Direct deposit your coronavirus stimulus check: How to set up the payment with the IRS


To get your stimulus payment as quickly as possible, set up direct deposit with the IRS.

Angela Lang/CNET

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The first wave of checks are already on their way to US residents who qualify for a coronavirus stimulus payment of up to $1,200 and already had direct deposit set up with the IRS. If you haven’t set up direct deposit yet, there’s still time for you to get your payment faster than through snail mail. The IRS has an online web portal, called Get My Payment, to help you get your stimulus relief payment quicker.

We’ll outline the setup process below — and what happens if you get an error message — but first, a little more information. When you use Get My Payment, the government will automatically send the economic stimulus payment to your account in several days. Priority goes to people who already had this set up. If you don’t have direct deposit set up, you’ll still get the payment allotted to you, but it will take longer to arrive and will come as a check in the mail. (Here’s what we know about tracking your IRS stimulus money.)

Here’s what you need to set up direct deposit with the IRS and get your stimulus check sent to your bank account.

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How to set up direct deposit for your stimulus check

To get started with Get My Payment portal, you may need your 2019 tax return if you’ve filed, as well as your 2018 return. Because of high demand on, you may need to wait until it’s your turn to access the tool. If you get an error message, see the next section.

1. Head to the IRS’ Get My Payment page and tap the blue Get My Payment button to set up direct deposit for your economic impact payment. 

2. On the next page about authorized use tap OK.

3. On the Get My Payment page, enter your social security number (SSN) or individual tax ID (ITIN), your date or birth, your street address and your ZIP or postal code.

If the IRS has your direct deposit information, you’ll see a page giving you the status of your payment. If it doesn’t and you are eligible for a check, you can enter your bank account’s routing number and account number (scroll down for how to find these numbers) to have the government send your check to your bank account.

What happens if I get an error message or the IRS doesn’t tell me my payment status?

If the screen flashes “status unknown,” “please try again later” or another message whose meaning is unclear, the IRS has a list of message explanations to help you puzzle out your specific situation.

For example, here’s what the IRS says if it can’t supply your payment status:

If the information you enter does not match our records multiple times, you will be locked out of Get My Payment for 24 hours for security reasons. If you are unable to verify your identity, you will not be able to use Get My Payment. No action is needed to contact the IRS.

If you verified your identity and received “Payment Status Not Available,” this means we cannot determine your eligibility for a payment at this time. This may occur for a variety of reasons, for example, if you didn’t file either a 2018 or 2019 tax return or you recently filed and the return has not been fully processed.

What will the IRS need from me to set up direct deposit?

You’ll want to have at hand your bank account’s 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. For Bank of America, for example, log into your account, select the account you want to use and then tap the Information & Services tab to see the numbers you need.

Banking app: If your bank has an app, it may show you your account and routing numbers. In the Bank of America’s BofA app, for example, tap the account you want to use and then scroll to the bottom of the app window to see your clearly labeled 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 — which you don’t use to set up direct deposit — is the check number.

It’s not too late to include your banking information with your tax returns, if you haven’t filed yet

The IRS said if you’ve not filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019 yet, you should file as soon as you can and include your direct deposit banking information on the return. Here’s what to know about coronavirus and your taxes.

When will the check go out?

By April 15, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said more than 80 million Americans who had set up direct deposit with the IRS will receive their stimulus checks. And those who set up direct deposit through the Get My Payment portal will receive their checks in several days, he added. You can have the the government send the money to other payment services, like Cash app or a PayPal account.

While you’re waiting for your check to arrive, here’s how to avoid being scammed. And after you receive it, here are some ideas for how to spend your stimulus check. If you’re still struggling after getting the check, here’s how to get financial help to pay your bills.

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