Online shopping offers unrivaled convenience – you can buy electronics, clothes, groceries, or practically anything from your phone or computer and have it delivered to your door as fast as the same day! However, if you don’t have a credit or debit card, it can be tough to access the variety and savings that online shopping offers. The good news is that some of the largest online stores let you pay with your checking account number. Here’s how it works.
Why shop online with your checking account number?
Before online shopping came along, paying by check was very common at local merchants. While you’ll still see the occasional customer at the supermarket writing out a check to the cashier, payment via plastic or phone-based services like Apple Pay have made it far less common. Though they don’t always make it obvious, a number of major retailers do allow you to pay online with your checking account number, too.
If you don’t have a credit card, shopping with your checking account number is much more convenient and affordable than alternatives like buying prepaid debit cards. You can skip the trip to buy the card, avoid the high fees that are tacked on, and don’t need to worry about how to access those annoying leftover balances. Most retailers don’t charge any additional fees when you pay with your bank account number.
Additionally, if you need to make an urgent purchase but don’t have quite enough cash in the bank, you can sometimes also shop online and pay with your checking account even if your balance is a bit below zero – though beware of potentially steep overdraft fees.
You should note, though, that using your debit card to shop is generally a better option than paying with your bank account card number. Your Visa or MasterCard branded debit card will provide you with some dispute resolution services in case there are any problems with the transaction. It also provides better security in case your card number is lost or stolen. If someone obtains your checking account and routing numbers, they will have full access to your bank account and your bank is unlikely to reimburse you for fraudulent charges or withdrawals!
How to pay with your checking account number
Before you shop online, you’ll need to pieces of information to pay with your checking account – your account number and your bank’s routing number, which is a unique code that identifies your bank. Routing numbers are always nine digits long, while account numbers may be up to 17 digits long.
You can find your bank account number on your statement, online banking portal or on the bottom of your checks. Your bank’s routing number is also printed on the bottom of your checks and can generally be found with a quick Google search for ‘[bank name] routing number’, though note that some banks have multiple routing numbers so be sure to confirm that you are using the correct one if you search for it online.
If you don’t have a checkbook you can look at your monthly statement which should also contain both numbers. Alternatively, log in to your online banking facility which will display all your account info including the routing number.
Depending on the retailer you are shopping at making the actual payment can be as simple as entering your routing number and your account number. Most retailers will also need the name of the account holder and the address. You could also be asked for a driving license number.
Other retailers might require that you first fund your purchase by linking your checking account to a wallet. Either way, paying with your bank account number is no hassle at all and can be as easy as using a credit card or a debit card.
Remember, anyone with your bank account and routing numbers could potentially access your bank account, so be sure to keep these numbers safe!
Where can you shop online and pay with your checking account?
You can buy electronics, clothes, jewelry, shoes, groceries, gift cards, or practically anything else online with your checking account number if you know where to shop. While many retailers don’t directly accept checks for online payments, the great news is that biggest names in online shopping does! Amazon makes it easy to pay with your checking account number, giving you access to virtually anything with just a few clicks.
But what if you want to shop at the thousands of other merchants who don’t accept checks online? Well notice how we said most of them don’t accept checks directly? That doesn’t mean you can’t pay by check. One of the biggest names in tech – PayPal – offer solutions to help you shop online practically anywhere while paying with your checking account. These services are easy to set up, offer enhanced security and make it convenient to shop online and pay with your checking account at most of your favorite stores.
Here’s how they work:
Shop at Amazon and pay with your checking account number
Everyone knows that Amazon offers one of the widest catalogs on the internet. You can buy almost anything from Amazon’s huge online store. Amazon also offers a wide selection of goods for purchase from Marketplace members, giving you access to an even wider range of stuff to buy.
To use your checking account as a payment option, select Add a personal checking account at the bottom of the Shipping & Payment page during the checkout process.
- Enter the bank routing number, also known as the ABA code.
- Enter the account number. The account must be an ACH-enabled checking account at a bank branch located in the U.S.
- Enter the name and the address of the principal account holder.
- Enter the principal account holder’s valid U.S. driver’s license number or state-issued ID number, and the issuing state.
A few notes:
- You can use any checking account provided your account is a personal account located at a branch in the U.S.
- Your checking account must be ACH-enabled. Sorry, no savings accounts are accepted.
- Corporate and business bank accounts can only be used with Amazon Business Accounts.
Using PayPal for online transactions
PayPal is a really versatile way to pay for goods online. You can fund PayPal purchases using a lot of methods, including a credit and debit card or your PayPal balance. You can also fund PayPal purchases directly from your bank account.
To do so, you need to link your checking account number to PayPal as one of your payment methods. When you make a purchase, PayPal will initiate an ACH transfer from your account to the merchant. PayPal is a great way to pay using your bank account because so many retailers accept PayPal for payment.
Buying a gift card with a checking account
The last point we’ll cover is gift cards. Gift cards is an incredibly popular online purchase, and not only for handing out as a gift to someone you care for. You can use a gift card to buy from a retailer that does not support purchases from online checking accounts.
For starters, eBay is a great source for gift cards. And because you can pay for eBay transactions with PayPal, you can buy gift cards from eBay using your checking account number. So, if you can’t buy from a store using your checking account, see whether you can buy gift cards instead.
You don’t need a card for online shopping
It should be clear by now that you do not need a credit or debit card to shop online or even order food. Simply choose one of the many merchants that offer online payment by checking account. If that’s not possible, you have two alternatives: watch out for merchants that accept PayPal or Google Pay, alternatively see if you can find a gift card on, for example, eBay. Either way, with a little bit of effort, you should be able to buy from your favorite retailer without using a card.
Great tools to help You Pay with Your Checking Account Number
PockBox is the perfect app to top up your checking account (with up to $2,500) and use the money to buy stuff online. The process is sleek and straightforward. You will just have to give some information about yourself.The PockBox app should then connect you to the best lender possible and approve you in a matter of minutes.
Chime is an easy and convenient financial app that help you manage and access your money. SpotMe lets you shop online via a debit card and you can even overdraft your account with no overdraft fees. Limits start at $20 and can be increased up to $200.*
There is no cost to enroll in SpotMe, and once you set up your account to receive a qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more a month, Chime will cover up to $200 in overdrafts on your account – without charging you overdraft fees!
Here’s an example of how SpotMe can help you shop online while avoiding costly overdraft fees:
You need to buy a $65 book for school, but only have $50 in your bank account. If you try to buy the book with your bank’s debit card or checking account numbers, your transaction will either be declined or approved…with an additional $35 overdraft fee! Neither is an ideal situation.
But if you’ve set up SpotMe (and have your paycheck regularly deposited into your account) and use your Chime debit card to buy that book, the purchase will be covered with no fee to you. The $15 negative balance will be cleared the next time you make a deposit to your Chime account,
While SpotMe doesn’t have high overdraft limits – and it doesn’t cover checks, Venmo or some other payment methods – it does show you how much you can spend right in the app to help you avoid fees, as well as those embarrassing moments when your transactions are declined. You can access $20 in overdrafts right away (which can help you avoid those frustrating fees banks charge you for being overdrawn by just a few dollars) and you can grow your limit overtime.See Terms and Conditions.
Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by, and debit card issued by, The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC.