Food Delivery Using a Checking Account for Payment

By Jamie Cattanach · June 20, 2024 · 7 minute read

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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.

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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.

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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.

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