once daily, usually overnight, so there’s no need to check it more than once a day.

After noon on Wednesday, the IRS says it will start preparing for new rounds of paper checks that will begin arriving later this month and into June.

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.