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Banking

Can You Deposit Cash at an ATM?

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You can easily deposit cash or checks at many ATMs, but not all. There are plenty of ATMs that do not accept deposits, or that won’t accept deposits if you bank with a different financial institution. Furthermore, there are banks, such as Ally Bank and Discover Bank, that do not allow cash deposits at all, regardless of whether they’re made at an ATM.

Don’t be discouraged, though – there are plenty of ATMs that do accept cash deposits. To successfully deposit cash at an ATM, here’s what you can expect as far as the process, any fees involved and commonly encountered issues.

How to make cash deposits at an ATM

Once you’ve established that your bank accepts cash or check deposits at an ATM — whether in-network or out-of-network — it’s time to hunt one down. Many banks offer features on their website or mobile app that will show you in-network ATMs near you. Additionally, ATM networks like MoneyPass and AllPoint have features on their websites that allow you to search for nearby ATMs, filtering for only the ones that accept deposits.

After you’ve located a deposit-taking ATM, you can prepare to make your deposit. While ATM machines vary, in general, these are the steps you can expect to take when depositing cash or a check at an ATM:

  1. Insert your debit card and PIN code.
  2. Select “Deposit.”
  3. Choose the account you’d like to deposit your money into.
  4. Enter the amount of money you’re depositing, and insert your signed check or cash.
  5. Confirm the accurate dollar amount of your deposit.
  6. Answer any remaining questions and be sure to exit it out of the screen and back to the ATM homepage. Take your receipt and bank card with you before leaving.

Can I deposit money at an ATM that’s not my bank?

Whether you can deposit money at an ATM that is out-of-network with your bank depends on your financial institution’s policies. For context, banks that will only allow you to make deposits at ATMs in their network, and not others, include:

  • Bank of America
  • Chase Bank
  • Citibank
  • Wells Fargo

Many big banks will partner with an ATM machine network — like MoneyPass or Allpoint — allowing customers to make withdrawals surcharge-free from those ATMs. However, while your bank might allow you to make withdrawals at an ATM in its partner network, that does not mean it will also allow you to make deposits at those machines. You will first need to check with your financial institution.

When shopping around for a bank, do not assume that all ATMs will be able to accept your cash or check deposits. Instead, if being able to deposit cash at an ATM is important to you, make sure to ask whether the bank accepts cash or check deposits at its own network of ATMs, at partner network ATMs or at any ATMs at all.

How do you deposit cash at an online-only bank?

Without the accessibility of brick-and-mortar branches as a customer of an online-only bank, determining where you can make your cash deposits can be tricky. In many cases, online banks require you to deposit cash by transferring it from another bank account via ACH transfer. There are a handful of banks, though, that accept deposits at a network of ATMs, including Radius Bank and Capital One 360.

Other common ways that online-only banks accept deposits include:

  • Direct deposit
  • Remote check deposit via mobile app
  • Wire transfers
  • Mailed check
  • Via cash registers at retail locations through partner programs (such as Chime Bank’s partnership with Green Dot’s At the Register)

What are the fees for ATM cash deposits?

Many banks do not charge a fee specifically for making deposits at ATMs — although if you have a business checking account, cash deposit fees (in general, not at ATMs) are par for the course.

However, you should keep in mind that ATM machines are notorious for charging a bundle of fees that can be tricky to unpack. General ATM fees that you should be aware of include:

  • ATM operator’s fee: If you’re using an ATM that is out of your bank’s network, you might be charged a fee by the company or bank that owns the machine. These fees can range from $1.50 to $10 per transaction.
  • Non-network fee charged by your bank: If you use an ATM that is outside of your bank’s network, your own bank might tack on a fee that can range from $2.00 to $3.50.

When will my money be available from an ATM cash deposit?

While funds you deposit at an ATM are not required to be immediately available, deposited cash will likely be available right away. Checks, on the other hand. might take one business day to become available.

Check or deposit holds, though, are common, and can last from one to 11 days. Holds can be triggered for many reasons, and are put in place to make sure there are enough funds to back up a transaction. In fact, making a deposit at an ATM outside of your bank’s network can be a reason in itself for triggering a deposit hold. If you want to avoid a hold, consider making your deposit in person, if possible.

If you find yourself facing a deposit hold after depositing cash at an ATM, rest assured the Expedited Funds Availability Act puts limits on how long banks and credit unions can wait to give you access to your cash.

