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What Is A Direct Deposit? How Do You Set It Up?

May 17, 2024

When it comes to being paid for your hard work, the faster you can get your money, the better.

However, it can sometimes be a hassle to go to the bank or to use your mobile banking app to cash or deposit a check every time you get paid. Direct deposit is the answer if you’re looking for a more convenient method.

Direct deposit, a service often offered by payroll services, streamlines your paycheck process, putting your hard-earned money directly into your bank account electronically. Let's delve deeper into how direct deposit works and how it can benefit you.

What is a direct deposit?

When you start a new job, your employer will give you a direct deposit form. You’ll need to fill out this form with your bank account number, routing number, type of account (typically a checking account), bank name and address, and a voided check.

Your routing number is nine digits and can be found in the lower-left corner of the front of the check. Your bank account number is just to the right of this, also in the lower-left corner. Your checking or savings account will be the type of account you choose.

How to find routing number on a check


Some direct deposit slips may also ask for your social security number and home address, so make sure you have that information handy. Once the direct deposit form is filled out completely, turn it in to your employer.

How does direct deposit work?

Direct deposit is an online payment process which eliminates the need for physical checks. It offers a secure and convenient way to receive your paycheck or other recurring payments directly into your checking or savings account. Here's a breakdown of how it works:

1. Setting up direct deposit:

  • You'll provide your employer (or other payer) with your bank account information. This typically includes your routing number and account number, which can be found on a check or your bank's online portal.
  • Some employers may offer online enrollment for direct deposit, while others might require a paper form.

2. Electronic transfer:

  • Before payday, your employer initiates the direct deposit process. They send a secure electronic notification to their bank, which includes your banking information and the payment amount.
  • This notification travels through the Automated Clearing House (ACH) network, a central system that facilitates electronic bank transfers in the US.
  • The ACH routes the information to your bank.

3. Receiving the funds:

  • Your bank receives the notification and verifies your account information.
  • Once everything checks out, your bank automatically deposits the funds into your designated account on the scheduled day.
  • You'll typically receive an alert from your bank notifying you of the deposit.

How long does a direct deposit take?

Curious when your first direct deposit will hit your account? While setting up direct deposit is a breeze, it might take one to two pay cycles before you see the money reflected in your balance.

This is because, in some cases, your employer might issue a physical check during the initial transition period to ensure everything is set up correctly.

Once direct deposit is fully active, the exact timing of your funds appearing depends on your company's payroll schedule and software. Some businesses pay bi-weekly, while others opt for weekly pay or a fixed schedule on the 15th and 30th.

To avoid any surprises, it's best to check with your employer about their payroll management schedule and when you can expect your first direct deposit.

Benefits of direct deposit

Direct deposit offers a win-win situation for both employers and employees. It eliminates the hassle of paper checks and provides a secure, convenient way to manage your finances. Here's how:

For employees:

  • Automatic deposits: Say goodbye to waiting for checks to arrive or remembering to deposit them. Your paycheck automatically appears in your bank account on payday, ready for immediate use.
  • Peace of mind: Direct deposit eliminates the risk of lost or stolen checks. Your money goes straight to your secure bank account.
  • Faster access: Unlike paper checks that can take days to clear, direct deposits are typically available immediately on payday, allowing you to access your funds quicker.
  • Simplified record keeping: Electronic records of your paychecks are readily available in your bank statements, making budgeting and tax preparation easier.

For employers:

  • Cost savings: Direct deposit eliminates the need for printing checks, buying envelopes, and postage, reducing administrative costs associated with payroll processing.
  • Increased efficiency: Automated deposits streamline the payroll process, saving time and effort compared to handling paper checks.
  • Reduced errors: Direct deposit eliminates the potential for errors associated with writing and distributing physical checks.
  • Improved security: There's no risk of lost or stolen checks, ensuring your employees receive their pay securely.

It’s always best to be direct

Whether you're receiving or issuing payments, switching to direct deposit can save you time, money, and peace of mind. Both in life and when it comes to your deposits, setting up a direct deposit is easy, and in no time, you’ll see your payment come through to your bank account. Don’t spend it all in one place!

Ensure accurate and efficient payroll processing with dedicated time tracking software.

FREE Direct Deposit Form

Whether you're an employer or an employee who needs a direct deposit form, download one here, brought to you by G2!

This article was originally published in 2019. It has been updated with new information..

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Streamline processes and automate tax calculations with payroll services.

What Is A Direct Deposit? How Do You Set It Up? Setting up direct deposit is easy, and you can see your payment come directly to your bank account. Learn what it is and how to set up direct deposits.
Mara Calvello Mara Calvello is a Content Marketing Manager at G2. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Elmhurst College (now Elmhurst University). Mara's expertise lies within writing for HR, Design, SaaS Management, Social Media, and Technology categories. In her spare time, Mara is either at the gym, exploring the great outdoors with her rescue dog Zeke, enjoying Italian food, or right in the middle of a Harry Potter binge.

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