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My employer wants me to give my routing-numbers, social-security numbers, and basically everything else required to take money out of my account, to several third-party direct-deposit websites (one for weekly paychecks, one for mileage reimbursements, etc.). I am not comfortable giving my identity information away to all these places.

I'd like to give them access to an account which they can only deposit into, never withdraw (either a separate account, or, even better, a deposit-only alias to my real account). Does such a thing exist?


[Edit] I'm not worried about the companies so much as I am worried about bad guys who inevitably hack those companies' databases, or get hired to work there.

This type of account would also be handy for giving read-only access to sites like mint.com or quicken.com, easing my mind about their hackers/unscrupulous employees.

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    If it's deposit-only, how are you planning to get the money out of it? – Mike Scott Feb 2 '11 at 20:14
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    @Mike: In person, or on their website. My point was that the money can't be withdrawn with a check or debit-card. – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Feb 2 '11 at 23:43
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    A new product say;there is a Account that accepts deposits. Does not allow any withdrawls by any means. Has a facility to auto-sweep the funds into another account. Thats the only debit possible on the account. Then this would be safe, were we can communicate all the details of first accounts for deposits. Restrict the details of second accounts and if we feel there is a risk of info getting leaked, create a 3rd account and use it for debits. Moving the funds from 2nd Account as required. – Dheer Feb 3 '11 at 7:55
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    @P.Brian.Mackey - I've gotten more than one letter from a "pretty well protected" facility over the past few years saying "we're sorry, but your information may have been stolen" for one reason or another. If you follow this sort of news, you'll see a near constant stream of information leaks. You often have to give up your info and hope for the best, but I never trust that they're going to get it right. – bstpierre Feb 7 '11 at 3:36
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    Bit late to the party, but something along these lines exists in Europe. E.g. I have one account that is deposit-only with exactly one exception, a so-called reference account (can be and is in my case at another bank): withdrawals from the "deposit-only" account can only ever go to that reference account, and changing the reference account is a somewhat tedious procedure ;-). But then our account numbers are not secret in the sense that having the account number anyways allows only deposits, no withdrawals (with some exceptions that have other mechanisms for protection, though). – cbeleites Jul 28 '18 at 21:48
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Do you write checks? You are giving your bank account and routing number to anybody you have ever given a check to. Your employer is paying taxes on your behalf, so they need your social security number so they can pay your social security taxes.

Account and routing numbers are how deposits are made. If you are concerned, create a free checking account, collect the direct deposit and each payday go to the bank and withdraw your money to put it where you like.

Nothing is deposit only because you will want your money back.

Finally, you would be shocked at how little it takes to make a draft on your account in the US. Certainly not your SSN, Address, or even your name.

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    "Do you write checks? You are giving your bank account and routing number to anybody you have ever given a check to" - That's exactly my point. I'd like to be able to give out my bank account + routing number (by writing checks, etc) without having to worry about fraud. It's the 21st century, how is this not a thing yet!? – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Dec 3 '16 at 17:41
  • @BlueRaja-DannyPflughoeft How do you intend to write a check if the number it uses is deposit-only? – glglgl Jul 30 '18 at 11:12
  • @glglgl You wouldn't, that's the point. To use the money you'd need to move it to a different account (using their web interface or going in in-person or whatever) – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Jul 30 '18 at 15:54
  • @BlueRaja-DannyPflughoeft But you mentionned it. And as soon as you write out a check, the receiver has your "spending" account number. So that thing just won't work. – glglgl Jul 31 '18 at 8:52
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I would suggest opening a bank account that you use to accept deposits only, and then get a system set up where it automatically transfers the money over to your main account. If not instantly it could transfer the money hourly or daily.

Of course you would have to pay a premium for this "peace of mind" ;)

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Usually the most significant risk scenarios here are:

  1. Compromise of your electronic banking credentials where hackers send your money off someplace. (Especially for commercial accounts -- consumer accounts have some State and Federally mandated protections)
  2. Theft of checks, fraudulent use of routing/account numbers, or similar scenarios.

Third parties can abuse your routing/account numbers to initiate debits, but this is a type of fraud that is easily traced. It can happen, but it is more likely that it would be a scenario where you were specifically targeted vs. the victim of some random fraud. Defending against someone who is specifically going after you is very difficult, especially if you don't know about it.

Your SSN isnt used for the bank transfer, you are providing it so that the entity making the payments can report on payments to you for tax purposes.

If you are truly worried about this type of scenario, I suggest setting up a dedicated savings account for the purpose of receiving these payments and then sweeping (either manually or automatically) the funds into another account. Most stock brokers will allow you to automate this, and most banks will let you do this manually.

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There is such a thing as Deposit Only. This will allow the individual's account to function only for collection of monetary deposits. NO ONE will be able to withdraw...only deposit. The account holder may still physically withdraw at their banking institution. Think of it as taking your account from a "public" profile to a "private" profile. Doing this is beneficial for ppl who may have been scammed into a program or product where there account is bieng fraudulently overdrafted, or simply to protect your funds from bieng drafted without your approval or despite your requests for ceasing the drafts.

When making your account a deposit only account it's a good idea to open a NEW account at a Different banking institution, because some banks will still allow an account that is "attached" to the deposit only account to be drafted from it. WIth the new account you can utilize that one for paying day to day bills and just transfer funds from the deposit only account to the new account.

A deposit only account is also a good way to build up a nice nest egg for yourself or even a young adult!

source- Financial Adivsor 4years-

  • Is this a common feature for banks/credit unions? Or do only some offer it? Is "deposit-only" the "official" name for this type of account? – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Sep 28 '11 at 20:40
  • because some banks will still allow an account that is "attached" to the deposit only account to be drafted from it. and some banks also make it impossible to not attach all your accounts together, i.e. they use some common identifier such as SSN as the "index" into your account, meaning you can't actually have two separate accounts which aren't linked. – Michael Aug 5 '15 at 4:05
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Legally, no one else can withdraw from your account. If you suspect the direct-deposit websites are making withdrawals, you can monitor your account balance and dispute any transactions that were not made by you.

But realistically, any company that did that would soon be out of business and in so much legal trouble that it wouldn't be worth the money they could get from you.

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    It's not them I'm worried about; as a professional software-developer, I know how hard it is to secure a website, and I also know how often (very, very often) developers who don't know the first thing about software security (it is hardly taught at school, if at all) for positions that really should require security experts. – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Feb 2 '11 at 23:47
  • @BlueRaja-DannyPflughoeft - This it to sadly true. I have looked at the data stored by some big name ECommerce solutions that the default setting its unencrytped personal information. Some of them make it impossible to do it seemlessly. It scares the hell out of me. – user4127 Sep 28 '11 at 20:53

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