Plaid Auth is an easy and secure way for end users to connect their bank accounts to applications. It provides a seamless experience for users to authenticate their bank accounts, enabling applications to retrieve account and routing numbers for ACH and wire transfers. Plaid uses a few different approaches to ensure that the account and routing number data we provide is accurate while supporting as many institutions as possible. This results in different experiences for the end user, which are important to understand when working with your users.
The most common flow that users experience with Plaid Auth is Instant Auth. In this flow, users enter their bank credentials and are authenticated immediately. This is the default flow and covers approximately 90% of users' eligible bank accounts. In this flow, the user simply enters their banking credentials and completes any security confirmations with the bank, and Plaid obtains the account information on the user's behalf.
Some Plaid integrations are unable to support instant Auth, and in these cases, users can connect using one of the fallback Auth approaches. Plaid will attempt to use the flows in the order of preference listed below.
For users in the United States, Plaid also offers the Instant Match flow. In this flow, users enter their credentials, account number, and routing number. Plaid matches the user input and authenticates immediately. The user entered data is verified against the account mask information Plaid obtains from the bank.
Instant Match is enabled by default, and does not require any additional code in your application.
For integrations that do not support instant auth or instant match, but do support the transactions product, Plaid offers the Automated Micro-deposits flow. In this flow, users enter their credentials, account number, and routing number. Plaid makes a micro-deposit and automatically verifies the deposit in as little as one to two business days. This verification is completed using the transactions data Plaid obtains from the institution.
Automated Micro-deposits is not enabled by default. and requires changes to your application in order to be supported. For more information on implementing this flow in a Plaid application, refer to the Automated Micro-deposits information in the Plaid Docs.
Same Day Micro-deposits
For all other institutions, the final fallback option for users in the United States is the Same Day Micro-deposits flow. In this flow, users enter their account and routing numbers. Plaid makes a Same Day ACH micro-deposit and the user manually verifies the code in as little as one business day. In this flow, Plaid does not connect to the institution directly or receive any data from the institution; the only data available is the account and routing numbers provided by the user. This flow is only available for the Auth product, and does not support other Plaid Products.
Same Day Micro-deposits is not enabled by default. and requires changes to your application in order to be supported. For more information on implementing this flow in a Plaid application, refer to the Same Day Micro-deposits information in the Plaid Docs.
Auth Type Select
By default, Plaid will automatically determine which flow to use based on the institution the user selects. However, if your application uses Auth Type Select, users will see an additional pane allowing them to select between instant or manual Auth. Selecting Instantly will use Instant Auth, Instant Match, or Same Day Micro-deposits, while selecting Manually will use the manual micro-deposit flow.
Learn more about implementing Auth Type Select in the Plaid Docs.