By Imani Moise, Anirban Sen and Michelle Price
(Reuters) – Mixed messages from banks and the U.S. Treasury Department have caused confusion and frustration among millions of struggling Americans waiting for the government to deposit stimulus payments into their bank accounts.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tweeted on Tuesday that direct stimulus deposits of $600 could start arriving that evening, prompting some banks to notify customers that their payments were on their way. But very few account holders said the money reached their accounts by Wednesday afternoon.
‘No one with a real bank got the stimmy,’ one Twitter user complained, referring to one-time stimulus payments approved by Congress this month as part of a near-additional bailout package. $900 billion to help Americans still reeling from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to industry sources, the financial institutions have not yet received the funds. They said Mnuchin was referring to payment instructions that Treasury has begun sending to lenders, as opposed to the actual funds that come into effect Jan. 4. Payments will not be funded until then, although some account holders may see payments as pending. or provisional until then, they said.
This left it up to the banks to decide whether to pre-fund customer accounts or wait for them to receive the funds. Most lenders will likely wait until January 4.
“We will make funds available in the customer’s account no later than the morning of the effective date of the U.S. Treasury stimulus payment,” Wells Fargo & CO spokesman Jim Seitz said. Customers can see payments in their accounts as early as Jan. 1, he added. Some small lenders offer payment advances.
“You can access the funds today! Park City Credit Union tweeted on Wednesday.
The Northern Wisconsin Credit Union clarified in a later tweet that customers who opt for an early deposit will be charged a small fee.
Treasury spokesmen did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
(Reporting by Imani Moise; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Richard Chang)