How To Set Up Direct Deposit: What Information is Needed

Setting Up a Direct Deposit:

Why spend precious time going to the bank? Direct deposit is the easy, worry-free way to have electronic deposits. Moreover, it’s much faster than paper deposits, letting you access your money on the day of the deposit.    

how to set up direct deposit

As a small business owner, you are responsible for many different elements of your operation. In addition to taking care of the ins and outs of managing your business, you also have to manage your employees, which includes paying them.

It is a great way to make payday easier for both you and your employees.

In this article:

What Is Direct Deposit?

It is an electronic payment from one bank account to another. For example, money may move from an employer’s bank account to an employee’s bank account, although there are several other ways to use direct deposit.

To complete transfers, banks use the Automated Clearing House (ACH) network, which coordinates these payments among financial institutions.

How Does Direct Deposit Work?

If we look into the specifics of the direct deposit process even further, the steps involved look like this:

  1. You, as the employer, initiate the direct deposit with your bank (we’ll explain more on exactly how to do this later).
  2. Your bank will take any and all direct deposits, package them together, and send them in batches to the ACH, at regular, predetermined intervals.
  3. The ACH will receive the direct deposit orders, and send them along to the banks of all of your employees.
  4. Those banks will receive the orders and credit the accounts of your employees accordingly. When your employees account is credited, yours is then debited the corresponding amount.

This process generally takes one to two business days, according to the National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA).

An important thing to note about this process is the exact timing can also depend on your bank, your employee’s bank, which payroll software you use, and any national holidays that affect bank operations.

Don’t worry though, your payroll software or bank will be able to help you plan out the payroll schedule and corresponding direct deposit schedule that works best for you.

how to set up direct deposit

How to Set Up Direct Deposit for Employees

Now that we’ve gone through what direct deposit is and exactly how it works, let’s go through, step by step, how you can set it up for your employees.

Step 1: Decide on a direct deposit provider

The first thing you need to do when setting up a direct deposit for employees is to decide who is going to provide the services.

Essentially, this is the entity that will handle and house all of the information for both your business and your employees and will ultimately be the one taking the funds through the direct deposit process that we outlined above.

Generally, you have two options for direct deposit providers. You can work with the bank that houses your business bank account as well as any other business, accounting.

Either of these options will give you the ability to send payments electronically through it.

Step 2: Initiate the setup process

If you decide to set up a direct deposit through your bank, you can talk to them directly for options, pricing information, and specifics for getting started.

Your bank may ask for recent financial statements, just to verify that you have the necessary finances in place to be setting up this process.

If you’re using a payroll software, on the other hand, much of what you need to get started will be integrated into the platform, and the information you provided when you started your account with that software will help.

If you’re setting up in your payroll software for the first time and initiating direct deposit, then you’ll need to put in your business bank account information. This will be the account that your direct deposits will pull from.

Finally, your provider will do a test and withdraw a small amount of money from your account. You will then verify this transaction with them to confirm the process is working.

Step 3: Collect information from your employees

After initializing the direct deposit process with your chosen provider, your next course of action is to collect information from your employees.

From your employees you will need:

  • Their bank account number
  • The bank account type (checking, savings)
  • The bank’s routing number
  • The bank’s name

In addition to these pieces of information, you’ll need your employees to sign an authorization form that says they give you access to transfer them funds (their paycheck) electronically.

There are forms available that you can customize to your business and that allow your employees to provide all of these necessary pieces of information in one form. You can find an example here.

If you use HR software that has employee logins, your employees can log in themselves and fill in the relevant information and give the direct deposit authorization directly in the software. In this case, the information will automatically connect to your payroll.

Step 4: Enter the employee information into your system

Now that you’ve collected all the necessary information from your employees, you need to add it to your payroll.

You’ll input the information provided by your employees into your business accounting or other payroll software. The individual software you use should have documentation specific to this process, but essentially, you’ll be adding everything from the direct deposit authorization form into the system.

You’ll input all of the information for your employees given on their direct deposit authorization form and save it in the system. With this batch created, you’ll be able to send your payroll to them.

Step 5: Create a direct deposit and payroll schedule

Once all the relevant information is in the system with your direct deposit provider and you’ve been through the authorization process, you should be ready to get started.

You should know that a direct deposit can take 7-10 days to get set up officially with your provider. You wouldn’t then want to start setting up a direct deposit a few days before you intend to pay your employees.

You may already have had a payment schedule set up, but you’ll want to double-check with your bank or payroll services to make sure that your current schedule will be on track once you’ve set up.

Don’t forget to communicate the schedule with your employees and payroll administrators. You’ll want to set a cut off date for your employees to submit hours or time cards so that you have enough time to review and then process payroll to go through direct deposit.

Step 6: Run payroll

Once you’ve got everything set up, and you’ve verified the direct deposit activation with your bank or payroll software, you’re ready to go. You can run the payroll on the schedule you’ve determined, and your employees will receive their paychecks via direct deposit.

how to set up

The Benefits

You will get your pay earlier. The money should be available to you on the morning of your payday. In some situations, you might be able to access your funds as early as two days before payday.

You won’t have to take your check to a check casher. Depending on how much you had been paying to cash your check, you may save as much as four percent of your paycheck.

You’ll save time. This means never having to go somewhere to cash your check. It means one less trip per pay period. You can go straight home after work on Friday.

Moreover, once your money has become digitized, you can save more time through online shopping. Likewise, you won’t have to drive to pay your utility bills with cash.

You can direct your employer to split your direct deposit into more than one destination. You will find that automation makes it more convenient to realize your financial goals.


1. What is Direct Deposit and how does it work?

It is a safe, proven, confidential method of receiving a payment. Money is electronically transferred from a company or organization into your checking or savings account.

2. How do I know when my payment has been deposited?

Most employers will issue a payment stub that is identical to what you receive with a traditional paycheck. It will show how much was deposited in your account and how much was taken out of your pay for taxes, insurance and other items. If your employer does not issue payment stubs, your bank will provide you with a telephone number to use to check the status of your deposits.

3. When do I have access to the money?

Typically, your payment is available first thing in the morning on payday

4. If I use Direct Deposit, how can I be sure that no one will have access to my account?

Direct Deposit is a confidential way to send and receive payments. Although your company does have a limited ability to reverse your payment, it can only access funds that were deposited in error.

5. Can I divide my pay among different accounts if I use Direct Deposit?

Yes. You can have your pay deposited into one account or split among several accounts. Decide once how you want your pay divided and your plan will be carried out automatically every pay period. This increases your financial control and discipline in saving for the future.

6. What happens if I change banks?

Just fill out a new authorization form with your employer and provide your written permission to switch accounts.

how to set up

The Takeaway

With direct deposit, you will never have to spend your lunch hour waiting to deposit your check at the bank again. Remember the time when you stood outside on a cold December morning, waiting for the branch manager to unlock the doors? Have you ever lost your check? Never again.

Have you ever been so busy that you couldn’t get to the bank until a few days after payday? If that did happen, did you have trouble when there wasn’t enough money in your account?

Say goodbye to check problems and say hello to the convenience of digital banking!

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