Direct deposit is the process of electronically depositing paychecks or government benefit checks directly into your prepaid card or other account. Most employers offer direct deposit. In fact, over 60% of employees in the U.S. are paid through direct deposit. In addition, most large federal benefit programs, such as Social Security and SSI, as well as many state benefit programs offer a direct deposit option.With the prevalence of direct deposit, nearly all prepaid debit cards allow their cardholders to use direct deposit with their prepaid cards. The process is simple, and the benefits easily make it worthwhile.
If you use your prepaid card as a primary method of spending and paying bills, there are a number of benefits to funding your card with direct deposit.
Paper checks can be lost, stolen, or destroyed. If you fund your card with direct deposit, you virtually elimiate these risks.
If you're depositing your check to your prepaid card without direct deposit, you're likely to have to wait in line for check cashing services and then spend additional time to load the cash onto your card. Direct deposit allows you to skip both steps.
With direct deposit, you save the cost of check cashing fees and cash reload fees.
When you use direct deposit, you have much faster access to cash. Banks are required to credit your account by the beginning of the work day with the electronically deposited funds. With direct deposit, you'll receive your pay on pay day, even if you are out of town. With paper checks, the money won't be accessible until you make it to the bank or check cashing service, and banks may hold the deposit until the check clears.
For virtually every card, direct deposit is free. But with some cards, using direct deposit can lower or even eliminate the regular monthly fee charged by the card. For example, the Mango MasterCard (see below) eliminates a monthly fee if you have at least $500 a month added to the card via direct deposit.
With direct deposit, you can deposit your paycheck into multiple prepaid cards and other accounts and control how much money goes into each one.
A handful of cards even pay you a bonus for using direct deposit. For example,
The process of setting up direct deposit for prepaid cards is very similar to setting up direct deposit for a traditional bank account. And as with a traditional bank account, you'll need the bank name, account number and routing number associated with your account. To get this information for your prepaid card, log into your prepaid card account and select the button or link to add money or transfer money. The bank, account number, and routing number for your card will be listed under the option for adding money from a bank account. You should note that the account number is not the number listed on your prepaid card.
Once you have this information, you'll need to follow the direct deposit enrollment process of your employer or government agency. Most employers will require that their direct deposit enrollment form be completed. Several federal benefits programs provide online enrollment for direct deposit; others require over-the-phone enrollment. See the chart below for contact information for 5 of the larger federal benefits programs.
One final note about using direct deposit with prepaid card. Unlike bank accounts, prepaid cards have maximum card limits, so you need to make sure that the direct deposit amount will not cause your balance to be over the card's limit, or the deposit may be rejected. To get prepaid card limits, you can use our Prepaid Card Search Tool.