You can sign up for direct deposit to receive your paycheck or other payments directly in your bank account. In some cases, you may have to wait some time for whoever is paying you to send the deposit to your bank, plus up to an extra business day for the funds to be available.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Depending on your bank, your deposit may post the same day, the next business day or even before your usual payday.
How Direct Deposit Works
If you are starting a new job, it's quite possible that someone will ask you if you wish to be paid by direct deposit. If you say yes, you'll generally provide your employer with your bank account's routing number and account number, which you can find on a check or obtain from your bank.
Then, when your payday is approaching, your employer will tell its own financial institution the list of people to be paid and the day they should be paid. That bank will turn to a national network called the Automated Clearing House system no earlier than two days before you are due to be paid.
The Federal Reserve routes the information to your bank, which will add the funds to your account. Depending on your bank's policies, the funds may be available immediately on the day you're paid, the next business day or even on the day before you're paid. Contact your bank for details if you're unsure of its policy or if you are interested in shopping among banks or credit unions based on their direct deposit policies. There's usually no charge for receiving a direct deposit.
Knowing When Money Arrives
Many banks will allow you to receive text or smartphone app notifications when money is credited to your account. You can also generally check your balance online to see if the money has arrived or call the bank to inquire with a customer service rep or automated phone system. An ATM may also be able to show your transaction history and current balance if your account comes with an ATM card.
Direct Deposit Problems
Statistically, direct deposit is more reliable than paper checks, which can be lost, stolen or damaged. But no system is infallible. Direct deposit problems can occur if someone tries to deposit to your account and doesn't use your correct name, routing number or account number or if your payment is credited to the wrong place, like a savings account instead of a checking account.
If you notice that a direct deposit hasn't arrived on time, you can contact your bank and the organization that sent it to you to see what the problem may be.
Steven Melendez is an independent journalist with a background in technology and business. He has written for a variety of business publications including Fast Company, the Wall Street Journal, Innovation Leader and Ad Age. He was awarded the Knight Foundation scholarship to Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.