What are the common problems of depositing cash at an ATM?

Depositing cash at an ATM isn’t always the most effective way to get your banking business done. Downsides of depositing cash at an ATM include:

  • There are safety concerns. Before pulling out a wad of cash in public, make sure you are in a well-lit area, keep your cash out of plain view and safeguard your PIN code.
  • It might take longer to receive your funds. As noted earlier, depositing cash at an ATM — especially an out-of-network ATM — can trigger a longer hold time on your deposit.
  • There could be limited availability. Options of deposit-taking ATMs in your network can be slim, and finding one nearby might be a cumbersome process.

Banks that provide the most flexible cash-deposit options

If being able to deposit cash at an ATM is high on your priority list, below are a few banks worth exploring. The banks below all boast large ATM networks that accept cash deposits, giving customers a plethora of options to choose from. You can also check out our picks for the best checking accounts with no ATM fees.

BankATM Deposit Policy
Capital One Allows customers to deposit cash at over 39,000 Capital One or AllPoint ATMs, as long as it’s an ATM that takes cash
Radius BankAllows customers to make deposits at deposit-taking MoneyPass ATMs
PNC BankAllows customers to deposit cash or checks at non-PNC Bank ATMs (in addition to its own network)

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News

Study: The Best Jobs for Working from Home

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In recent months, clocking in from the comfort of your couch has become the new norm, as the coronavirus pandemic has transformed the landscape of the U.S. workforce by forcing millions of employees to adopt remote work. However, some occupations fare much better for remote work than others when it comes to salary potential and long-term demand.

A new study from MagnifyMoney identifies the best and worst jobs for remote work or telecommuting. For the purposes of this study, we looked at a multitude of metrics to determine a profession’s suitability for working from home, including how many people doing each job already work from home, earning potential and future growth in employment for each job.

Key findings

  • We found that the job of sales representative is No. 1 in best careers for working remotely. Roughly 13% of sales representatives work from home, and growth in demand for this job is expected to be very strong. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts job growth of 7.2% over the ten years from 2018 to 2028 — that’s about 76,000 new jobs.
  • The No. 2 job for best telecommuting careers in our study is management analyst. This job has the fifth-highest work from home rate among the jobs we examined, and the BLS predicts strong growth in this field over the 2018-2028 period. However, be warned that recent data has shown earnings for management analysts are not rising at a high rate, suggesting there may be a ceiling – albeit a high one – on potential earnings.
  • Computer and information systems manager is ranked at No. 3 for best careers for remote work. Roughly 10% of workers in this occupation work from home. In addition to its high rate of remote work, this occupation is attractive because of the high pay: the average computer and information systems manager makes over $140,000 per year.
  • While they didn’t manage to crack the top 50 in our analysis, writers and authors are the jobs with the highest work from home rate. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that about 2 in 5 writers and authors work from home.
  • Travel agents had the second-highest work from home rate. Roughly 30% of travel agents work from home.
  • About 29% of farmers, ranchers and agricultural managers work from home, making them the occupation group with the third-highest work from home rate.
  • Understandably, the bottom of the rankings largely consists of occupations where it is unrealistic to work from home, including many manufacturing and industrial jobs.

Top 5 jobs for working from home

Sales representatives

Topping our ranking of the best jobs to work from home is sales representatives. Sales reps were boosted by the metric that measured job growth and opportunities: We found that there is an expected job growth of 7.2% for sales representatives from 2018 to 2028. Currently, sales reps already boast a healthy work from home rate, with 13% of them working remotely. The one metric that sales representatives had a low ranking in was wages. In 2018, the median annual earnings was $54,550, ranking in the No. 63 spot for that metric.

Management analysts

In the second place spot for our ranking of the best jobs for working from home is management analysts, thanks to lots of potential employment opportunities and a remote-friendly work structure. This occupation had a strong showing for the metrics measuring the current work from rate, with 24% working from home — resulting in fifth place for that metric in our analysis — as well as the metric measuring the total employment change, with just over 118,000 jobs expected to be added by 2028.

Computer and information systems managers

Computer and information systems managers are ranked third in best jobs for working from home, according to our study. The overall ranking for this profession was boosted by wages — in 2018, computer and information systems managers had median annual earnings of $142,530, with a 2.40% growth in wages from 2017 to 2018, resulting in the second place spot for that metric in our analysis. Meanwhile, 10% of computer and information systems managers work from home, and there is a predicted job growth of 11% in the 2018-2028 period.

