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Best banks for early direct deposit in 2022

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Everyone looks forward to payday — and if it arrives early, all the better.

Direct deposit makes getting paid fast and easy since the money appears in your bank account automatically, without needing to go to a bank. Some banks allow you to receive deposits even faster — by up to two days — through early direct deposit.

Customers at a bank that offers early direct deposit may receive their paychecks through direct deposit on Wednesdays, for example, while those with a traditional bank won’t see their money before Friday, a typical payday.

Getting expedited access to a direct deposit can help avert late payments on bills or more easily avoid overdraft fees by ensuring an account has ample funds. Many banks offer accounts that feature early direct deposit feature — and the list is growing.

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Axos Bank

Bank overview

Axos Bank is an online-only bank that offers checking, savings and money market accounts, as well as certificates of deposit.

Its Essential Checking account features direct deposit express, an early direct deposit service.

The account also charges no overdraft or nonsufficient funds fees, a boon for consumers looking to avoid traditional bank fees, which can add up. NSF fees averaged $33.58 last year, according to Bankrate’s 2021 checking account and ATM fee study.

Axos also reimburses all domestic ATM fees on three of its five checking accounts, including the Essential Checking account.

Pros

  • The Essential Checking account charges no overdraft or monthly fees.
  • Customers get unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements with the Essential Checking account, as well as the Rewards Checking and Cashback Checking accounts.

Con

  • Direct deposit express is only available with Essential Checking, one of five checking accounts Axos offers.

Chime

Bank overview

Chime is a fintech company that partners with The Bancorp Bank and Stride Bank to offer banking products, including online checking and savings accounts that are backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

The Chime Checking Account charges no monthly fees and requires no minimum balance. It offers up to two days early access to direct deposits, along with access to more than 60,000 surcharge-free ATMs.

The account also rounds up debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and then transfers the money into a Chime Savings Account — a savings tool some account holders may find useful.

Chime also allows its customers to overdraw their accounts by up to $200 without an overdraft fee. Chime charges no foreign transaction fees either.

Pros

  • The checking account comes with no monthly fees or overdraft fees.
  • Customers have access to over 60,000 fee-free ATMs.
  • If early direct deposit isn’t enough to cover certain expenses, Chime spots customers up to $200 without a fee.

Con

  • Customers are limited to $500 in cash withdrawals a day.

Current

Bank overview

Current, another fintech company, offers an account that can be used for spending or for building up Savings Pods. Early direct deposit is one of several features that comes with a Current account.

Current account holders also get cash back and earn points, with access to 24/7 support in its app or online contact form.

Customers who receive direct deposits can take advantage of Current’s Overdrive service, which spots up to $200 in overdrafts with no fee.

Though Current has branches, customers can deposit cash into their accounts at more than 60,000 retailers, including CVS Pharmacy, 7-Eleven, Dollar General and Family Dollar. A $3.50 fee applies for each transaction.

Pros

  • No-fee overdrafts are spotted up to $200.
  • Customers can deposit cash to the account at over 60,000 stores.

Con

  • Customers must have a track record of successful transactions to qualify for instant direct deposits.

Freedom First

Bank overview

Freedom First is a National Credit Union Administration-backed credit union that offers three checking accounts: Freedom Checking, Freedom Cash and Freedom Stash. All three come with early direct deposit and offer access to mobile deposited checks in as little as 15 minutes.

Freedom Stash pays a much higher, competitive yield on balances up to $10,000 on accounts with more than $5,000 a month in direct deposits and provides four ATM fee refunds each month.

In addition to checking accounts, the credit union also offers savings accounts, share certificates (the credit union version of certificates of deposit) and money market accounts.

Membership to Freedom First is open to those who live, work, worship, attend school or own businesses in 10 cities and all or part of 23 counties in central Virginia.

Pros

  • Freedom First reimburses fees for two ATM transactions for members with at least $1,000 in direct deposits a month, or four refunds for those with at least $5,000 in monthly direct deposits.
  • Members can earn top-tier yields on a Freedom Stash account when the direct deposit minimum is met.

Cons

  • Many of the checking account perks, including four ATM refunds and high yields, are available only to accounts that receive a minimum $5,000 in monthly direct deposits.
  • Freedom Stash and Freedom Cash accounts are subject to a $9 monthly fee, which is waived when the direct deposit minimums are met.

