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The Ins & Outs of Direct Deposit

Let’s face it, we all make mistakes. Big or small, they’re nearly impossible to avoid and they tend to butt into the quality of our lives. When I lose a pen, that pen is forever gone, into some far off void, never to be found. That’s small. Losing your paycheck? Not so small. That’s why direct deposit was brought into existence.

Direct deposit is a modern day answer to conventional salary distribution, or payday. What happens is this: when it’s time for employers to pay their employees, the employers deposit funds directly from the employer source into the bank account of the employee.  You can probably already see how advantageous it can be for many, but on the other hand, there are always caveats when it comes to “too much of a good thing”.

How does it work?

Your personal checks have a slew of numbers on the bottom left side. The first nine of those number make up something called a routing number. The routing number is essentially an address for banks to have checks sent to. When it’s time to be paid, your employer uses your bank’s routing number to direct your paycheck to your bank.

The account number is located to the right of your routing number on one of your checks and may vary in length depending on who you bank with. The bank then uses your checking account number to deposit that check into your account.


Where can I find my routing and account number?

What sounds like a number frenzy is actually really simple. Basically your employer tells the bank to put $$$ into xxx’s bank account. The bank takes $$$ and checks xxx’s account number before depositing $$$.

Is it safe?

People’s primary concern when it comes to electronic payment is security. As I mentioned earlier, accidents happen and you can’t avoid them. Misplacing or even having a paycheck stolen is an unfortunate reality for some. Direct deposit mitigates the danger of that “floating paycheck”. Because your check is traveling to the bank via electronic fund transfer, there is no way you can lose, misplace, or have your check stolen. According to the United States Social Security Administration, since direct deposit has been available in 1976, not one person has lost a payment through good ole’ direct deposit.


Direct deposit is safe

Should I switch?

Now that you’re filled in, where do you stand? Personally, I find that direct deposit works for me because I’m able to work for anyone, anywhere in America, and still get paid in a timely manner. For me, that’s huge. For others, direct deposit is useful because they’ve preset their utility expenses to automatically withdraw from their checking account, which will automatically be replenished by direct deposit. What’s more, even if your pay cycle happens to fall on a weekend or holiday, many employers will have already queued your check to be submitted on that day – something paper check exchange still fails at!

Another pro of direct deposit is that enrolling in it can help you avoid bank fees. Many banks charge maintenance fees that require a bank customer to utilize multiple features the bank offers. Keeping a designated average balance, using a bank card a certain number of times, having a linked savings account and enrolling in direct deposit are some examples of the features you must use to avoid a maintenance fee. Few things are worse than having to pay a maintenance fee, so direct deposit can help avoid that.

So for many, covering great distances and saving time is enough to wave their DD flag. For the more conventional employees, if you prefer to work by hand and manually record your expenses, then maybe direct deposit would be a hindrance to you. Even so, I recommend giving it a go just to be sure that you don’t completely love it.

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