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Meet the People Who Rely on Direct Deposit

From business owners to gig workers, artists to 9-to-5ers, students to retirees—meet the people who rely on Direct Deposit. They appreciate Direct Deposit because money goes directly into their financial institution account or mobile wallet. It’s a predictable and convenient way of receiving money on time, and works with digital tools and money management apps to help them budget.

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Allison Lane

Allison relies on Direct Deposit for gig work payments.

Allison is a comedian, writer, podcaster, and—most importantly—a storyteller. And she’s told a lot of stories, having freelanced for the City Paper, The Washington Post, the Kennedy Center, and numerous other D.C. institutions. “I always ask myself, ‘How can I show up on this earth, in this body, doing as much good as I can?’” she says. “For me, it’s putting a spotlight on the stories that go untold, advocating for equality, equity—justice.”
 


While Allison relies on service work for a steady income, she appreciates the simplicity and ease of Direct Deposit for her freelance gig work. “Sometimes people want to send me a check, and I’m like, ‘What am I supposed to do with this? Wait, I need to sign the back? Where’s my bank again?’” she says. “With Direct Deposit, I know where, how and when my payments will arrive.”
 


“I don’t even have to think about it! It just shows up, so I can think about the really important things—like what am I about to eat?” she continues, laughing. “But seriously, knowing that I don’t have to worry about how I get paid? That’s golden. It helps me focus more on moving through the world with grace and patience.”

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Niya Weedon

Niya relies on Direct Deposit to receive her tax refund.

Lifelong D.C. native Niya found her true calling by returning to her roots—literally. “I grew up with my mom tending her raised garden beds,” she says. “I found a job with an organic produce farm in Maryland. Healthy food access is so important to the health of communities, and it gave me an opportunity to work with my hands and do some real good.”

Niya now devotes much of her energy toward exploring the link between food, health and community, and finding other ways to help create equitable outcomes. “I’ve always received both my pay and my tax returns through Direct Deposit,” she says. “I don’t have to worry about how my money will arrive, or if it will arrive on time, or whether I need to schedule a trip to the bank—I can really focus on living and working in the moment.”

Now receiving her pay via Direct Deposit, she’s investigating how else she can contribute. “I’ve always wanted my own land, where I could keep bees, grow my own food and herbs, and teach others to do the same,” she says. “Direct Deposit connects us with our money, right? In the same way, I want to help others connect with the food they eat.”

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Brittany-Priscilla

Brittany relies on Direct Deposit for her make up gig work payments.

When she was little, Brittany was fascinated by the endless possibilities presented by makeup. An artist at heart, she ended up pursuing the field professionally, getting officially trained and licensed at the urging of her close friends.
 

“I love reminding people that they’re beautiful. And while I love joyous gigs like weddings, my favorite jobs are smaller, more personal. Like when someone is ill or recovering from a traumatic life event and needs to be reminded of how beautiful they are from the inside out,” she says.
 

As a single mother of an autistic child, this empathy comes naturally to Brittany; she pursued being a nurse but returned to makeup gigs because of the flexibility. It’s the same reason why she values being paid via Direct Deposit; instead of worrying about going to the bank or waiting for a check to clear, she can dedicate that time and energy to the people who matter most to her.
 

“I will always prioritize my kids,” she says. “From activities and crafts to volunteering at school or raising autism awareness, the most important thing in my life is family. And Direct Deposit helps me always find the time to be there for them.”
 

She continues, “I think everyone should live their lives as beautifully as they can. I think Direct Deposit does that for a lot of people, especially gig workers, by helping us worry less about how we’re receiving our pay. It certainly helps me.”

 

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KaTisha Smittick - VA

KaTisha receives her VA benefits through Direct Deposit.

KaTisha is a skilled professional chef, where she combines her creativity and empathy to create truly unique dishes. But before she found her calling in the kitchen, she spent 11 years as a surgical tech in the U.S. Army, which prepared her for her new career in surprising ways.
 

“The kitchen is a fast-paced place to work, but I found it rather peaceful,” she says. “Everything has to be ‘go go go’, which comes rather easily to me and brings back some of the good memories I have from my service.”
 

She continues, “The camaraderie in the kitchen is similar, too, although not exactly the same—the bonds you create in the military are bonds that last for a lifetime. I can’t have the same kinds of conversations with my kitchen co-workers like I can with someone who served—where I am all in with them, completely open and honest.”
 

