Banks with Early Direct Deposit of Pay in 2020

Adam Rust

Banks that Offer Early Direct Deposit of Pay

You may have heard that some banks now offer early direct deposit of pay, and if so, your next question might be, "how do I find the banks with early pay?"

Early direct deposit of pay can deliver funds to workers up to 48 hours before payday. Even better, the service is usually free.

plus - costs associated with using the account.

Varo Money Bank Account: Varo does not charge a monthly fee, provides access to a large network of surcharge-free ATMs, and never applies a transaction fee. It even offers free overseas transactions. Also, the company recently established a No Fee Overdraft service.

Axos Bank Essentials Checking. Essentials offers access to pay for qualifying accounts (direct deposit). The product says that account holders may be able to access their pay as soon as two days prior to the normal arrival of their funds. Axos offers some great add-ons, too. Every account comes with unlimited rebates on ATM visits, so you can go to any US-based ATM machine, whenever you want to, for as many times as you would like, without paying a fee. There are no overdraft fees, either. It's another iteration of a fee-free account.

Examples of Banks with Early Direct Deposit of Pay
Picture of card
Picture of card
Early direct deposit of pay is a new feature, offered for the moment by a select group of banks. It's usually free. It's a great option for people who want to have access to their wages as soon as possible.
Prepaid debit cards with early direct deposit of pay

Green Dot: The Green Dot deposit account offers the ASAP Direct Deposit service. Cardholders who receive their paycheck by direct deposit can receive pay up to 2 days early. For those receiving government benefits, funds may be accessible four days early. Green Dot cards charge a monthly maintenance fee of between $7.95. The accounts offer access to free ATMs, no transaction fees. Monthly fees can be waived when customers meet certain conditions, one of which is to direct deposit $500 into your account in the previous month or if you spend $1,000 or more with your prepaid debit card in the prior month. Green Dot's GoBank (technically not a prepaid debit card) offers a similar service.

NetSpend: The NetSpend prepaid debit card charges cardholders a monthly fee of $8.95. The card does not provide access to free ATMs. If you can establish a direct deposit of at least $500, then you can qualify for the NetSpend Premier card account. If you do, then your monthly fee falls to $5, but there are still no free ATMs.

American Express Serve. Note that Serve is a prepaid debit card and not a standard bank account. Nonetheless, Serve customers can access their pay by direct deposit early.

The Walmart MoneyCard: WalMart's prepaid debit card uses Green Dot's back end technology to offer the same suite of early direct deposit services. You can receive your paycheck up to two days early - and you can tap your government benefits as soon as four days earlier with this card. Walmart's version costs less than the Green Dot prepaid card, but more than Varo or Chime. You will pay $5 each month to have the account unless you receive direct deposits totaling at least $1,000. There is also a one-time fee to get the card. The Walmart card does not give access to a fee-free ATM network, but you can usually take out cash at the register.

Neobanks with early direct deposit of pay

Chime Bank: The Chime bank account has no monthly fee, includes access to free ATMs, and does not charge transaction fees.

N26: Initially established in Germany, this digital bank has now rolled out in the United States. It's primarily aimed at millenials. The company posts advertisements inside San Francisco BART cars, for example. N26 offers access up to two days early. N26 is a service provider, not a bank; the actual funds are held in a pooled account at Axos Bank. N26 says the funds do not receive the benefit of FDIC insurance, so be advised.

Current. Issued by Metropolitan Commercial Bank. Current can serve consumers in any state in the United States, but unlike most programs, they define everyone to include teens, too. One nice feature is that they will credit holds on gas purchases immediately.

Stash (debit card issued by Green Dot Bank) is a debit card and an investment service. The standard Stash debit card fits all of our requirements for being best-in-class: no maintenance fees, no overdraft fees, access to a fee-free ATM network, and no transaction fees. They also layer on additional perks through three pay-for-service plans. For example, Stash's Debit Insights can track your spending. A unique feature with its Stash +, Growth, and Beginner plans is the option to earn stock. All the Stash Invest plans come with free financial education and a personal investment account.

