Child tax credit and direct deposit: What to know about setting it up, fixing errors, payment schedule – CNET


Get your payments on time by setting up direct deposit with the IRS.

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The first child tax credit payment arrived Thursday in the bank accounts of millions of eligible families. But what if you didn’t have the correct direct deposit information set up with the IRS, or haven’t added your banking details at all? 

While it’s too late to get your July payment through direct deposit if the IRS doesn’t already have your banking information, you can still add it to get your Aug. 13 payment in your bank account. Otherwise, your payments will continue arriving as paper checks.

We’ll explain what to do to set up direct deposit using the IRS Update Portal. Additionally, here’s what the child tax credit schedule looks like and how to calculate how much money you’ll get. We’ll keep this story updated as the IRS releases new information.

Set up direct deposit for August through the IRS Update Portal

If you need to add or update your banking details with the IRS, you can do so by using the IRS Child Tax Credit Update Portal. If you don’t have an IRS account, you’ll need to create an account before you have access to the portals. 

Once you’re logged in, you’ll be able to see whether you’re already enrolled to receive your payments via direct deposit. If you are, you’ll see your bank’s routing number and the last four digits of your account number. If not, you’ll need to add your information. If it’s the wrong account information, you can update it.

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What if I already have direct deposit set up but still get a paper check?

If you get a check even though you have direct deposit set up, you’re not alone. Some Reddit users are reporting the Update Portal shows they’re getting a paper check instead of a direct deposit even though they have their bank account details added.

Here’s what you’ll want to do: Check to make sure your bank details are correct and there are no errors. If there aren’t any errors, it could be that you missed the June 28 deadline of adding or updating your details, so the IRS is using what it had on file at the time.

If your banking details are correct and you get another check in August, it may be time to contact the IRS to see what’s happening.

What if I don’t have a bank account to use?

If you’d rather receive your child tax credit payment by direct deposit instead of a paper check but don’t have an account, the IRS says you can find a financial institute to open a low- or no-cost bank account. Visit the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation website to get details on opening an account or finding a bank branch near you.


You may need to take several steps to get your money direct deposited.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Married couples who file jointly need to take an extra step

If you’re a married couple and file jointly, you will each have to add or update your direct deposit information. Even if you share a bank account, both of you will need to update your bank account information on the same day to the same account to continue getting joint payments. 

If one person doesn’t update their information, it’s likely they will receive a check for that partial monthly payment, instead. For instance, if you’re expecting to receive $300 each month, your family may only get $150 direct deposited and $150 as a mailed check.

How will my payment come this month?

If you don’t have direct deposit set up at this point, your payment will likely arrive in the mail as a paper check. For future payments, you’ll need to add your bank account through the IRS Update Portal. The deadline to add your banking details to get the August payment through direct deposit is Aug. 2 — the same deadline to unenroll from the monthly checks.

For more information, here’s how to opt out of the monthly child tax credit payments. Also, here’s how to track your monthly payments and what to use the IRS child tax credit portals for.