Guide to Paying Online With a Checking Account

You can pay with a checking account online, provided a company accepts this payment form. Many do, such as Amazon and Walmart. This can be a welcome convenience if you are trying to pay down or avoid credit card debt.

However, some online retailers don’t allow checking accounts as payment methods, so workarounds may be required in order to complete your transaction. Here’s how to shop online with a checking account and what to do if a business doesn’t support this form of payment.

Can You Pay Online With a Checking Account?

Shoppers can pay online with a checking account when online retailers accept this form of payment. Not all businesses accept checking accounts as a payment method on their websites. Many online retailers may only take credit cards or payment apps, so it’s important to check the website for accepted forms of payment.

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!


Where Can You Pay With Your Checking Account Online?

You can pay online with your checking account when a company’s website accepts it as a valid form of payment. For example, Amazon allows checking accounts as a payment option for purchases. So too does Walmart. Some companies may also accept electronic checks.

Recommended: Reasons to Open a Checking Account

How to Shop Online With Your Checking Account

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to shop online and pay with a checking account:

Find a Retailer That Accepts Checking Accounts

Start by finding an online retailer that accepts checking account payments. Some retailers don’t take payments this way, so it’s essential to double-check the website’s FAQ page, review checkout options, or chat with a customer service representative about payment options.

Verify Website Security

Before proceeding with your purchase, it’s crucial to ensure the website is secure. Look for the reassuring “https://” at the beginning of the URL and a padlock icon in the address bar. This signifies that the website encrypts data during transmission, providing a secure environment for your payment details. Additionally, the website’s privacy policy should explicitly state its commitment to protecting your payment information, further enhancing your sense of security.

Access Your Checking Account Information

To proceed smoothly, make sure you have your checking account information at hand. This includes your account number and routing number, which you can find on your checks or by logging into your bank account online. The routing number is always nine digits, while bank account numbers are typically from eight to 12 digits (but can be as long as 17), depending on your bank. Also, ensure you have sufficient funds in your checking account to cover the purchase amount.

Shop and Check Out

Add the items to your cart that you want to purchase, and proceed to checkout. When you reach the payment section, select the option to pay with a checking account or electronic check. These options may also be called “ACH” or “eCheck” when you go to pay.

Enter Your Account Information

When entering your checking account information, do so accurately. This usually includes typing in your account number, routing number, and sometimes the name on the account. You may also have to submit your address for additional identification information. Take a moment to double-check the information to avoid any potential errors.

Complete the Purchase

After entering your checking account details, review your order summary, and verify the total purchase amount. Once you’re satisfied, confirm the payment to complete the transaction. Depending on the retailer, you may receive a confirmation email and/or see an order confirmation page.

Monitor Your Account

After making the purchase, keep an eye on your checking account activity to ensure the correct amount has been deducted. Most retailers process payments within a few business days, so the deduction may not appear immediately.

You may also see a small charge — usually a few dollars — on your account from the merchant. Some online retailers issue this charge and immediately refund it to check if the bank account information is valid.

Pros and Cons of Paying Online With Your Checking Account

Paying with a checking account when shopping online has specific perks and drawbacks you should consider alongside your financial circumstances.

Pros:

•   Using a checking account can be a valuable option if you don’t have or want to use a credit card or debit card to shop online.

•   For some people, it can be easier to manage a budget using their checking account.

•   Online shopping with a checking account could potentially be cheaper, depending on what fees are assessed on different methods.

•   Unlike credit cards, you must have sufficient cash in your checking account to complete a purchase. This requirement can prevent you from impulse buying and going into debt.

Cons:

•   Many online retailers don’t take checking account information for payments, meaning you’ll need a credit card, debit card, or payment app to make online purchases.

•   Insufficient funds in your checking account can lead to overdraft fees and rejected transactions.

•   Checking accounts usually don’t offer the cash back rewards you can earn from using credit and debit cards,

•   Credit cards often have robust purchase protection policies, helping to secure you against fraud.

Alternatives to Using Your Checking Account to Pay for Online Shopping

Several alternatives to paying with a checking account online are available for shoppers. Each has different benefits and considerations, so it’s wise to choose the option that best fits your needs and preferences.

•   Debit cards: Debit cards connect to your checking account and can be used to make purchases online, just like credit cards. They deduct funds directly from your checking account after you make a purchase. Debit cards offer convenience and security, but you’ll need to monitor your account balance to avoid overdraft fees. Most online retailers accept this payment option. However, debit cards may not offer the same purchase protections that credit cards do.