Market research analysts and marketing specialists

The fourth-best job for working from home according to our study goes to market research analysts and marketing specialists. With a healthy work from home rate of 14%, this occupation had strong rankings for the metrics measuring job growth: With a predicted addition of nearly 140,000 jobs by 2028, that’s growth rate of 20% over the decade, that’s a lot of opportunities.

Financial managers

Rounding out the top five for our ranking of the best jobs to work from home is financial manager. While financial managers currently have a somewhat low work from home rate of 4%, this occupation was boosted by strong rankings in other metrics. We found that financial managers had high annual median earnings in 2018 of nearly $128,000, a 2.30% growth from 2017. There’s also robust growth expected for the financial manager field, with an estimated 105,000 jobs added between 2018 to 2028, making for a rate growth rate of 16% over the period.

Worst jobs for working from home

A common theme among the best jobs for remote work is that many rely on technology that is easily accessible at home, namely computers and phones. Understandably, the opposite appears to be true for the jobs at the bottom of our study’s ranking, many of which rely on machinery or infrastructure that is not realistically accessible from one’s home. Many of these jobs are also estimated to decline in the 2018 to 2028 period, indicating limited and shrinking opportunity for work in these fields.

The worst job to work from home, according to our study, is forging machine setters, operators and tenders for metal and plastic. The name of the occupation itself indicates that this is likely not a job that can be performed at home, which explains its low work from home rate of 1%. Meanwhile, this occupation also had an expected loss of over 3,000 jobs by 2028, or a nearly 20% reduction over the period, underscoring the shrinking opportunity in this field.

Other occupations that fell to the bottom of our study’s ranking of the best jobs to work from home include rolling machine setters, operators and tenders of metal and plastic, pressers of textiles, garments and other related materials, tool and die makers and forest and conservation workers.

Jobs with the highest work from home rate

Our overall ranking took many metrics, such as wages and job growth, into consideration when determining the best jobs for working from home. However, one major consideration factor is how common remote work is in particular fields. While some jobs cultivate remote-friendly work cultures, others — like the manufacturing jobs mentioned above — are not able to realistically accommodate remote work.

If being able to work from home is your top priority, you might want to consider a job as a writer or author. This was the occupation with the highest work from home rate of our study, at a whopping 38%. Other jobs that boasted high work from home rates included travel agents (29%), farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers (29%), door-to-door sales workers, news and street vendors and related workers (24%), management analysts (24%) and photographers (24%).

Methodology

For this study, MagnifyMoney looked at data for 579 occupations from the 2018 U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, comparing them on the following metrics:

  • Estimated employment change for 2018-2028. This shows the total new jobs for each occupation. A higher number indicates more potential employment.
  • Percent change in estimated employment change for 2018-2028. This shows how fast an occupation is growing or declining. Faster growth means greater long-term opportunity.
  • Percent of workers who work from home. A higher number indicates the job is more suitable for remote work.
  • Occupational openings for 2018-2028. This is the number of job openings projected between 2018-2028. A higher number indicates more opportunity.
  • 2018 median earnings. This is the median annual earnings for each occupation.
  • Percent change in earnings for 2017-2018. This is the percent change in earnings for each occupation from 2017 to 2018.

In order to create our final rankings, we first ranked each occupation in each metric. We then found each occupation’s average ranking across the metrics, giving a double weighting to self-employment rate. Using this average ranking, we assigned a score to each occupation. The occupations with the highest scores ranked first, while the occupation with the lowest score ranked last.

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Investing

What Is a SEP IRA?

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A Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) IRA is an individual retirement account (IRA) that is set up and funded by employers, including self-employed workers. It is a great retirement savings opportunity for employees, as the money doesn’t come out of your paycheck.

SEP IRAs are also doubly tax beneficial for sole proprietors, since contributions are tax-deductible and the money grows tax-deferred. Despite these tax benefits, SEP IRA plans may not yield the best monetary returns compared to other retirement savings accounts, potentially hampering your full retirement savings potential.

How do SEP IRAs work?

SEP IRA plans can be established by businesses of all sizes for their employees, as well as by self-employed workers. Like traditional IRAs, they are investment accounts intended to help workers save for retirement. SEP IRAs are established by the employer (or self-employed worker), but each employee gets to choose and manage their own investments within the account.

