When will your stimulus check come? How to track it in the US mail

Because the IRS deadline to provide your direct deposit information has passed, you're one of the millions of people who should expect to get your stimulus check in the mail instead of deposited into your bank account. If you want to track your stimulus check in the mail, we're going to show you how to use a US Postal Service app to do it. This free service will show you a digital image of your envelope and even send you an alert when your check is on the way.

There are some limitations to the USPS app, called Informed Delivery, so you might prefer to start by tracking your payment through the online IRS tool. This should give you a ballpark estimate of when your check will arrive. After that, Informed Delivery verifies that the check has in fact been processed by the postal service and is in transit.

A word before you begin. If you're using the IRS' online tracking tool, which is called Get My Payment (remember, this is separate from the USPS service), there's a chance you could run into trouble, like an error message that's hard to discern or issues identifying who you are. If you do, here are 12 possible explanations for what's going on and how you might be able to work around them. And if you're hearing chatter about another economic relief bill, here's what we know about the possibility of a second round of stimulus checks.

Make sure you're eligible for Informed Delivery

When the USPS runs mail through its automated mail sorting equipment, it creates a digital image of the front of all letter-size mail, and that includes your stimulus check. The Informed Delivery program uses this digitally captured information to notify you when each piece of mail is on the way.

The service is available to many residential and personal PO box addresses but not businesses. It also won't work for some multiunit buildings where the postal service hasn't yet identified each unit.

Here's how to check whether it's available in your area:

1. Head to the Postal Service's Informed Delivery page and tap the Sign Up for Free button.

2. Enter your mailing address, and tap Continue.

If the service is available, you can continue to set up an account.

Set up the Informed Delivery service

If you're eligible, here's how to set up your account.

1. On the Postal Service's Informed Delivery page, if you haven't yet, tap Sign Up for Free.

2. After you enter your mailing address and confirm it's in the service, accept the terms and conditions and tap Continue.

3. On the next page, choose your username, password and security questions; enter your contact information; and then 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 a code to you. If neither method works for you, may also be given the option to visit a post office to verify your identity in person.

How to see what's coming in the mail

The IRS said it can take three business days to activate your account after you set it up. Once it's live, you will receive an email each morning Monday through Saturday if mail is scheduled to arrive, notifying you of mail that will be delivered, along with a grayscale image of the front of the letter.

You can also use the free Android and iPhone Informed Delivery app to be notified.

For more on ordering and receiving packages during the coronavirus pandemic, here's how to find household goods when Amazon and other online stores are out of stock, how to order beer and wine online, and how long the virus can survive on packages.