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Direct deposit for child tax credit: How to set it up, fix errors, prepare next payment – CNET

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

Sarah Tew/CNET

The first child tax credit payment of up to $300 per eligible child hit the bank accounts of millions of families this week. 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? You might be waiting a couple extra days for a paper check to arrive by mail. 

The IRS plans to send direct deposits on the 15th of each month: July 15, Aug. 13 (since the 15th falls on a Sunday), Sept. 15, Oct. 15, Nov. 15 and Dec. 15. While it’s too late to provide your up-to-date banking information for the July payment, you can still change it in time to get your August payment. Otherwise, your checks will continue arriving through snail mail. 

Read on for how to set up direct deposit using the IRS Update Portal, just one of the tools available to help families register for and manage their child tax credit payments. We’ll keep this story updated as the IRS releases new information. Additionally, here’s how to calculate how much money you should be getting if you’re worried your July payment was too much or too little.  

Set up direct deposit for August using the 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 ID.me 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.

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.

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If you have direct deposit set up but got a paper check anyway

If you get a child tax credit 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 paper check in August, it may be time to contact the IRS to see what’s happening.

What to do if you don’t have a bank account 

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.

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.

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

Sarah Tew/CNET

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 the IRS child tax credit portals are for.