•   Prepaid debit cards: Instead of a debit card linked to your checking account, you can use a prepaid debit card. This option entails loading funds onto the card from a checking or savings account and using it for purchases until the balance runs out. This can help control your spending or function as your main payment method if you don’t have a traditional bank account.

Prepaid debit cards are widely accepted for online purchases. While they don’t contain your bank account information, they also probably don’t have purchase protection or security alerts. You may also have to pay a fee to obtain one.

•   Credit cards: Credit cards allow you to spend money using a line of credit and pay the balance on a monthly basis. Credit cards can offer rewards points, cash back, and purchase protection. As with debit cards, nearly every online merchant accepts credit cards. However, it’s possible to spend an amount you can’t afford to pay back later. If you fall behind on payments, you can incur high interest fees and wind up with significant credit card debt.

•   Third-party payment services: Third-party payment apps like PayPal and Venmo allow you to link your checking account, debit card, or credit card to make purchases online without extra fees. These apps guard your personal information by keeping your payment details private from merchants. They may also offer features like buyer protection and the ability to split payments with friends.

•   Gift cards: Gift cards are prepaid cards loaded with a specific denomination that you can use to make purchases at a particular retailer or group of retailers. They are a convenient alternative to using a checking account for online shopping, especially if you want to give a gift or if you have a specific retailer in mind. They usually come in specific increments, such as $10, $25, $50, and so on.

•   Government benefits: If you receive the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for food, you’ll get an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) account to hold the funds. Grocery stores and other retailers, including Walmart, Meijer, Instacart, and Aldi, accept EBT as a form of online payment.

Recommended: Pros and Cons of Using a Debit Card Online

Opening a Checking Account With SoFi

Paying online with a checking account is a viable way to make purchases on websites that accept this method. This technique can help prevent overspending and reduce fees, but it may not always be available and can be less convenient than other forms of payment, including debit cards and credit cards. As a result, it’s important to check which payment methods an online business takes and decide which one is best for your financial circumstances.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.


Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

What can you purchase online with your account and routing number?

If you have the account and routing number for your checking account, you can make purchases with online retailers that accept this form of payment. Because every retailer has its own payment policies, you will need to check their website to see which forms of payment they take.

Where can you pay online with a checking account?

You can pay online with a checking account with any retailer that accepts it as a method of payment, such as Amazon and Walmart. However, some retailers only accept debit cards, credit cards, and payment apps.

Can you pay online with your account and routing number?

You can pay online with your account and routing number if the online retailer accepts a checking account for payment. Many retailers don’t accept bank accounts for payment, so paying by debit card, credit card, payment app, or gift card might be necessary.


Photo credit: iStock/Milan Markovic

SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.


SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a recurring deposit of regular income to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government benefit payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, or are non-recurring in nature (e.g., IRS tax refunds), do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

As an alternative to direct deposit, SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

*Awards or rankings from NerdWallet are not indicative of future success or results. This award and its ratings are independently determined and awarded by their respective publications.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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Guide to Postdated Checks

Postdated Checks: Are They Legal? Is It a Waste of Time?

If a check writer doesn’t want the payee to be able to cash a check immediately, they may choose to postdate it: On the date line, they would simply write in a future date. This can be helpful if someone needs to deliver a check before they have the funds necessary for the check to clear in their account.

Postdated checks are usually legal, unless they are being used to defraud the recipient. Learn more about how this payment process works and why some people postdate checks.

What Is a Postdated Check?

When someone writes a postdated check, they fill in a future date on the check instead of the current date. A payer might do this so a check can’t be deposited until that later date (when they’ll have the funds available in their checking account).

This process can come in handy if you want to mail a check to pay a bill before it’s due. Say the bill is due on the 19th, but you are mailing it on the 15th. You might postdate it for the 19th. You know the check needs a couple of days to arrive and then be deposited. This can also be a good move if you know your paycheck hits on the 17th and will help cover the check.

💡 Quick Tip: Make money easy. Enjoy the convenience of managing bills, deposits, and transfers from one online bank account with SoFi.

Are Postdated Checks Legal?

Usually, postdated checks are legal in the U.S., but it’s worth verifying the rules in the state where the check writer lives. Note that these guidelines may not cover cashier’s checks or traveler’s checks, which have their own rules and limitations.

