Online shopping offers unrivaled convenience. With just a few clicks and a credit or debit card, you can buy anything from AirPods to Ziploc bags and have them delivered to your doorstep — sometimes even on the same day. However, not everyone wants (or has the ability) to pay with a credit or debit card.
If you’re wondering, “Can I make purchases online directly from a checking account?” the answer is yes. Some online stores do allow you to make purchases using your checking account number — no debit card needed.
Here is a step-by-step guide for making online purchases using your checking account.
Why Pay for Things With a Checking Account Number?
If you don’t have a credit or debit card or prefer not to use it, paying with your checking account number is an alternative to prepaid debit cards and their associated fees.
How To Use Your Checking Account Number To Make Purchases
Whether you don’t have a credit or debit card or prefer to pay directly from your bank account, this step-by-step guide will walk you through the process of using your checking account number for online transactions.
1. Gather Your Information
Before you begin, ensure you have the necessary information at hand. You’ll need your checking account number and your bank’s routing number. The routing number is a nine-digit code that identifies your bank and allows for secure money transfers.
Here are the different ways you can locate your bank’s routing number and your checking account number:
- Look at your checks: The routing number is usually located at the bottom-left corner of your personal checks. It’s the first set of nine digits printed on the check, while your checking account number is the second set of numbers.
- Log in to your online banking: If you use online banking, log in to your account and navigate to the account summary or account details section. There, you’ll find your checking account number and the bank’s routing number.
- Go to your bank’s website: Alternatively, you can visit your bank’s official website and search for “routing number” in the search bar. Many banks provide their routing numbers on their websites for easy access.
- Contact your bank: If you are unable to find the routing number through the above methods, you can always contact your bank’s customer service for assistance. It will be able to provide you with the correct routing number.
2. Choose a Trusted Online Retailer When Shopping
Select a reputable and secure online retailer for your purchases. Stick to well-known websites that prioritize customer data protection and use secure payment methods. Check the website’s privacy statement to find out how it handles payment information.
3. Select the ‘Check’ or ‘Add a Bank Account’ Option
At the checkout page, look for the payment options provided by the retailer. Choose the option that allows you to pay using your checking account or bank account number. It might be labeled as “Check,” “Add a Bank Account” or “ACH Payment.”
4. Enter Your Information
Enter the required information on the payment page. Note that some retailers might only ask for your bank’s routing number, your checking account number, your name and your address. And some might also ask for your driver’s license number. Other merchants might require you to fund your purchase by linking your checking account to a digital wallet.
5. Review Your Order
Before finalizing your purchase, review your order details and payment information. Verify that all the information you provided is correct to avoid any delays or issues with your transaction.
6. Submit Your Payment
Once you are satisfied with your order and payment details, click the “Submit” or “Place Order” button to proceed with the payment. The retailer will process your payment using the information you provided.
7. Wait for Confirmation and Delivery
After your payment is processed, you should receive an order confirmation from the retailer. Depending on the retailer’s shipping options, you can expect your items to be delivered to your specified address within the estimated delivery time.
Protecting Your Checking Account
You don’t want your checking account and routing number to fall into the wrong hands, so following these tips can help you protect your checking account when shopping online.
Shop on Reputable Websites
Stick to well-known and reputable online retailers when making purchases. Avoid unfamiliar or suspicious websites that may not have proper security measures in place. It’s important to only use sites that have a lock icon and “https” in their web address instead of just “http.”
Look For Secure Payment Methods
Before entering your checking account information, check for secure payment options. Reputable websites will use encryption technology to protect your data during transmission.
Avoid Public Wi-Fi
When making online purchases, avoid using public Wi-Fi networks, as they can be vulnerable to hackers. Opt for a secure and private internet connection to keep your information safe.
Monitor Your Accounts
Regularly review your bank statements and online banking activity to detect any unauthorized transactions or suspicious activity.
Enable Two-Factor Authentication
If the retailer offers it, enable two-factor authentication for an added layer of security. This means you’ll need to provide a second form of verification, such as a unique code sent to your phone, to access your account.
Use a Secure Payment Platform
Consider using secure payment platforms like PayPal, which offer an additional layer of protection by acting as an intermediary between your checking account and the retailer.
Protect Your Passwords
Create strong and unique passwords for your online accounts, including your checking account and email. Avoid using easily guessable information like birthdays or names.
Workarounds to Using Checking Account Numbers as Payment
If you want to pay for an online purchase with your checking account number but a store doesn’t allow it, here are a couple of workarounds.
PayPal allows you to shop at a number of retailers using your checking account number. By linking your checking account to PayPal, you gain access to a host of online stores, making it a convenient and secure way to shop online.
Purchase a Gift Card via PayPal
Additionally, for situations where online stores don’t accept direct payments from your checking account, consider purchasing gift cards from reputable sources like eBay using your checking account number via your PayPal account.
You can also purchase discounted gift cards via ACH payment through CardCash, but there’s a catch. You have to make three purchases via PayPal or your credit card. Then, you have to apply to purchase gift cards via ACH, and your purchase has to be at least $1,000.
Use a ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ App
Some BNPL apps, such as Affirm and Sezzle, allow you to link your bank account to them to make payments. The advantage to these apps is that they allow you to make equal payments, often without interest or fees, so that you don’t have to pay for your purchase all at once.
Where Can You Shop Online and Pay With Your Checking Account Number?
Unfortunately, not every online retailer will allow you to pay with your checking account number. Here are some that will; however, this is not an exhaustive list.
- Amazon allows you to pay directly from your bank account.
- eBay via PayPal and sometimes via bank
- Macy’s via PayPal
- Best Buy via PayPal
- Nordstrom via PayPal
- Walmart via PayPal
- Retailers that accept Affirm
- Retailers that accept Sezzle
Paying Online With Your Checking Account Number
Although not every retailer offers shoppers the option of paying with a checking account number, a few do. And even if a retailer doesn’t allow it, there are workarounds, such as paying with PayPal, using a gift card purchased with PayPal or using a “buy now, pay later” option that will allow you to avoid entering your credit or debit card online and instead use your checking account number for payment.
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