How to Change Your Bank Account for the Child Tax Credit

Kathryn Underwood - Author

Jul. 15 2021, Published 11:08 a.m. ET

July 15 is the day many U.S. families have been waiting for. It's the start date for the first advance child tax credit payment. The Biden administration signed off on the funding to increase child tax credits and provide half of the credit monthly throughout the end of 2021, instead of all in a lump sum in 2022.

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If you have a child who is under 18 years of age and your adjusted gross income is under a certain level, you qualify to receive child tax credits. The maximum monthly tax credit payments for children aged 6–17 is $250, while children 5 and under qualify families for $300 monthly.

How to sign up for direct deposit

It’s possible that some people who thought they were signed up for direct deposit with the IRS will receive a paper check for the July 15 child tax credit. This might be due to a small error in the bank account information the IRS has on file for you.

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direct deposit child tax credit
Source: iStock

If you receive a paper check but prefer direct deposit, log into the IRS Child Tax Credit Update Portal online to verify your bank account information and correct any mistakes. You can also view whether you’re already signed up for a direct deposit.

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Verify your bank’s routing number and your individual bank account number to ensure a seamless deposit of funds each month for the rest of the year.

How often can I change my enrollment?

At this point, you won’t be able to change from a paper check to direct deposit for the July 15 payment. But you can log in to your account on the IRS Child Tax Credit Update Portal to make any changes needed. CNET reports that the deadline to enroll in direct deposit or to unenroll from monthly payments is Aug. 2.

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If you don’t know whether you’re eligible for child tax credit payments, you can use the IRS’s Child Tax Credit Eligibility Assistant to find out.

You can unenroll or opt out of monthly tax credits. The deadline is three days before the first Thursday of the upcoming month, and you don’t have to unenroll every month. 

The deadlines to unenroll are Aug. 2, Sept. 30, Oct. 4, Nov. 1, and Nov. 29.

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child tax credit guidelines
Source: Unsplash

The IRS says that if you unenroll, this happens once and you can't re-enroll in monthly child tax credits until September 2021.

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What if I don’t have a bank account?

According to the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation), about 7.1 million U.S. households don't have a bank account. Since a direct deposit is usually the quickest means of receiving government funds, you might want to open a checking or savings account.

The FDIC website has resources to help people locate a bank with low or no monthly maintenance fees if they maintain a minimum balance or have a direct deposit. The FDIC's BankFind tool is a good place to start if you don’t currently have an account at a financial institution. Getting that set up will enable you to sign up for a direct deposit of child tax credits.


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