Also worth mentioning: If a check is postdated with the intention of defrauding the recipient, then it could be illegal. Since postdating is sometimes used in this way for fraudulent purposes, think twice before agreeing to accept a postdated check, especially from someone you don’t know well.

Recommended: How to Verify a Check Before Depositing

How to Write a Postdated Check

Writing a postdated check is the same as writing any other check. You fill out the name of the payee, the amount of the check in words and numbers, a memo if you like on the line at the lower left, and sign the check.

The only difference is that instead of putting the current date in the space on the right, you put a future date. This date is often just a few days or a week in the future.

Example of a Postdated Check

If today’s date were September 1st, 2024, and you wanted to write a check for $100 to your friend Susan Jones to repay her for a loan, here’s how you might postdate it:

•   You would write “Susan Jones” after the “Pay to the Order of” wording.

•   Next to it, to the right, in the space with the dollar sign, you’d write, “100.00”

•   Under that, you’d fill out “One hundred and 00/100 cents” on the line for the amount in words.

•   You can add a memo at lower left, if you like, such as “loan repayment.”

•   Now, for the postdating part: If it’s September 1st but you don’t want the check to be cashed until the 5th, you’d write “September 5, 2024” on the date line at upper right.

The idea here is, you don’t want Susan to deposit the check until the 5th, even though the current date is the 1st.

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Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!


What Happens When a Postdated Check Gets Cashed Early?

Generally, the payee has to wait to cash a postdated check until the date specified on the check arrives. That being said, some financial institutions may cash a check prior to that date.

•   If there are sufficient funds in the check writer’s account, the check will be paid.

•   If there isn’t enough money to cover the check’s amount, the check will be returned. This typically incurs overdraft or NSF (nonsufficient funds) fees, possibly for both parties.

For this reason, even if a bank or credit union is willing to cash a postdated check before the date written on the check, the payee may be better off waiting to cash it. The odds are that the payer added a postdate because at the time they didn’t have the funds available in their account to cover the check.

Recommended: How to Sign Over a Check to Someone Else

Alternatives to Postdated Checks

Check writers who want to buy some time until a deposit to their account clears have other options besides postdated checks.

•   Online and Automatic Bill Payments: One option for making future payments without having to postdate a check is to go digital. The payer can go online to schedule a bill to be paid on the exact date of their choosing. As a bonus, there’s no need to order checks or manage a checkbook with this payment method.

Also, at your request, some businesses — including mortgage, utility, and credit card companies — can change the due date of your monthly bill to one of your choosing. For instance, if you get paid on the first of the month, you can request that the due date of your rent or mortgage payment always be three days later. That way, you can set up automated bill pay without worrying about your transaction clearing.

•   Payment Plans: Before you consider postdating a check to avoid overdrawing your checking account, ask if the business will offer you a payment plan. Some companies will allow individuals to make smaller, incremental payments over time rather than one big payment. Make sure to find out first if the payment plan involves a fee or interest.

The Takeaway

A postdated check is the same as a standard check, but instead of putting the current date on it, the check writer fills out a future date. This is often done with the intention that the payee will not cash the check until that future date, when funds are available.

As you manage your money, it helps to have the right banking partner.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.

Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

What is the meaning of a postdated check?

A postdated check is filled out with a date in the future. The meaning is that it is not intended to be processed until the future date written on it.

Are postdated checks illegal?

No, it’s generally not illegal to postdate a check. That said, it’s a good idea to learn about the laws governing postdating checks in your area. Postdating a check can be considered a crime if the payer’s account does not have the required funds to process the check and if they intended to defraud the payee when they issued the postdated check.

Can a postdated check be returned?

If a postdated check is deposited (whether before or after the date on it) and there aren’t sufficient funds to cover it, the check may be returned unpaid.


Photo credit: iStock/AndreyPopov

SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.


SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a recurring deposit of regular income to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government benefit payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, or are non-recurring in nature (e.g., IRS tax refunds), do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

As an alternative to direct deposit, SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


*Awards or rankings from NerdWallet are not indicative of future success or results. This award and its ratings are independently determined and awarded by their respective publications.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

This article is not intended to be legal advice. Please consult an attorney for advice.

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Food Delivery Using a Checking Account for Payment

There’s nothing quite as indulgent as sitting back on your couch, remote control in hand, knowing that your favorite restaurant meal is about to show up at your doorstep. But food delivery can also, unfortunately, lead to racking up credit card debt.

