How Does Early Direct Deposit Work?

Quick Answer

Early direct deposit allows you to get paid up to two days earlier when you use an eligible bank account.

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If you use direct deposit for your paycheck, government benefits check or pension, you know how convenient it can be. Direct deposit gets money into your bank account quickly and securely, without the hassle and risks of paper checks.

But if your bank offers early direct deposit, you could get your money even faster. Early direct deposit is a feature of some bank accounts that allows you to get paid up to two days early—or in some cases, even earlier, depending on the type of deposit.

What Is Early Direct Deposit?

Early direct deposit lets you access the money from your paycheck up to two days earlier than you'd be able to otherwise. Banks and credit unions may also offer early direct deposit for pension, unemployment, disability, Social Security or veterans' benefits, and federal tax refunds. Depending on your financial institution, government benefits and tax refunds may appear in your bank account even earlier than paychecks. For example, Go2Bank lets you get your government benefits up to four days early; Chime gives you access to your federal tax refund up to six days early.

Direct deposit uses the Automated Clearing House (ACH) to automatically transfer funds from your employer, Social Security or other source into your checking or savings account. This is a faster way to get your money than depositing a paper check. When you cash a paper check, you might wait two to seven business days to access the full amount of your paycheck. Under federal law, however, funds from direct deposited paychecks must be available the next business day after deposit.

Early direct deposit lets you get your money even faster than regular direct deposit. Instead of waiting for the ACH transaction to process, early direct deposit releases the funds to your account as soon as your employer notifies your bank or credit union of the upcoming transaction.

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How to Get Early Direct Deposit

Typically, setting up direct deposit for a qualifying bank account automatically enrolls you in early direct deposit. Check with your bank to be sure. Many banks and credit unions offer early direct deposit only for certain types of checking or savings accounts. If your current bank account doesn't offer early direct deposit, you'll need to switch to a different type of account (or a different bank) to access the feature.

Once you've chosen a bank account that offers early direct deposit, the next step is setting up direct deposit. To find out how, check with your employer or the government agency that provides your benefits or visit your bank or credit union's website. You'll typically need to fill out a form, either on paper or online, that gives your employer the following information:

  • Your name
  • The name and address of your bank or credit union
  • The type of account you want to use for your direct deposit (checking or savings)
  • Your account number
  • Your financial institution's routing number
  • How much you want to deposit

Banks may have other criteria to qualify for early direct deposit. For example, Ally requires two qualifying direct deposits within a six-month period before you're eligible for early direct deposit. One Bank requires direct deposits of $500 or more per month in order to be eligible for early direct deposit. Check with your bank or credit union for any requirements you should be aware of.

Banks That Offer Early Direct Deposit

Not every bank or credit union offers early direct deposit, although it's rapidly becoming more widely available. Major banks and credit unions that offer early direct deposit include:

  • Ally
  • Axos
  • Capital One
  • Chase
  • Chime
  • Citizens Bank
  • Current Bank
  • Fifth Third Bank
  • Freedom First
  • Go2Bank
  • Green Dot
  • Huntington Bank
  • KeyBank
  • Lending Club Bank
  • Navy Federal Credit Union
  • One
  • One United Bank
  • PenFed Credit Union
  • Regions Bank
  • Revolut
  • SchoolsFirst Credit Union
  • SoFi
  • State Employees' Credit Union
  • USAA
  • Varo
  • Wealthfront
  • Wells Fargo

If your bank or credit union isn't on this list, check with them to see if they offer early direct deposit or plan to do so.

Why Didn't I Receive My Direct Deposit Early?

Getting your direct deposit early depends on when your employer submits your direct deposit information to the bank. If the bank doesn't receive the information early enough, your direct deposit may not arrive early. Holidays, weekends or banks' cutoff times may affect when your bank receives your payment information, which can affect when a direct deposit goes into your account.

Other factors that could delay your early direct deposit:

  • You just recently set up direct deposit.
  • The deposit type is not eligible for early direct deposit.
  • You have reached the bank's monthly transaction limit or dollar limit for early payment processing.
  • Your employer had a problem with their payroll system.

If your direct deposit doesn't turn up early, you could get hit with nonsufficient funds charges or overdraft fees. To avoid this, use your banking app or visit your bank's website to set up account alerts and get notified when your early direct deposit hits your account.

The Bottom Line

By providing faster access to your money, early direct deposit can reduce stress and streamline your financial life. Looking for a checking account that offers early direct deposit? The Experian Smart Money™ Digital Checking Account & Debit Card can help you build credit without debt by linking to Experian Boost®ø, which gives you credit for eligible bill payments after three months of payments. You'll also pay no monthly fees and have access to more than 55,000 fee-free ATMs worldwide**. See terms at