How to Set Up Direct Deposit

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How to Set Up Direct DepositIn addition to our “Comprehensive” and “Collaborative” service levels, we also offer some of our services in a “Do-It-Yourself” service level that has a lower annual fee and no minimum. Basic services include asset allocation design and portfolio management using Schwab’s Institutional Intelligent Portfolios, an automated investment management platform. Some additional services are available for an additional charge.

Direct deposit can be established via most income streams be they a paycheck from your employer, your Social Security check, or even your pension deposit. Most of these just require acquiring a form and filling it out with the same basic information:

  • Name of Institution
  • Account Number (this is normally your 8-digit number plus additional institution-specific numbers on the front)
  • Routing Number
  • Account Type

The easiest way to get this information is simply to void a check.

If you are a Schwab client who has check writing turned on for the relevant account, the fourth page of your deposit slips booklet should be a “Direct Deposit Form” which has all the relevant information needed by your payroll department.

If you don’t have this form, you can also void a check (making it information only and useless for withdrawals) by writing “VOID” in large letters across the face of it. This can also serve to provide your payroll department with all the necessary information.

If you don’t have any checks or deposit slips, you can follow the steps at “Charles Schwab: How to Order More Checks or Deposit Slips” to order some more or (if you are a Schwab client) you can get the information you need from Schwab Alliance.

After logging in to Schwab Alliance at, under the Accounts tab, click on “Transfers & Payments” and then scroll to the bottom and click on the “Direct Deposit” link. On the page that loads, select the appropriate account in the blue drop down menu. Then, the information you are looking for is under the heading “Direct Deposit and sending money to a Schwab account.” At the bottom of that section is a link to create “Printable information to give to your employer.” This generates a PDF with direct deposit information for the account selected.

If your account does not have check writing, simply call your custodian and ask for the information. Say, “I’m filling out a direct deposit form for my savings account. I need some information for the form. Can you provide me with that information?”

Once you have the information, you can set up your paycheck or pension by asking your Human Resources department for the direct deposit form and fill out the paperwork. Each employer will have a slightly different set of paperwork depending on the payroll service they utilize.

If your employer offers direct deposit, then they are able to place your paycheck or a portion of your paycheck directly into one or more accounts. This is a trick you can use to automate your savings utilizing the strategy in “The Complete Guide to Automating Your Savings.”

For a federal benefit, the federal government so desperately wants everyone to utilize direct deposit that they have a whole website, GoDirect.Gov, devoted to helping governmental benefit recipients sign up for direct deposit. However, if you are already receiving your benefit payment by direct deposit and would like to have your payments sent to a different account, you need to work with the federal agency or agencies that pay your benefits. That means going to Social Security directly.

The easiest way to do that is to bring the aforementioned information to your local Social Security office and get a representative to help you fill out the paperwork. If that doesn’t work for you, you can also call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 or login to your mySocialSecurity account to change your direct deposit options online.

The best way to ensure that you save and invest is to automate the process. For your savings plan, I would recommend that you implement a savings strategy called “The Automatic Millionaire” starting with direct deposits. An article by David Marotta called “Pay Yourself First” describes it fully.

Photo by Tom Holmes on Unsplash
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Chief Operating Officer, APMA®

Megan Russell has worked with Marotta Wealth Management most of her life. She loves to find ways to make the complexities of financial planning accessible to everyone. She is the author of over 700 financial articles. Her most popular post is "The Complete Guide to Your Washing Machine" while one of her favorites is "Funding a 3-Year-Old’s Roth IRA."