One solution is to use a checking account to pay for food delivery services. Although not every platform allows you to pay directly from your bank account, there are often payment options that still let you tap the funds in your checking account. Learn more about the details below.

What Is Food Delivery?

Third-party food delivery services have revolutionized at-home dining. Gone are the days where pizza was the only option for ordering in. These days, you can get just about any meal your heart desires, all with the tap of a finger.

Third-party delivery platforms connect hungry diners with nearly endless restaurant options. The meals are typically delivered by gig-economy workers who earn income via these apps.

Some of the most popular food delivery services include:

•   Grubhub

•   Uber Eats

•   Postmates

•   DoorDash

There may be other food delivery services available in your area, including restaurants that still deliver directly. However, those options may or may not allow you to use your checking account as payment.

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!


Using Checking Accounts for Payment

Not every food delivery service allows you to link directly to your banking details. You may have to do a bit of research to find a single food delivery that accepts a checking account. That said, most offer the opportunity to pay through a third-party service like PayPal, which in turn makes bank account payment possible.

As of May 2024, neither Grubhub nor DoorDash had an option to input your checking account details. Both do allow you to use a debit card, however, which works almost exactly like a checking account payment. Grubhub also offers PayPal, Venmo, and Amazon Pay linking, among others, while DoorDash links with PayPal, Venmo, and Apple Pay.

Postmates and Uber Eats both give users the option to input their bank account information, which means you can pay directly with your checking account.

Linking Bank Account to Delivery App

For the apps that do allow you to use a bank account, linking the account is usually fairly straightforward. Both Uber Eats and Postmates use a third-party platform called Link to securely connect your bank account to your food delivery app account using your regular login credentials. The data transferred is encrypted, and you can disconnect linked accounts at any time.

Some delivery services may allow you to manually link your bank account using details like the routing number and account number. In that case, you should always be sure you’re only providing your details to certified and secure parties. If you’re using a lesser-known food delivery app, do some research ahead of time to ensure it’s legit before you enter your banking details.

Recommended: Checking Account vs. Debit Card: What’s the Difference?

Benefits of Checking Account Payments

Why pay for your next plate of Pad Thai or other food delivery with your checking account? Consider the following benefits.

No Credit Card Fees for Merchants

While this one may not benefit you directly, you may be saving a small business some money. That can feel like something of a good deed. Although food delivery services have helped connect more restaurants to more at-home diners, they do usually charge the restaurant a commission fee, which can eat into already-slim profit margins.

Credit cards, too, often charge merchants a fee that can be as high as 3.5% per transaction. In short, by using your checking account, you may be offering more direct support to your favorite restaurants.

Easier to Budget Food Spending

Sometimes, the money we put on a credit card feels less than real, which is one reason it can be so easy to spiral into credit card debt. But when money is coming directly out of your checking account, it’s often a bit more tangible. Over time, using your checking account can therefore make it easier to track how much you’re really spending on food delivery each month — and stick to a budget for how much you should be spending.

May Qualify for Cash Back/Rewards

In some cases, delivery apps or your bank may offer cash back or rewards for payments made with a checking account (or debit card). Check with your bank, and review offers from the delivery apps you use for further details.

Recommended: Checking vs. Savings Accounts

Potential Risks and Drawbacks

Although there are many upsides to using a checking account to pay for your food delivery, there are some drawbacks to consider, too.

Overdraft Fees from Erroneous Charges

When you’re drawing directly from your bank account — as opposed to putting money on a credit card — you’re at more risk of overdrafting (spending more than you have in your account). Doing so can rack up pricy overdraft fees, and it’s possible even if you’re careful. Occasionally, for instance, a transaction goes through more than once, which is an error that can be easier to rectify with a credit card.

Less Fraud Protection vs Credit Cards

One good thing about credit cards: They often come with robust fraud protection and easy ways to dispute charges. In fact, many credit card issuers will actually stop a charge they feel is suspicious and prevent it from going through until they get confirmation from you that it’s legitimate. Checking account payments don’t generally have this technology, so that’s something to consider when you’re linking your account to a food delivery service.

Difficulty Disputing or Reversing Charges

As mentioned, no matter the reason for an erroneous or fraudulent charge, it can be more difficult to reverse it when it’s basically cash (as opposed to credit). You can check directly with your bank account to learn about their process for such reversals.