Beyond shared service experiences, KaTisha has another thing in common with nearly every veteran. “I get my VA benefits through Direct Deposit, and so does everyone I know,” she says. “It makes life easier for me and my veteran friends because we don’t have to worry about when or how our money will arrive. So we can focus on the things that matter most—and for me now, that’s cooking.”
 

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Jennifer Rios

Jennifer relies on Direct Deposit to receive her VA benefits.

Jennifer is an accomplished CEO, doctoral candidate and business leader in the fields of technology, logistics, professional consulting and more. Much of her drive and experience stems from her 13-year stint in the U.S. Army, where she obtained the rank of staff sergeant (Airborne).

“My service informed my highly specialized technological background, but also how I approach life,” she says. “It’s where I really honed my strategic thinking and decisive personality.”

Jennifer continues, “As someone who’s juggling a lot of things at once, Direct Deposit really helps me manage my finances efficiently. It’s how I pay my employees and vendors, and it’s also how I receive my pay and VA benefits. It’s nice knowing that these critical payments will go through safely and reliably.”

Direct Deposit also frees up mental space for her to reflect and plan during one of her favorite exercise activities: Running. “The key to success for running and exercise, in general, is to set achievable goals and stay consistent,” she says. “Consistency is the key to making progress and staying motivated. It’s why I think Direct Deposit just works, as well: consistency.”
 

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Rita and Larry Cohen

Rita and Larry rely on Direct Deposit for Social Security and retirement benefits.

Rita and Larry met later in life, but they love each other like high school sweethearts, enjoying every moment they can together. Rita in particular is a skilled cook and foodie, putting her legal and cooking skills to work for a D.C. nonprofit dedicated to helping resettle refugees and dragging Larry—who is more of a steak-and-potatoes kind of guy—to acclaimed local restaurants.

Larry’s interests lean toward sports and other more physical activities, as he was a passionate and talented racquetball player before a recent serious illness forced him to slow down. A lot of the couple’s worries now focus on keeping him as healthy as possible—worries that would be overpowering if they had to worry about the safe and reliable delivery of their pensions, Medicare and Social Security benefits. Fortunately, thanks to Direct Deposit, they never have to think about these critical payments.

“It shows up in our bank accounts on time, like clockwork,” Rita says. “It means we can go wherever we need to for Larry’s health, without worrying about how we’ll pay the car to get there, or watch our accounts to get needed medications.”

“It really is a godsend in our lives,” Larry says. “Back when we were young, transferring money and paying for things wasn’t as easy as it is today. Now, we can just live our lives, without thinking about whether our money is safe or that bill payments will arrive late.”

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Legen Gross

Legen relies on Direct Deposit for her voice acting gig work payments.

Young and precocious Legen has a lot of big dreams—and as a voice actor, she’s already making many of them come true. She’s given life to characters for Nickelodeon and Disney, and has her sights set on the big screen. Says Legen, “I want to be an actress in both voiceover and on screen! I also want to be a singer!”

Since she’s a bit too young to worry about her finances, her mom manages all that for her, relying on Direct Deposit for the payments she receives for her voice acting gigs. It’s a safe, simple and reliable way to put money away for her child, helping her fully focus on helping Legen achieve her goals.

Outside of gigs, Legen is just like any other 9-year-old—she loves dancing, cheerleading and gymnastics, and spends a lot of time playing Roblox with her friends. Her youthful enthusiasm is best reflected in her favorite characters to voice. Says Legen, “I have fun doing the animal voices, as long as they’re happy ones!”

 

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Chris Powers

Owner of Ivy and Coney Chris relies on Direct Deposit to pay employees.

For nearly a decade, Chris has been slinging drinks and hot dogs to Midwest expats at beloved D.C. watering hole Ivy and Coney. It’s a destination that’s stuck in time, and intentionally so according to Chris; the food is simple and comforting, the drinks are stiff, and the TVs show nothing but Illinois and Michigan teams.

“I just wanted to provide a space where you can prepare yourself for the disappointment of being a Detroit or Chicago fan,” Chris says. “Come in on football Sunday, have a beer and dog, banter with the staff, and then we can all cry together.”

