How to Set Up Direct Deposit to a Prepaid Debit Card :

Most reloadable prepaid debit cards accept direct deposit of payroll checks and government benefits. And setting up direct deposit is easy. Here we show you the benefits of and how to set up direct deposit to a prepaid debit card.

Paycheck with "Direct Deposit" stamp

Direct deposit is electronically depositing a paycheck or government benefit check directly into your prepaid card or bank account. Most employers offer it.

According to a survey by the Electronic Payments Association, 82% of U.S. workers are paid via 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 transfer funds to their account via direct deposit. The process is simple, and the benefits easily make it worthwhile.

Benefits of Using Direct Deposit with Your Prepaid Card

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.

Safety and Security

Paper checks can be lost, stolen, or destroyed. If you fund your card with direct deposit, you virtually eliminate these risks.

Save Time

If you’re depositing your check to your prepaid card without direct deposit, you will likely have to wait in line for check cashing services. Then you’ll spend additional time to load the cash onto your card. Direct deposit allows you to skip both steps.

Save Money

With direct deposit, you save the cost of check cashing fees and cash reload fees. We’ve yet to encounter a reloadable prepaid card that charges a fee for direct deposit.

Faster Access to Cash

When you use direct deposit, you have faster access to cash. Banks are required to credit your account by the beginning of the workday with the electronically deposited funds. With direct deposit, you’ll receive your pay on payday, 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.

Lower Prepaid Card Fees

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 Brink's Prepaid Mastercard® reduces the regular monthly fee to $5.00 when you load $500 or more per month to the card.

The lowers its monthly fee to $5.95 for a direct deposit of any amount.

Deposit to Multiple Cards and Accounts

With direct deposit, you can deposit your paycheck into multiple prepaid cards and other accounts and control how much money goes into each one. The flexibility can help you set aside money toward an emergency fund or large purchase.

Bonus from Your Prepaid Card

A handful of cards even pay you a bonus for using direct deposit. For example,

How To Set Up Direct Deposit with a Reloadable Prepaid Card

The process of setting up direct deposit for prepaid cards is very similar to setting up direct deposit for a traditional bank account. Here it’s important to make sure you have a reloadable prepaid debit card. Gift cards, store value cards and the like are not reloadable.

With a reloadable prepaid debit card, you’ll need three pieces of information to set up direct deposit:

  • bank name
  • account number
  • 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.

Important: The account number is not the number listed on the front of your prepaid debit 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 you to complete their direct deposit enrollment form.

Several federal benefits programs provide online enrollment for direct deposit. Others require over-the-phone enrollment. See the chart below for contact information for five of the larger federal benefits programs.

Federal Benefits Programs with Direct Deposit
Federal Benefits With Direct DepositDirect Deposit Setup
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)Online: Not Available
By Phone: 1-800-772-1213
Say “Direct Deposit”
Social Security (SSA)Online:
Choose My Profile
By Phone: 1-800-772-1213
Say “Direct Deposit”
Veterans Compensation and PensionsOnline:
Log in and choose Manage Profile
By Phone: 1-877-838-2778>
Say “Direct Deposit”
Railroad RetirementOnline: Not Available
By Phone: 1-877-772-5772
Civil Service RetirementOnline: Not Available
By Phone: 1-888-767-6738

One final note about using direct deposit with a prepaid debit 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 go over the card’s limit. Otherwise, the prepaid card may reject the direct deposit.

To get prepaid card limits, you can use our Prepaid Card Search Tool.

Author: Mike Clark
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