Tips for Safe Checking Account Use

If you are going to use your checking account to pay for your food deliveries (or anything else), follow these tips to help ensure you do so safely.

Monitor Transactions Closely

Regardless of whether you’re using it for food delivery payments, regularly checking your bank account is always a good idea. That way, you’ll see any fraudulent transactions and start the process of rectifying them quickly. Plus, you’ll simply know how much money you have at your disposal.

Adjust Spending Limits/Alerts

Some bank accounts offer built-in spending limits, or they alert you when your account gets below a certain dollar threshold. It can be easy to overdo it with food deliveries, so if you’re going to link your checking account, consider adjusting those limits and alerts accordingly.

Consider Using a Prepaid Card

If you’re trying to keep yourself to a specific budget but don’t want to link your checking account to your food delivery app — or use a credit card that you could easily rack up sky high — consider using a prepaid card instead. That way, you know exactly how much you will spend on food delivery (since amounts in excess of the prepaid limit won’t go through). What’s more, you won’t take on any of the risks associated with linking your bank account.

Alternatives To Checking Payments

As mentioned above, if the delivery service you’re using doesn’t allow you to link your bank account directly, you will likely be able to link a digital payment platform like PayPal, Cash App, or Venmo, which can facilitate direct-from-bank transfers. And most apps will allow you to input a debit card in place of a credit card.

Of course, if you go the old-school way and order directly from a restaurant, you may still be able to pay with plain old cash.

The Takeaway

Ordering food delivery is a favorite convenience of the digital age, and you can enjoy it without using your credit card. It is often possible to link to a checking account or a debit card, which pulls money directly from your checking account, to pay for the food you’ve ordered. Or you might use a digital payment service, and link that to your checking account.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.

Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

Can I earn rewards with checking account payments?

It’s rare to find cash back rewards or other incentives linked to payments that come directly from a checking account. However, many debit cards do offer rewards. Using this kind of card is almost exactly like paying directly from your bank account. Check with the financial institution about any rewards available.

What if a delivery never arrives?

If your meal is marked “delivered” but you don’t find it, you should be able to get help from the food delivery service itself. Most apps offer a way to contact their customer support team right from the interface.

Do all food delivery apps accept checking?

Unfortunately, not all food delivery apps allow you to directly link your checking account. However, virtually all of them allow you to use a debit card instead of a credit card, which works almost exactly the same way. In addition, many of the apps allow you to link a third-party platform like Venmo or Cash App, which can facilitate bank account payments.


Photo credit: iStock/FG Trade

SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.


SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a recurring deposit of regular income to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government benefit payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, or are non-recurring in nature (e.g., IRS tax refunds), do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

As an alternative to direct deposit, SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


*Awards or rankings from NerdWallet are not indicative of future success or results. This award and its ratings are independently determined and awarded by their respective publications.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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All You Need to Know About IRA Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

All You Need to Know About IRA Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

An IRA CD is simply an individual retirement account (IRA) in which the investor has opened one or more certificates of deposit (CDs).

This may provide tax advantages and be a smart long-term move for some savers. Keep reading to learn how an IRA CD works and its pros and cons.

What Is an IRA CD?

An IRA CD is an IRA where your money is invested in certificates of deposit. In other words, an IRA CD is a traditional, Roth, or other type of IRA account where the funds are invested at least partly in CDs.

Investing in CDs can offer some tax advantages and may be a good option for long-term savings. As you may know, a CD, or certificate of deposit, is a time deposit. You agree to keep your funds on deposit for a certain amount of time, typically at a fixed interest rate.

💡 Quick Tip: Don’t think too hard about your money. Automate your budgeting, saving, and spending with SoFi’s seamless and secure mobile banking app.

How Do IRA CDs Work?

If you choose to put your retirement money in an IRA, you have the chance to choose investments that might include stocks, mutual funds, bonds — and also CDs. By investing in CDs within an IRA, you can add to your portfolio’s diversification. Unlike equities, CDs can offer a predictable rate of return.

By investing in an IRA CD, you no longer have to pay taxes on the interest gains, and the money can grow taxed-deferred.

But if you withdraw funds prior to the CD’s maturity date, you will face an early withdrawal penalty. Once the IRA CD matures, you can either renew it or take your money and invest it in the stock market for potentially higher returns.