The faults of favorite teams aside, ensuring the success of his small business took a lot of work. “It’s terrifying yet comforting to run a small business,” he says. “Comforting to know your failures are your own. Terrifying to be responsible for the job security of others.”

Fortunately, that’s where Direct Deposit comes in. “Not having to cut physical checks to my staff is great,” he says. “But our vendors take ACH payments too, and that saves me fees and takes even more paperwork off my plate. Now I have more time than ever to argue about the Lions—and focus on making sure we’ll be here, season after season.”

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Dari Ferguson

Dari receives payments through Direct Deposit.

Dari has been a professional musician for more than 20 years—first as part of an agency, and now fronting her own modern R&B/soul/funk band, Pebble to Pearl. And while she loves the creative freedom of being able to perform originals and reinterpretations of her favorite songs, her role as a bandleader came with other responsibilities.

“You don’t think about the monetary side when you’re a creative person,” she says. “But then when you find some success, it hits you—you need to budget for things like gas, practice spaces, making sure your band members get paid. As someone who works literal gigs, Direct Deposit has been a godsend for getting paid.”

“So many places want to pay you with checks, I hate it!” she says with a laugh. “Direct Deposit makes it so much easier to make sure everyone gets paid, both me and my band—it saves us all a lot of hassle.”

The convenience of Direct Deposit means Dari can spend more time booking gigs, writing originals and performing. “Music is in my blood,” she says. “I grew up listening to a lot of Stevie Wonder, Prince, Tina Turner—I always wanted to share what I felt when I heard those songs with others, and now I get to that regularly.”
 

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Tara McCreedy and Arnold Robles

Tara and Arnold rely on Direct Deposit to get their tax refunds.

Newlyweds Tara and Arnold initially met and bonded over their shared love of eclectic music. “We both really loved digging through record crates, looking for old gems that other people may have missed—soul, garage, Detroit house, new wave, etcetera,” Arnold says. Tara adds with a laugh, “Any guy who knows his way around every record store in a 300-mile radius is a keeper.”



When asked if they were familiar with Direct Deposit, they both shrugged. “I mean, I know what it is,” Arnold says. “It’s how we get paid and our tax refunds —but it’s not something I ever really think about, you know?” Tara continues, “Yeah, we never had a complaint or reason to dig into it—it just works, has always worked. The money we expect shows up in our bank accounts on time, so we don’t really stress about it.”



“It’s honestly nice,” Arnold says. “I remember having to go to the bank every week to deposit my paycheck, and now I can’t remember the last time I’ve even stepped into one. It’s really convenient not having to think all that much about it—just means Tara and I can get into more arguments over which Motown release was the best one.”

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Paul Duong

Paul receives work payments via Direct Deposit.

Paul is a manager, a family man, a sneaker connoisseur and a bit of a romantic. He and his partner were originally high school sweethearts, reuniting later as adults—so they’re learning how to navigate unexpected bumps, obstacles and surprises together, hand-in-hand.

“Our daughter Sienna was born four years ago, and she obviously came with a lot of new responsibilities,” Paul says. “Before, my biggest worries were music, hitting the gym and getting leads on the latest sneaker drops. But now? There’s daycare, pediatricians, college funds—it’s a lot sometimes.”

So even as he scaled back his sneaker collection, his day-to-day concerns scaled up, which he manages with the help of Direct Deposit. “Getting paid via Direct Deposit makes budget management so much easier,” he says. “Knowing my pay will be delivered safely and reliably, and being able to easily split it up into different accounts, really helps me plan for the future.”

Paul continues, “I didn’t really think long-term until I found myself with a family. Now I’m thinking about opening my own business, planning family trips, taking proactive steps to remain healthy—it’s really eye-opening, you know? With all that on my mind, it’s nice to know I won’t have to worry about my paychecks will be delivered thanks to Direct Deposit.”

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John Gray Jr. - VA

John receives his veterans' benefits through Direct Deposit.

Veteran John served in the U.S. Army for nearly 23 years. He joined in 1985 and served in three combat tours—including Operation Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom—before retiring with the rank of Sergeant First Class in 2008. He’s kept busy since then, working as a government analyst and pursuing his passion in endurance bicycling, but he looks back on his time in the service fondly.
 