For employees, SEP IRAs are a nice add-on to your retirement savings, especially since contributions don’t come out of your paycheck. Employees are always 100% vested in the money in their account. This means you don’t have to wait to have worked at your job for a certain amount of time to fully own the money in your SEP IRA.

For employers and self-employed individuals, there’s a double tax benefit on top of the retirement savings. While you’re making contributions, you get to reduce your taxable income since the deductions are tax-deductible. The investments inside the account also grow tax-deferred, so you don’t have to pay taxes on those earnings until you make withdrawals in retirement.

Employers may also appreciate the relative low operating cost and ease with which you can open a SEP IRA compared to other retirement accounts.

Who can get a SEP IRA?

Per the IRS, SEP IRA-eligible employees must the following requirements:

  • Be at least 21 years old.
  • Have worked for their employer in at least three of the last five years.
  • Have received at least $600 in compensation from their employer during the year.

Employers can choose to loosen these requirements, but they cannot make them more restrictive. However, employers do have the authority to withhold SEP IRA eligibility from employees who are covered by a union agreement and whose retirement benefits were bargained by the union and employer, as well as from non-resident alien employees who do not have U.S. wages, salaries or compensation from the employer.

These eligibility requirements also extend to self-employed workers who can choose to open a SEP IRA for themselves. If you’re self-employed and have another job in which your employer also offers a SEP IRA, you can set up a SEP IRA at both jobs.

SEP IRA contribution limits

Unless you’re a self-employed individual, only your employer can contribute to your SEP IRA plan, and the money they contribute does not come out of your paycheck. In 2020, SEP IRA contributions cannot exceed the lesser of either 25% of your compensation or $57,000. An employee’s compensation may reach up to $285,000 in 2020 and still be considered to calculate the 25% limit. There are no catch-up contributions for SEP IRAs.

Employers must contribute equally to all eligible employees’ SEP IRA plans, but the percentages of those contributions can change from year to year, providing employers with some level of flexibility. Contributions must be made in cash and by the employer’s federal tax filing deadline. For the employer, SEP IRA contributions are tax-deductible.

As an employee, the contributions your employer makes to your SEP IRA plan don’t affect how much you can contribute to another IRA on your own. SEP IRA contributions also are not included in your gross income as an employee (unless they are excess contributions) and therefore are not taxable.

Self-employed SEP IRA contribution limits

Self-employed workers are held to the same contribution limits, where compensation is based on net profits. There are also differences when determining the maximum deductible contribution. For example, for the 2019 tax year, self-employed individuals’ maximum deductible contribution for SEP IRAs was 25% of all participants’ compensation. Self-employed workers can calculate their SEP IRA contribution limits here.

Sole proprietors who contribute to an SEP IRA can also take advantage of the double tax benefits. Earnings in a SEP IRA grow tax-deferred inside the account and contributions are tax-deductible.

SEP IRA withdrawal rules

You must start taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your SEP IRA starting at age 72 for those whose 70th birthday fell on or after July 1, 2019 (for 70th birthdays before that date, the RMD age is 70 ½).

However, you cannot withdraw funds before the age of 59 ½ without paying a 10% penalty on top of taxes for the withdrawal. Withdrawals may be made penalty-free for qualifying first-time home purchase and select college expenses.

When you do withdraw money during retirement, you will be taxed on those distributions based on your tax bracket at the time of withdrawal.

How do I invest in a SEP IRA?

For employees, your employer can only do so much to help you save for retirement. After your employer has set up your account and made their contributions, it’s up to you to invest the money.

Your exact investment options will depend on the institution your employer has picked for your SEP IRA. But since it’s a retirement account, make sure to diversify your investments among stocks and bonds across various industries to create a more balanced portfolio. Investing in exchange-traded funds (ETFs), or groups of investments, can help you do that more easily. This diversification will help mitigate risk and losses along the way.

If you’re younger and further away from your retirement, you have some room to be a riskier with your investments by investing in stocks, which tend to be more volatile. That way, if there is a downturn, those investments will have time to recover before you need to cash them in when you retire. If you’re closer to retirement, you’ll want to play it safer with more stable investments that will carry you through.

SEP IRA vs. other retirement accounts

Despite the potential tax benefits, a SEP IRA plan may not result in the best returns for a freelancer or sole proprietor.