How much can you contribute to an IRA CD? It depends on the type of IRA account you choose. Traditional and Roth IRAs have contribution limits of $7,000 per year as of 2024, or if you are 50 or older, the contribution limit is $8,000 per year. The contribution limits for SEP IRAs are typically higher.

If you choose an IRA CD with a bank or credit union backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., or FDIC, your money in the IRA CD is insured for up to $250,000 per depositor, per account ownership category, per insured institution. This means that if the bank goes under for any reason, your retirement funds are covered up to that amount.

CD Basics

A CD or a certificate of deposit is a type of savings or deposit account that usually offers a fixed interest rate for locking up your money for a certain period of time, known as the term. An investor deposits funds for the specified terms (usually a few months to a few years), and cannot add to the account or withdraw funds from the account until the CD matures.

In exchange, for keeping your money in a CD, the bank will offer a higher interest rate compared with a traditional savings account. But the chief appeal for retirement-focused investors is that CDs can provide a steady rate of return, versus other securities in a portfolio which may entail more risk.

You may be able to find variable-rate and promotional-rate CDs as well.

Recommended: How Investment Risk Factors into a Portfolio

IRA Basics

An IRA or individual retirement account is a tax-advantaged account designed for retirement planning. There are different IRA types to choose from, such as a traditional IRA, Roth IRA, or SEP IRA. By contributing to this type of account, you can have your money grow tax-free or tax-deferred, depending on the type of IRA you open.

Think of an IRA as a box in which you place your retirement investments. With an IRA, investors have the flexibility to invest in a variety of securities for their portfolio.

For this reason, it might make sense for some investors to include CDs as part of their asset allocation within the IRA.

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Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!


Pros and Cons of IRA CDs

IRA CDs have unique characteristics that can benefit account holders as they think about how to handle their retirement funds. The upsides include:

•   Compared to investing in the stock market where investment returns can be volatile and unpredictable, IRA CDs are low-risk cash investments.

•   CDs guarantee a fixed return.

•   With an IRA CD, there are similar tax benefits that come with a traditional IRA. Investors can enjoy tax benefits such as growing your account with pretax dollars while having your earnings accumulate tax-deferred until you reach retirement.

There are some cons associated with IRA CDs to keep in mind:

•   With an IRA CD, you have to keep your money locked away for a period of time that varies depending on the maturity date you choose. During this time, you cannot access your funds in the event you need capital.

•   If you decide to withdraw cash prior to the IRA CD’s maturity, you will incur early withdrawal penalties. After age 59 ½ there is no penalty for withdrawing cash.

•   While putting your retirement funds in an IRA CD is a safer and lower-risk option than investing in the stock market, the returns can be quite low. If you are in retirement and are concerned about the stock market’s volatility, an IRA CD could be a safer option than other securities. But if you are many years away from retirement, an IRA CD may not yield enough returns to outpace inflation over time.

Pros of IRA CDs

Cons of IRA CDs

Low-risk investmentMoney is locked away until maturity
Guaranteed returnPenalty for early withdrawal
Tax-deferred growthReturns can be low vs. other retirement savings options

Who Should and Should Not Invest in an IRA CD?

IRA CDs are a safe way to invest money for retirement. However, they are best suited for pre-retirees who are looking for low-risk investments as they approach retirement age.

If you are many years away from retirement, an IRA CD is probably not the best option for you because they are low-risk and low-return retirement saving vehicles. In order to see growth on your investments you may need to take on some risk.

If you decide an IRA CD is the right option for you, you also must determine if you are comfortable with keeping your money stowed away for a period of time. Account holders can choose the length of maturity that best suits them.

How to Open an IRA CD

The first step is to open an IRA at a bank, brokerage, or other financial institution. Decide if a traditional, SEP, or Roth IRA is right for you. You can set up the IRA in-person or online. Once you open an IRA account, you can buy the CD.

Choose the CD that fits your minimum account requirements and length of maturity preference. Typically, the shorter the CD maturity, the lower the minimum to open the account. When considering maturity, you also should compare rates. Often, the longer the maturity, the higher the rate of return.

The Takeaway

If you’re looking to add diversification to the cash or fixed-income part of your portfolio, you might want to consider opening an IRA CD — which simply means funding a CD account within a traditional, Roth, or SEP IRA. Bear in mind that CDs typically offer very low interest rates, though, and your money might see more growth if you chose other securities, such as bonds or bond funds.

If you’re thinking about how to earn a steady rate of return on your savings, consider an account with SoFi.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.

Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

What is the difference between an IRA CD and a regular CD?

A standard CD is a separate account you open at a bank or credit union. An IRA CD is where the CD is funded within the IRA itself.

Can you withdraw from an IRA CD?

With a regular CD, you withdraw the funds penalty-free when the CD matures. With an IRA CD, however, you can withdraw the funds penalty free starting at age 59½, per the rules and restrictions of the IRA.

What happens when an IRA CD matures?

Once your IRA CD matures, you’ll receive the principal plus interest. Then you can either leave the IRA CD as is or renew it. You cannot withdraw the funds from an IRA CD until age 59 ½, as noted above.

Are IRA CDs safe?

Yes, IRA CDs are considered low-risk. If you open an IRA CD with a federally insured institution, your funds can be covered up to $250,000 per depositor, per account ownership category, per insured institution.

Who offers IRA CDs?

IRA CDs can typically be found at traditional and online-only banks as well as credit unions and brokerage firms.


Photo credit: iStock/LeszekCzerwonka

SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.


SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a recurring deposit of regular income to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government benefit payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, or are non-recurring in nature (e.g., IRS tax refunds), do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

As an alternative to direct deposit, SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


*Awards or rankings from NerdWallet are not indicative of future success or results. This award and its ratings are independently determined and awarded by their respective publications.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

SoFi Invest®
INVESTMENTS ARE NOT FDIC INSURED • ARE NOT BANK GUARANTEED • MAY LOSE VALUE
SoFi Invest encompasses two distinct companies, with various products and services offered to investors as described below: Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of these platforms.
1) Automated Investing and advisory services are provided by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser (“SoFi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC.
2) Active Investing and brokerage services are provided by SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA (www.finra.org)/SIPC(www.sipc.org). Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above please visit SoFi.com/legal.
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform.

Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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Are Certificates of Deposit (CDs) Taxable?

Are Certificates of Deposit (CDs) Taxable?

If you earn more than $10 in interest on a certificate of deposit (CD), you generally have to report it as taxable income on your tax return. The tax rate you pay on CD interest will be the same as the rate you pay on your ordinary income, which will depend on your marginal tax bracket.

While CDs are considered a safe and reliable investment, and generally pay a higher-than-average interest rate, you’ll want to factor in taxes when you consider how much you’ll really make on your investment. Here’s a closer look at how CDs are taxed, the impact of early withdrawal penalties, and strategies to potentially avoid taxes on CD earnings.

How Are CDs Taxed?

A certificate of deposit (CD) is a type of savings account that pays a fixed annual percentage yield (APY) that’s usually higher than a traditional savings account. In exchange, you agree to leave your money untouched for a set period of time (the CD’s term), which can be anywhere from a few months to several years. On the CD’s maturity date, you can access both the principal and interest earned.

Like any savings account, including high-yield savings accounts, the interest you earn on CDs is typically taxed as ordinary income, whether you receive the money in cash or reinvest it in a new CD. The interest earned is subject to federal income tax and, in some cases, state and local taxes, in the year it is paid.

The bank or financial institution where the CD is held will usually report the interest income to both you and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) using Form 1099-INT if the interest earned exceeds $10 in a given year. Box 1 shows all the taxable interest paid to you during the calendar year by that financial institution. Even if you don’t receive a 1099-INT form from the bank, you’re required to report interest earnings of $10 or more on your tax return.

The amount of tax you owe on CD interest depends on your marginal tax rate. For example, if you are in the 24% tax bracket, the interest earned on your CD will be taxed at 24%. It’s important to note, however, that CDs held within tax-advantaged accounts, such as individual retirement accounts (IRAs), 401(k)s, or Roth IRAs, may have different tax treatments.

When Do You Pay Taxes on CDs?

Taxes on CD income are due in the year that the income was generated. Here’s a breakdown of how taxes are handled for both short-term and long-term CDs.

Paying Taxes on Short-Term CDs (One Year or Less)

If you purchase a short-term CD (such as a three-month or six-month CD) that matures the same year you purchased it, and it earns $10 or more, you’ll have to pay taxes on it for that tax year. If you invest in a short-term CD near the end of a calendar year and it matures in the following year, you’ll generally need to pay taxes on the interest you earn on two consecutive tax returns.

Regardless of whether you withdraw the money, transfer the money to a savings or checking account, or roll it into another CD, you have to pay tax on CD interest the year it was earned.

