If never entering a bank again sounds like a good idea to you, you should consider filling out a direct deposit authorization form to have your paycheck or Social Security payment move directly into your checking or savings account.
The benefits of direct deposit are fairly obvious: Having payments go right into your account saves you time and hassle, as you don't have to make a special trip to the bank. You also know that your money is safe and will appear predictably in your balance. Moreover, electronic deposits often mean that your money is available the same day, as opposed to having to wait an extra day or two as with paper deposits.
How direct deposit works
Whether you're a recipient of government benefits, a full-time worker providing authorization for direct deposit to your employer, or an independent contractor setting things up for a one-time payment from a client, here's how direct deposit works: You provide the required information to authorize a third party to send funds payable to you directly into the bank account you designate.
Once direct deposit payments are properly set up, you can sit back and watch your money come into your account automatically without even having to download an app.
How to fill out a direct deposit form
The most important part of getting direct deposit set up is filling out an authorization for direct deposit form. For full-time employees, this document may be called a payroll direct deposit authorization form or direct deposit employee authorization form, although the actual document may be some other kind of standard direct deposit form.
No matter what it's called, most direct deposit authorization forms require the same basic information, so it's good to have the following details handy:
- Your personal information (name and address)
- Bank name and routing number
- Your account number
- Type of account (checking or savings)
Some forms also may request the exact amount to be transferred, as well as whether you want an entire check to be directly deposited. To avoid delays or problems with payments, be sure to read the form carefully so you are not missing any information, and also double-check the details you've provided. Once the form is completed, you must then submit it to your employer or other party making the payment.
For Social Security checks, GoDirect.gov provides for direct deposit; you also will need to provide your Social Security number for this service.
Direct deposit cards
Many financial institutions now offer direct deposit cards, which give you access to your directly deposited funds through a card that functions like a debit card. That is, a direct deposit card is prepaid, funded by your directly deposited checks, and you can use it for purchases just as you would use a debit card.
PayPal direct deposit
Yet another option is to have funds deposited directly into your PayPal account. First you will need a PayPal Cash Card—which is a form of debit card—so that you have an account and routing number to fill out the direct deposit paperwork. The rest of the process works the same as any other direct deposit. PayPal doesn't charge any extra fees to either set up the card or have your checks directly deposited into the account.
Note that once you submit the direct deposit authorization form, it may take several pay cycles for your check to begin appearing in your account. If you feel it's taking too long, there's no harm in following up to make sure things are proceeding accordingly—it's better to find out earlier than later if there was a mistake in the information you provided. Then, once the direct deposit process is completed, you can enjoy sitting back and waiting for your money to appear.