OneUnited Bank

Bank overview

OneUnited Bank is the first Black-owned online bank and the largest Black-owned bank in the U.S. It offers several checking account products, including a no-fee Black Wall Street Checking account and a second-chance account, U2 E-Checking.

Consumers who have a OneUnited checking account are automatically enrolled in the bank’s early direct deposit feature, BankBlack Early Pay, after receiving two to three directly deposited paychecks.

OneUnited offers an automatic savings feature, which can be used between OneUnited accounts or with an external linked checking account. The tool rounds up each transaction and moves the extra change to a savings account.

The Black Wall Street Checking account charges no monthly service fee. Both checking accounts provide customers access to more than 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs and require just $25 to open.

Pros

  • OneUnited Bank’s savings account comes with an automatic savings feature, which automatically rounds up transactions.
  • Those who have a negative report in ChexSystems may open up a second-chance checking account with OneUnited Bank.

Con

  • The U2 E-Checking second-chance account charges a $12 monthly maintenance fee.

LendingClub Bank

Bank overview

LendingClub bank, formerly Radius Bank, offers personal checking accounts, a high-yield savings account and CDs. The Rewards Checking account helps customers maximize their savings by earning cash back on qualified purchases, and it provides early access to direct deposited paychecks.

Account holders also receive unlimited ATM fee rebates and are charged no fee to use an out-of-network ATM.

Rewards Checking customers also receive their first order of checks free.

Pros

  • There are no monthly fees or ATM fees for the Rewards Checking account.
  • Customers earn cash back on qualifying purchases.

Con

  • Customers must have at least $2,500 in an Rewards Checking account or receive at least $2,500 in direct deposits a month to qualify for cash back rewards.

Varo Bank

Bank overview

Varo Bank, a challenger bank, offers early direct deposit through its checking account, which has no monthly fees or minimum requirement.

Varo Advance, a checking account feature, allows customers with active accounts opened for at least 30 days to get up to $100 as a cash advance through Varo Bank’s app. The advance must be paid back within a month and a $0-$5 fee applies, depending on the amount taken out.

Varo’s checking account provides access to more than 55,000 Allpoint ATMs and charges no foreign transaction fees.

Pros

  • There are no monthly fees, overdraft fees or foreign transaction fees for Varo accounts.
  • Customers are able to take a cash advance of up to $200.
  • The Varo Bank debit card earns cash back.

Cons

  • A fee is charged on cash advances of $50 or more.
  • A $2.50 out-of-network ATM fee applies to non-Allpoint ATM transactions.

Capital One

Bank overview

Customers of Capital One can get their paychecks early by opening a 360 Checking interest-bearing account and signing up for direct deposit.

The 360 Checking account has no monthly fees and charges no overdraft fee, following Capital One’s decision in December 2021 to eliminate overdraft fees.

In addition to digital access to their accounts, customers also have available a network of more than 70,000 fee-free ATMs and the ability to deposit cash in CVS stores. Capital One also operates more than 330 branches and about 50 Capital One Cafés.

Pros

  • The bank’s 360 Checking account charges no monthly fees, overdraft fees or fees to use more than 70,000 ATMs.
  • The 360 Checking account earns interest.
  • Branch banking is available.

Cons

  • None.

Fifth Third Bank

Bank overview

Customers who have a Fifth Third Momentum Checking account automatically are enrolled in early direct deposit. When the deposit posts to the account, the bank sends a mobile notification through its mobile app.

In addition to early direct deposit, Fifth Third Bank also offers cash advances through its MyAdvance service. Customers can utilize MyAdvance to take an advance of $50-$1,000. A fee of 3 to 5 percent, depending on how long the customer has been enrolled, is assessed on all advances.

The bank charges a $37 overdraft fee, which is higher than average. The fee can be avoided using the Fifth Third Extra Time feature, which provides additional time to make a deposit to cover the overdraft and avert the fee. The deposit to cover the overdraft must be made by midnight the next business day.

Pros

  • The Fifth Third Momentum Checking account has no minimum balance requirement and no monthly fee.
  • You’ll get an alert for when early direct deposits are made.
  • Customers have access to the MyAdvance service, which can also help cover expenses ahead of a paycheck.

