Stimulus checks will go to direct deposit accounts first. Can you still sign up with the IRS?

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Don’t have a direct deposit account on file with the IRS? We’ll help you get started.

Angela Lang/CNET

If you’re looking for the third check to arrive in your bank account starting this weekend, we have good news and possibly bad news. First the good: The payments in this initial wave are already showing up in bank accounts for those who had direct deposit information set up with the IRS. The less-good news: It’s not clear the IRS will let you provide your banking information to receive your payment electronically, if the agency doesn’t already have your information on hand.

You have a good reason to want your payment to go straight to your bank account: With the first two rounds of payments, the IRS and US Treasury prioritized payments to people with direct deposit information on file, and Congress has tasked them to do the same with the third check. (Here’s how to calculate your new payment.) So what happens if you’re qualified for a check but don’t have direct deposit set up?

With the first check, the IRS let you add banking information through its Get My Payment tool. For the second check, the agency didn’t accept new or updated direct deposit information. With the third stimulus check starting to arrive this weekend but the Get My Payment tool not open yet for the third check, here’s what we expect to happen, and everything you should know about direct deposit payments. This story has been updated with new information.

Will the IRS let me sign up to receive the third payment as a direct deposit?

You can already register for direct deposit when you submit your federal taxes this year, and some people are reporting that the IRS did use the banking information they supplied on this year’s taxes to send the the third payment.

What’s unclear is if the IRS will let you add or update banking information as it did with the first payment last spring. For the first check, the IRS created an online Get My Payment tool and let those who were eligible add direct deposit details to receive their payments straight to their bank accounts. The IRS shut down the direct deposit registration feature on May 15, 2020, and didn’t turn it back on for the second checks, when the agency had just over two weeks to complete making payments. 

The new bill tasks the IRS and US Treasury with sending the new stimulus checks out “electronically” as appropriate. On Friday, the IRS said it’ll “use data already in its systems to send the third stimulus payments. Taxpayers with direct deposit information on file will receive the payment that way. Those without current direct deposit information on file will receive the payment as a check or debit card in the mail.” We’ve reached out to the IRS for clarification.

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Stimulus check 3: How much money you’ll get


Why would I want to use direct deposit to get my stimulus check money?

Over 75% with the first round and more than 80% with the second payments were distributed through direct deposit. During the first stimulus check round, the IRS encouraged people who didn’t have direct deposit on file with the agency to sign up for d4 extreme weight loss pills reviews direct deposit anyway. The agency said these people could still receive their checks faster even if they signed up “late” compared to waiting for a mailed check.

What information does the IRS need to set up a new direct deposit account?

If the IRS does accept new banking information for the third check through its Get My Payment tool, you’ll want to have on hand your bank account type and routing and account numbers. You have several ways to find this banking information.

Banking website: Your bank’s website may show your routing and account numbers. Log in to the account you want to use and look around for the numbers you need.

Banking app: If your bank has an app, it may show you your account and routing numbers. In the app, tap the account you want to use to see the account and routing numbers.

Printed check: At the bottom of your check you most likely will see three sets of numbers: The first set of nine numbers is your routing number. The second set of 8 to 12 numbers is your account number. The third set is the one you don’t need for direct deposit, as it’s the number of the individual check.

Check this IRS page for more help with locating your routing and account numbers.


You may want to set up direct deposit with the IRS if you don’t have it already in place.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Am I guaranteed to get my stimulus check through direct deposit?

If you already have direct deposit set up with the IRS, the agency said it will use that information to make your payment. For the first and second checks, however, some reported receiving their payments in the mail, either as a paper check or EIP card through the mail, even if the IRS did have their bank details. The vast majority of the first and second payments did go out via electronic transfer. You can track your payment using the IRS payment status tool.

If you needed any motivation to send in your tax returns early, the IRS said it will use your most recent federal tax forms it’s processed when determining the amount of your third payment. If you’ve included your banking information when you filed, the IRS may use that when sending your payment. It’s a gamble that the IRS will process your new filing by the time it gets to your name, but that’s still a possibility.

What if there’s a problem with direct deposit?

This could happen. With the earlier payments, the IRS experienced problems sending stimulus payments for millions of people who use tax preparation software like TurboTax and Jackson Hewitt. Now that the IRS is sending the third checks in the middle of tax season, this could become an issue again.

How would the IRS would have gotten my banking details for the third check?

The IRS has several ways to find your banking information.

  • You filed a tax return in 2019 or 2020 and received a refund by direct deposit.
  • You already filed your tax forms this year and provided the IRS with your banking information.

  • You registered your banking information for the first check through the IRS’ Get My Payment online tool.
  • You provided bank information through the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool if you don’t typically file taxes.
  • From another federal agency who issues benefits to you, such as Social Security Administration, Veteran Affairs or Railroad Retirement Board.
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In general, you’ll get your money faster through direct deposit than with a paper check.

Stephen Shankland/CNET

What happens if my banking details have changed for direct deposit?

With the first stimulus checks, you could use the Get My Payment and Non-Filers tools to provide the IRS with your banking information. The IRS had said, however, it does not allow people to change the direct deposit information for a stimulus payment it has on file. This is a safeguard against fraud. 

With the second checks, the IRS did not accepting new or changed banking information. If the IRS attempts to make a payment to now-closed bank account, the financial institution must return the payment to the IRS, the agency said. The agency has not said how it will handle banking changes with the third check.

If you’ve moved, you can provide the IRS with your new mailing address.

Do I need to have a bank account to get my check by direct deposit?

According to the Urban Institute, people with bank accounts and direct deposit (who are disproportionately white) were more likely to get their first stimulus check by the end of May than people who identify as Black, Hispanic or were below the poverty line. This was directly tied to groups who were more likely to have banking accounts and who filed that information with the IRS to facilitate direct deposit tax returns.

Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and several other large banks now offer more affordable checkless bank accounts as part of a program to make it easier for people to get bank accounts. 

For more on the checks, here’s when the IRS will start sending the third checks, how much you could qualify for with this payment and how to track your payment with the IRS.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

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