“My mother didn’t want me to join, but I joined anyway,” he says with a smile. “I needed to strike out on my own. It’s the best decision I’ve ever made in my life.”
 

“I miss the people I met in the Army the most,” he continues. “We all shared a mindset, a joint venture—so there was a real fellowship between us all. I still keep in touch with a lot of them, do a lot of talking, maybe reminisce and shoot a little pool.”
 

The relationships John built in the Army are always on his mind, which is why he appreciates the ease of Direct Deposit. “I receive all my VA benefits through Direct Deposit, so I know they’ll arrive safely and on time,” he says. “I can spend more time shooting the breeze with my old Army buddies, or taking care of my family, without making extra time for a check to arrive and go to the bank to deposit it.” 

 

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Ralph Posner, Walter and Greta

Ralph relies on Direct Deposit to receive his pet insurance reimbursements.

Communications professional Ralph has a soft spot for animals. He’s made a habit of ensuring his dogs always had a companion pup, believing it’s healthier for them emotionally and mentally if they always have a friend. During COVID, he lost one of his beloved pups to old age, leaving his Great Dane/lab mix Greta alone and distressed. Soon though, the hyper-energetic Walter joined his family, and the two have been inseparable since.

Walter has brought both unmatched joy and a new set of worries to Ralph's life; curious and smart, he often gets into trouble looking for a free snack, especially in comparison to the more reserved Greta. “Our house has been much cleaner since we got Walter,” Ralph jokes. “Everything has to be placed in really high locations or completely cleared, or he gets into places he shouldn’t.”

Despite Walter’s mischievousness, Ralph never worries about whether he’s able to take care of their health, thanks to good vets and pet insurance—which reimburses him using Direct Deposit. “It’s nice knowing that the vet bills will always be paid securely, so we don’t have to hesitate taking them when needed,” he says. “It’s great having one less thing to worry about with a rascal like Walter.”

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Diane and Clyde Walbert

Diane and Clyde rely on Direct Deposit for Social Security benefits.

Diane and Clyde are proud grandparents and business owners, having owned and operated Walbert Heating and Air Conditioning for more than 50 years. But even as they settle into their twilight years, they’re not quite ready to retire yet.

“We collect Social Security and have the means, but it’s really hard to move on from our company,” Diane says. “We’re fighters, we don’t give up too easy.”

“We’re a family company, and our clients expect the best,” Clyde adds. “I want to personally guarantee that quality for as long as I can.

Between finding time for their 24-strong family, their business, and occasional trips to the beach, they have a lot on their mind—but one thing they never think about is how they receive their Social Security benefits.

“Shows up right as rain, always on time,” Diane says. “We have so much to do, it’s reassuring to know we don’t have to hunt down our payments or keep an eye on them.”

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Kawthar Ahmed

Kawthar relies on Direct Deposit to get paid for her gig work.

Kawthar is a bartender, sommelier, and local activist—but on top of all that, she’s also a single mother and an artist. “I like to accumulate dashes,” she says with a laugh. “A dash of this, dash of that, a dash of something else or another. It keeps me busy.”
 


With so much of her time occupied, she relies on the convenience and simplicity of Direct Deposit to help organize her life. “I get paid from all sorts of places, including regular jobs and my gig work as an artist and photographer,” she says. “Knowing that my pay will arrive when I expect it, no matter the source, has been extremely helpful. It lets me put all my effort into the two most important things in my life: my art and my son.”
 


Kawthar is looking toward the future, finding new venues to practice her passion for music and visual arts. “Now that my son is getting older, I can spend more time on telling my story, but I also have to start planning for his future,” she says. “Every month, I Split to Save by putting a little more into his college savings account via Direct Deposit—and it’s such a relief knowing that the money will be transferred quickly and safely.”

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Alex Rosenberg / Michael Vidal

Co-Founders of District Biscuit Alex and Michael rely on Direct Deposit for payroll.

Alex and Michael are the co-founders of District Biscuit Company, the region’s premier purveyor of buttery, flaky goodness. Every day, Alex and Michael deliver passion, heart and deliciousness to thousands of Washingtonians, which comes with its own worries.

“Food is such an important part of bringing people together, families together,” says Michael. “It’s why I’m always worried about quality, delivering the best biscuit possible.”

Alex adds, “Great food creates great memories – both for customers and the people making it. We’re always striving to create the ideal experience for our clientele and our staff.”