Cons

  • Cash advances through MyAdvance come with a fee.
  • The $37 overdraft fee is higher than average, though it can be waived when a deposit is made by midnight the next business day.

Wisely

Bank overview

Wisely is a fintech company that offers debit cards specifically designed for consumers to manage their paychecks and income.

There are two debit card options available — one is available for general consumers, and the other is an employer-provided debit card. Both allow customers to receive direct deposits up to two days early.

To be eligible for early direct deposit, customers must upgrade their Wisely accounts, which requires passing an extra verification process, but there is no fee for upgrading.

Other features that come with a Wisely debit card include cash back on eligible purchases, a “savings envelope” for storing extra cash and access to over 80,000 fee-free ATMs.

Pros

  • Customers can get cash back rewards on purchases with participating retailers.
  • The debit card comes with access to over 80,000 fee-free ATMs.
  • Wisely charges no overdraft fees.

Cons

  • Customers must first upgrade their accounts and pass an extra verification process to get early direct deposits, and not everyone is eligible.
  • To transfer money between other accounts, a third-party service is required.

Bankrate’s best banks for early direct deposit in 2022

Bank Checking account name APY Monthly fee
Axos Bank Rewards Checking Up to 1.25% APY None
Chime Spending Account N/A None
Current Current account N/A None
Freedom First Freedom Stash 0.18%-5.00% APY* $0-$9
OneUnited Bank Black Wall Street Checking N/A None
LendingClub Rewards Checking 0.10%-0.15% APY** None
Varo Money Bank Account N/A None
Capital One 360 Checking 0.10% APY None
Fifth Third Bank Momentum Checking N/A None
Wisely Wisely account N/A None

*A monthly direct deposit of at least $1,000 is required to waive the $9 monthly account fee. A direct deposit of $5,000 is required to earn 5 percent APY, which is paid on balances up to $10,000. Average daily balances of $10,000 to $1 million earn 0.3% APY. Accounts with a monthly direct deposit of at least $1,000 earn 0.5 percent APY on balances up to $10,000 and 0.18 percent APY on balances of more than $10,000 up to $1 million.

**APY is 0.1 percent on balances $2,500-$99,999.99 and 0.15 percent on balances of $100,000 or more.

Note: Annual percentage yields (APYs) shown are as of May 10, 2022. Bankrate’s editorial team updates this information regularly, typically biweekly. APYs may have changed since they were last updated. The rates for some products may vary by region.

What is direct deposit?

Direct deposit is a service in which checks are automatically deposited into consumers’ bank accounts. Enrolling in direct deposit typically requires the account holder to complete a form, either online, at a branch or at their employer (for payroll deposits).

Usually, it can take a couple of days for direct deposit to process and appear in an account after payment has been initiated. With early direct deposit, however, the money becomes available as soon as it is sent to the bank, up to two days earlier than it typically takes.

Getting a paycheck early is one advantage of early direct deposit, but it also means getting other kinds of payments quicker, including federal and state tax refunds and Social Security or other government benefit payments.

The Pros and Cons of early direct deposit

Pros

  • Consumers can get their paychecks early to help cover bills or other expenses on time.
  • Having funds in advance can prevent consumers from incurring overdraft fees on expenses made before payday.
  • Early direct deposit can also help you get a tax refund or other government-issued check faster.

Cons

  • Not all checking accounts come with early direct deposit, so you may need to open a new account to take advantage of this feature. Watch out for monthly fees that can come with some checking accounts.
  • Early deposits may encourage consumers to spend their money faster, rather than practice saving habits.

How do banks process paychecks early?

The sender of a direct deposit — such as an employer — submits files to the Federal Reserve that provide information about the amount to be paid to the receiver.

After the Federal Reserve alerts the bank of the direct deposit submission, most banks hold onto the funds until the date specified by the sender. But banks that offer early direct deposit post the funds to the receiver’s account as soon as the bank gets the direct deposit files. These funds can be posted up to two days earlier than they would be without the early deposit.

–Staff writer Matthew Goldberg contributed to a previous version of this article.

Written by
René Bennett
Banking writer
René Bennett is a writer for Bankrate, reporting on banking products and personal finance.
Edited by
Wealth editor