How to Read a Check for Banking Information for Direct Deposit

Employers who pay via direct deposit often issue pay vouchers for employee records.

Employers who pay via direct deposit often issue pay vouchers for employee records.

Direct deposit is the ultimate in convenience. No longer do you have to worry about losing or misplacing your paper check, rushing to get your money in the bank or waiting in long lines for a teller to process your deposit. Direct deposit also gives you the option of other time-savers such as automatically splitting funds from your paycheck into different accounts. According to Electronic Payments.org, three out of four working Americans are sold on direct deposit and use it. Of those who use the service, 97 percent are satisfied with the results. Once you provide a few pieces of information to your employer and allow the service time to kick in, you can enjoy the benefits of direct deposit.

Examine the direct deposit paperwork to see what you need. For example, you may need to attach a voided check to the paperwork to designate the account where you want your funds to land.

Write down your personal information -- name and address -- that match the check's information on the direct deposit form. Check the box or fill in the blank on the paperwork to note if your account is checking or savings, if applicable.

Look at the face of one of your checks and find your bank's routing number. The routing number begins on the lower left side of the check. The first two numbers must be 01 to 12 or 21 to 32.

Look at the number to the right of the routing number, which is your bank account number. Your account number -- depending on the financial institution -- can be up to 17 characters. Write the account number in the proper space on the direct deposit form.

Sign and date the form, if needed. Read the information on the paperwork to find out where to submit the forms.

Items you will need

  • Voided check


  • Write "VOID" across the face of the check you attach to the direct deposit form to prevent anyone from using it to draw funds.
  • Direct deposit isn't instant. You may have to wait one to two pay periods for results. Until then, your employer will pay you with a paper check.
  • If you receive a federal check from government branches such as the Veterans Administration or Social Security, you can arrange for direct deposit over the phone. All you need is your account number and bank's routing number. Don't expect government agencies to send you a voucher. You'll have to confirm the deposit with your bank each month.


  • When writing your account number on the direct deposit form, do not add your check number. Your check number follows the account number and is also located in the upper right corner of the check. There's usually a space between the account number and check number.

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About the Author

Based in Texas, Cynthia Measom has been writing various parenting, business and finance and education articles since 2011. Her articles have appeared on websites such as The Bump and Motley Fool. Measom received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Texas at Austin.

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