This is why Direct Deposit has been important to the success of their business. “It helped us move from distributing at local farmers markets to opening an actual brick-and-mortar location,” Michael says. “The convenience helps us ensure that every biscuit that leaves our building is delivered with love, quality and care.”

Says Alex, “When we don’t have to worry about cutting checks, making sure bills and our employees are paid securely and on time, it allows us to be more creative in the kitchen—spending time on the parts of the business that really matter.”

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Emily Premo - payroll

Emily relies on Direct Deposit for her payments from work.

Emily is a recent D.C. transplant, originally hailing from L.A. She worked in entertainment, but her desire to make a tangible difference led her to the nation’s capital; now, she helps organizations and nonprofits communicate their values to wider audiences.

“I miss the beaches and warmth and sun in California, but I love working on issues that matter,” Emily says. “It’s more stressful than what I was doing; when you’re trying to amplify messaging that matters, it starts mattering a lot more to you personally.”

Consequently, her new responsibilities meant she often has a lot on her mind—she now has to worry about everything from politics to novel media platforms to keeping up with best practices for communication. “Direct Deposit has been essential here,” she says. “When I don’t have to worry about making trips to the bank or whether my money will arrive reliably and safely, I can dedicate mind space to my clients and myself.”

 

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Christopher Armstrong

Medical Professional Christopher relies on Direct Deposit for veterans' benefits.

Veteran and medical professional Christopher often has a lot on his mind. He started his long career in the military as part of his university’s Army ROTC; afterward, while attending medical school, his focus on aerospace medicine and training in flight surgery led him to a branch transfer to the Navy and assignment to the Marine Corps. His medical knowledge and cross-branch experience has led him to a career where his main worry is ensuring that patients receive the best health care possible.

“Military service runs in my family,” Christopher says. “My father was a World War II veteran; he insisted that my brother and I enroll in ROTC if we wanted to go to college…and after years of service, I want to give back as much as I can.”

But no matter what’s on his mind, whether it’s his job or his love of travel, the one thing he doesn’t think about is how he receives his VA benefits, which are delivered through Direct Deposit. “I don’t think about whether my benefits will be secure or on time,” Christopher says. “It’s nice to know they’ll just arrive, so I can focus on the things that really matter.”

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Kristine and Stella Thomas

Kristine and Stella rely on Direct Deposit to plan for their futures.

The COVID pandemic was a world-changing event, but it also brought many families closer together—like Kristine and her teenage daughter Stella. “At the beginning, when home-schooling started, it was hard to balance my job and helping Stella stay on track,” Kristine says. “But we’ve also bonded more, really connecting on our shared interests and hobbies.”

Stella adds, “My mom’s one of my best friends—we love to talk about shopping, fashion, even music, and I always look forward to our brunch dates.”


“Now that we’re mostly back to normal, we’re looking toward the future,” Kristine says. “Stella wants to go to NYU, which is a little pricey—but we get our pay via Direct Deposit, which helps us easily make sure a portion of our monthly budget goes toward her college savings. It’s easy, reliable, and it just works.”


Kristine continues, “We’re both really looking forward to taking the next big step in life together, although we’ll miss each other, too. Even then, Direct Payment will help because I can send money to Stella fast and safely, to make sure she can focus on her studies.”

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Jeanne Hos

Jeanne receives her work payments through Direct Deposit.

Jeanne is an award-winning painter, animator and entrepreneur who runs her own pet care business. But most importantly, she considers herself a natural caretaker, with empathy and compassion being her most important qualities.
 

“I’ve worked in both child and elder care, which can be stressful and demanding in different ways,” she says. “I initially got into pet sitting as flexible gig work that provided time for me to work on my art, but as I got more and more gigs, I realized I had a talent for building real connections here, too.”
 

Jeanne continues, “Getting paid via Direct Deposit meant I didn’t have to worry about things like how I’m receiving my money, or visiting the bank—instead, I could focus entirely on my clients, which in turn helped me strike out on my own.”
 

Jeanne’s new venture has provided both freedom and inspiration. “I can walk over 20 miles a day taking care of various animals,” she says. “That also means I have a lot of time to think about my next project, too. But the one thing I’m not thinking about? How I’ll get paid, because Direct Deposit handles all that reliably and safely.”