Here’s how the contribution limits for a SEP IRA for a 40-year-old sole proprietor in tax year 2020 compare to those of other popular retirement plan options:

Self-employed net profit

SEP IRA maximum contribution

Solo 401(k) maximum contribution

SIMPLE IRA maximum contribution

Traditional IRA maximum contribution

$50,000$9,294$28,794$14,853$6,000
$100,000$18,587$38,087$16,207$6,000
$200,000$37,757$57,000$18,999$6,000
$300,000$57,000$57,000$21,872$6,000
Source: National Life Group

SEP IRA vs. solo 401(k)

A solo 401(k) is just like a regular 401(k), just meant for sole proprietors and their spouse, if applicable. For sole proprietors, SEP IRAs and solo 401(k) plans operate pretty similarly. You contribute to both plans with your earned pretax money, and you can adjust your contribution percentage however you like. Earnings in both accounts grow tax-deferred, but you pay taxes on your withdrawals in retirement (unless you open a Roth solo 401(k) plan).

However, freelancers with a solo 401(k) can contribute as both employer and employee, which increases how much they can contribute each year significantly.

“If someone is self-employed, they could be limited in their SEP contribution,” said Ted Toal, a certified financial planner (CFP) and president at RCS Financial Planning in Annapolis, Md. “If they want to save more but the SEP formula doesn’t allow them to, they should instead look to open a solo 401(k).”

The exact outcome depends on your income and how much you wish to save. In nearly all cases in the table above, you’ll be able to save more with a solo 401(k), but you should confirm that’s the case for you. Only when you reach $300,000 in net profit, in this example, does the SEP IRA catch up to the solo 401(k) where they both max out.

SEP IRA vs. SIMPLE IRA

Small businesses with 100 employees or fewer may also consider a SIMPLE IRA as an option. Unlike SEP IRAs, employees may also contribute to SIMPLE IRAs. Employers may also make contributions of up to 3% of their employee’s compensation as an employer match or a flat 2% of the employee’s compensation.

You’ll see in the table above that SIMPLE IRA contribution limits for the 40-year-old sole proprietor in 2020 dip below SEP IRA limits once you get into $100,000 net income territory. If you’re self-employed and you really want to maximize your savings in one of these IRAs, the SIMPLE IRA option will work if you net less income.

Business owners should also note that SIMPLE IRAs have higher income requirements for employees to be eligible. An employee must have earned at least $5,000 in compensation during any two years before the current year and expect to receive at least $5,000 during the current year to be eligible for a SIMPLE IRA.

SEP IRA vs. traditional IRA

For self-employed folks, you will still be funding a traditional IRA with your own earnings, but the plan isn’t connected to your business. Instead, you’ll have to contribute to the account on your own with after-tax dollars. Still, the funds inside the account will grow tax-free, and you’ll pay taxes on the withdrawals you make in retirement.

For 2020, you can contribute up to $6,000 (or $7,000 if you’re age 50 or older) or your taxable compensation for the year, if it was less than $6,000 (or $7,000). Contributions to a traditional IRA aren’t tied to your income levels, unlike an SEP IRA, so you don’t get to contribute more to your traditional IRA the more money you make. You can open a traditional IRA as a supplementary retirement account alongside a SEP IRA if you’re maxing out your SEP IRA.

Is a SEP IRA right for you?

For regular employees, a SEP IRA plan is great, because the account’s contributions aren’t coming out of your own earned money as they do with a traditional 401(k) plan. They also still allow you to contribute to other IRAs that you set up for yourself.

For freelancers, a SEP IRA is one of the simplest retirement accounts to open. If it aligns with your income levels and you play it right, it may allow you to save enough to live comfortably during retirement.

That being said, if you’re a sole proprietor with modest income, you may find a SEP IRA is limiting in terms of its allowable contributions. In the short term, you can separately fund a Roth or traditional IRA for an additional $6,000 a year if you’re under the age of 50, or $7,000 if you’re 50 or older (as of 2020).

If you have grander savings aspirations, a solo 401(k) may be a better solution as it can allow for higher contributions. It’s also worth noting that solo 401(k) plans allow for catch-up contributions and loans, neither of which are possible with a SEP IRA. Remember, however, that you only can open a solo 401(k) if you’re a sole proprietor or your only employee is your spouse.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.