5 Questions You May Have About Direct Deposit

Enrolling in direct deposit is a choice many employees make. This quick and simple money-transferring system has made it easier for workers to get paid on time. 

Direct deposit also eliminates many of the stressors and inconveniences that come with receiving a paper check that you need to cash. However, not every bank or employer handles direct deposit the same way. 

To avoid paying unexpected fees or not having your money available when you want it, it’s important that you understand how your bank handles direct deposit.

You also need to check with your employer to learn how they take care of this payment form. 

For most workers, direct deposit is the best way for them to get paid once a month or every two weeks. However, you may have some questions about this service. 

The following sections outline five common questions new users have about direct deposit. 

Whether you’re new to this payment system or you’ve been receiving direct deposit for a while, there’s still more you can learn about this method. Read more below. 

1. Do I need to pay for direct deposit?  

Banking institutions that offer direct deposit do so as a free service. That’s because these types of transfers are categorized as Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments, and they’re usually free. 

While you won’t need to pay for direct deposit, the bank you use might have other fees you need to pay.

Be sure you speak with a representative at your local bank so you know what types of fees you might be subject to. 

Bank Direct Deposit Forms 

Your employer will probably give you a copy of the direct deposit form you need to fill out. If not, banks usually have their own forms you can use.

You can find some of them here: 

2. Can enrolling in direct deposit waive my monthly account fees?

Banks can charge fees for any variety of services. Your bank might even charge you a monthly fee to keep a checking or savings account open with them. 

If your bank charges you an account maintenance fee, it probably only costs a few dollars every month. However, this adds up over time, and your bank account can wind up costing you more than you planned. 

To help customers avoid paying these costs, some banks offer different ways you can waive this fee. 

Your bank may allow you to be exempt from paying the fee by keeping a certain balance in your account.

Depending on the institution, however, you could be required to keep tens of thousands of dollars in your account. For many, this is impractical. 

On the other hand, some banks will waive your monthly checking account maintenance fee if you enroll in direct deposit.

This means that for as long as you receive payment using this method, you won’t need to pay a fee that month. 

Usually, you’ll need to receive direct deposit at least once a month in order for your fee to be waived. 

Some banks offer this option while others do not. Therefore, it’s important that you know if this option is available at the bank you use.

Otherwise, it might be worth checking out other nearby banks to see if you could save money by enrolling in direct deposit with them. 

3. How soon will my money be available to me? 

Before you sign up for direct deposit with a particular bank, it’s important that you know how long it’ll take before your money will be available to you. This varies by institution. 

In some instances, it might take two days for your funds to be deposited into your account. At other banks, the deposit might take three days. 

If you’re new to direct deposit, it’s also important that you know: 

  • How you’ll receive your first check after signing up for direct deposit. It takes a while for direct deposit to start working. Even after you sign up for direct deposit, your first check will probably be given to you in paper form. Check with your employer so you know when you can expect an automatic deposit into your account. 
  • If your bank offers any opportunities for you to access your funds sooner. Some banks have technology that enables you to access your paycheck a day early. Check with your bank to see if this option is available to you. 

4. Can I automatically transfer my direct deposit pay to my savings account? 

If you’re interested in growing your savings, it’s important that you understand how easily you can transfer your direct deposit funds from one account to another. 

When you enroll in direct deposit, you’ll likely have your paycheck sent to your checking account.

However, your bank may provide a way for you to automatically transfer a portion of your direct deposit into a designated savings account as soon as the funds become available. 

If you’re interested in maximizing your savings, it’s worth asking banks whether they offer this service.

This is an effective tool if you: 

  • Forget to set money aside each month, so you never remember to save. 
  • Want to spend every penny of your paycheck each month, so it’s hard for you to save. 
  • Already save money but want to streamline the process so you don’t have to think about it. 

Many banks offer this service. Be sure to check with yours to see what types of benefits might be available to you. 

5. Does my bank offer technical support seven days a week? 

Direct deposit isn’t perfect. Just like with any form of technology, sometimes errors occur.

This means that it’s not impossible for there to be a processing error with your pay at one time or another. 

If this happens on the weekend or right before you go on vacation, this can be extremely stressful. To save yourself future headaches, you need to check with any potential bank you want to use about their technology support team. 

A good bank will have tech members on call at any hour. This way, you can contact representatives at any time and receive the assistance you need. 

Your bank’s tech support team will have a phone number you can call for assistance. However, if you prefer to ask your questions in person, make sure the bank you want to use has a branch near you. 

While these facilities won’t have tellers and specialists available for you to talk to at all hours, you’ll still need to go to your bank once in a while.

If you have questions during working weekday hours, you can go to these locations and speak with a representative in person.