Credit Unions with Early Access to Pay

A number of credit unions offer early direct deposit of pay, too. I will mention a few examples below, but it is important to understand that you will have to meet their standards for membership to open one of these accounts. If you are not familiar with these names, then it stands to reason that you will not be approved for an account. If you are familiar with them, then you probably do not need to read this blog, as you will already have received a direct communication from your CU with news of this option.

United States Federal Credit Union: Available to employees of several federal agencies. USFCU has several checking account options. One has no monthly fee while another waives the monthly fee for customers who maintain monthly balance of at least $2,000.

Hanscom Federal Credit Union: Most of their accounts are free, with exception of Premier Checking. However, Premier Checking's $9.95 fee can be waived by meeting an average daily balance requirement.

Freedom First Credit Union. Freedom First has three accounts. The Freedom Stash account pays 5 percent on balances. A caveat is that a person has to make a direct deposit of at least $1,000 every month to avoid the $9 monthly maintenance fee.

US Senate Federal Credit Union

OneUnited: Sign up for OneUnited Bank's BankBlack Early Pay program once you have activated the card and completed your direct deposit form.

iQ Credit Union. A reader of this blog let me know about iQ. iQ's checking account is fairly tech-centric. The CU even offers instant issue debit cards inside its branches. iQ serves members in southwest Washington and Portland.

Credit Unions with Early Access to Military Pay

Langley Federal Credit Union. (up to three days early) Langley has joined the AllPoint ATM network, so although their branches are located in the Norfolk/Newport News metro area, you can access cash throughout the country.

Andrews Federal Credit Union (one day early) (DC, MD, VA, NJ, and some military installations in Europe). AFCU credits all accounts one day early, as a standard business practice.

Navy Federal Credit Union: Of the five checking accounts offered by NFCU, only its Active Duty Checking account comes with the option to receive pay, and only one day early.

How Does Early Direct Deposit of Pay work? 

To get early direct deposit, you have to find the right bank. Your employer will not have to change its banking relationship and neither will its payroll processing service. The system works based on messages sent between your employer's payroll service and your bank. I have provided a list of eight of the best accounts that offer early direct deposit of pay. It is up to you to find the one you prefer! Contact me if you have any questions - I'm happy to answer.

Nonetheless, they all work in a fairly similar manner. The accounts wait for a signal from the company that processes your employer's payroll. Typically, the payroll company sends a message to the worker's bank via the Federal Reserve ("FedACH") or The Clearing House network. The message will be sent in advance of payday. People in the payments industry refer to this process as "clearing." You should think of it as a communication from the processor to your bank to expect funds to arrive. The payroll company does this early so that you can have access to your funds as soon as the money hits your account. You can only withdraw your money after it has "settled." It takes some time for money to go from your employer's bank to your bank through the ACH system. Recently, the industry created a new, faster form of ACH, but most companies still prefer to use the slower process, if only out of habit or because it costs several cents less. The process hinges on your use of direct deposit. All banks will insist on direct deposit to offer the service, as they have no other means of accomplishing the task otherwise. Some banks will place additional conditions. Some may make you wait until the bank sees a regular delivery of the direct deposit to your account. Others, such as Axos, let you start immediately. Axos is an exception, however. Most will ask you to turn the service on before they run your payment earlier.

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Read more about early direct deposit of pay here.

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Adam Rust has worked to defend consumers against harmful financial practices since 2005. He has written extensively about overdraft fees, payday lending, credit insurance, student loans, prepaid debit cards, high-cost installment loans, and subprime mortgage lending. He serves on the Board of the US Faster Payments Council. He is Director of Research at Reinvestment Partners in Durham, North Carolina. He is the author of BankTalk. He is the author of "This is My Home: Challenges and Opportunities of Manufactured Housing" and has testified to Congress on how to redress some of the problems with manufactured housing. See more on his LinkedIn profile.