Paying Taxes on Long-Term CDs (More than One Year)

Interest earned on long-term CDs (those with terms longer than one year), must be reported and taxed in the year it is earned, even if the CD has not yet matured. This means you’ll pay taxes on a long-term CD over multiple years.

For example, if you opened a three-year CD with $10,000 on January 1, 2024, that pays 4.50% APY, the $450 in interest you earn in 2024 will be taxable in that year. The interest earned in 2025 and 2026 will be taxable in those tax years.

Recommended: CDs vs Savings Accounts Compared

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Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!


Tax Impact of Early Withdrawal Penalties

CDs are designed to be held until maturity, and withdrawing funds early often incurs penalties. Early withdrawal penalties on CDs can range anywhere from 90 days’ to 365 days’ worth of interest. These penalties also have tax implications. Generally, the penalty amount is deductible on your tax return.

For instance, if you withdraw $10,000 from a CD and incur a $500 early withdrawal penalty, you can deduct the $500 penalty from your taxable income. Any early withdrawal penalties will be included in box 2 of your 1099-INT form from the issuing institution, labeled as “early withdrawal penalty.”

Recommended: Tax Credits vs Tax Deductions: What’s the Difference?

Can You Avoid Paying Taxes on CDs?

One strategy that can allow you to defer or eliminate taxes on CD interest is to open your CD inside a retirement account, such as a 401(k) or IRA. When you invest in a CD as part of your retirement account, your CD enjoys tax advantages and you may not be required to pay taxes on CD interest in the year it is earned.

In a traditional IRA or 401(k), for example, investments are made on a pre-tax basis and taxes are deferred until withdrawal, potentially at a lower tax rate. With a Roth IRA, you do pay income taxes on the money you put into the IRA, but the funds grow tax-free and qualified withdrawals are tax-free, provided certain conditions are met.

However, there are a number of rules surrounding retirement accounts, including eligibility requirements, contribution limits, and withdrawal restrictions, so you’ll want to consult a tax accountant before considering a tax-advantaged CD.

The Takeaway

Certificates of deposit (CDs) are a safe and reliable investment option, but understanding their tax implications is crucial for maximizing returns. Like other types of savings accounts, interest earned on CDs is generally taxable as ordinary income and must be reported annually. The timing of when taxes are due depends on when the interest is credited to your CD. Early withdrawal penalties can reduce taxable income, offering some relief. But paying a penalty also reduces your returns on a CD.

Before putting your money into a CD, it’s worth shopping around and comparing CD APYs with the current APYs for high-yield savings accounts. You may be able to find a better deal with fewer restrictions on your funds.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.

Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

Does cashing in a CD count as income?

Cashing in a certificate of deposit (CD) itself does not count as income, but the interest earned on the CD is considered taxable income. The bank reports the total interest earned on a CD in any given year on Form 1099-INT, which you must include in your taxable income for that year. This interest is subject to federal, and sometimes state and local, taxes. The principal amount you originally invested in the CD, however, is not taxed, only the interest earned on that principal.

How do I report CD interest on tax returns?

You’ll need to report interest earned on a certificate of deposit (CD) on your federal tax return using Form 1040, specifically on the line designated for interest income.

To determine how much interest you need to report, you simply refer to Form 1099-INT, which you should receive from the bank holding your CD. This form details the interest income earned over the year. If you have multiple 1099-INT forms, you’ll need to combine the total interest and report it as a single amount. For state taxes, you’ll want to include this interest according to your state’s tax guidelines, which may vary.

Are any CDs tax free?

Most CDs are not tax-free, but certain strategies can minimize taxes on CD interest. CDs may be placed in a tax-deferred retirement account, such as a 401(k) or individual retirement account (IRA). In this case, taxes on earnings may be deferred until retirement or distribution. A CD held in a Roth IRA can grow tax-free and withdrawals are tax-free, provided certain conditions are met.

There are many rules surrounding retirement accounts, however, including eligibility requirements, contribution limits, and withdrawal restrictions, so you’ll want to consult a tax accountant before considering a tax-advantaged CD.


Photo credit: iStock/pinstock

SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a recurring deposit of regular income to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government benefit payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, or are non-recurring in nature (e.g., IRS tax refunds), do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

As an alternative to direct deposit, SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

*Awards or rankings from NerdWallet are not indicative of future success or results. This award and its ratings are independently determined and awarded by their respective publications.

Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.

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