How to Make a Cash Deposit — Including at an Online Bank

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Updated on Monday, November 30, 2020

There are several ways you can deposit cash into a bank account: You can go to your local bank branch, make a deposit via an ATM or even convert your cash into a money order to deposit your money into your online bank account. Here’s what you need to know about making a cash deposit.

How to make a cash deposit

Go to your local bank or credit union

Depositing cash at a bank or credit union in person is the most traditional way to make a cash deposit. If you have a checking or saving account at either a bank or credit union, you can go directly to the teller at a brick-and-mortar branch to make a cash deposit.

You will typically need to fill out a deposit slip, providing your name, account number and the amount of your cash deposit. You will pass this slip to the teller along with the cash you are depositing.

If you’d like to deposit cash but don’t have a bank account, opening an account is typically a fairly simple process.

Fees: Banks don’t charge you to deposit funds into a personal account. However, banks can charge a monthly account maintenance fee if some requirements are not met, such as a minimum balance or a certain number of deposits every month. Compare banks with the lowest fees to get the best deal.

How soon your funds should be available: A bank or credit union has until the next business day, at a minimum, to make your funds available, though your funds may be available immediately.

Deposit cash at an ATM

Another option is to deposit cash at an ATM. In general, the process of depositing cash at an ATM is as follows:

  • Step 1: Insert your debit card when prompted by the ATM.
  • Step 2: Navigate to the “deposits” screen.
  • Step 3: Select the account into which you will make your deposit.
  • Step 4: Enter the total amount of your funds.
  • Step 5: Insert your cash into the ATM. Some machines may ask you to put the cash in a provided envelope, while others allow you to deposit a stack of up to 30 bills.
  • Step 6: Be sure to get a receipt that confirms your cash deposit, just in case there is some issue with it being credited to your account.
  • Step 7: Remove your debit card.

You don’t have to go to your local branch to deposit funds at an ATM — you can use any ATM associated with a bank where you currently have an account. However, you will first want to check whether the ATM accepts cash deposits, as not all do.

If you do your banking with a large national bank, this should make it relatively easy to find an ATM through which to deposit your cash. If you have an account with a smaller bank or credit union, however, you may have a harder time finding an ATM.

Some banks and credit unions have partnerships with ATM networks that allow you to deposit funds free of charge using in-network ATMs. If your bank or credit union doesn’t have a partnership with a larger ATM network, chances are you’ll either be charged a service fee for trying to deposit cash, or the ATM simply won’t accept your deposit.

You also may be able to deposit cash at an ATM that doesn’t belong to your bank, though some banks charge you a fee for doing so. For example, with the Chase Premier Plus Checking account, only your first four non-Chase ATM transactions per statement are free. After that, you’ll face a $2.50 fee. You could also be charged a fee from the ATM operator.

Fees: Using a non-network ATM could result in a fee from your bank ($2.50 per inquiry is Chase’s fee), and you could also incur a fee from the ATM operator.

How soon your funds should be available: Cash deposits to an ATM should be available immediately, although your bank technically has until the second business day after your deposit to make them available.

How can you deposit cash to an online bank?

Finding out how to deposit cash into an online bank with no physical branches can be one of the trickier elements of online banking, but you do have options. Here’s what you can do if your bank doesn’t have a location you can visit:

  • Use an ATM in the online bank’s network: Most online banks have a partnership with an ATM network where you can deposit your funds. For example, online-only Ally Bank has a partnership with Allpoint ATMs that allows you to make no-fee transactions at those particular ATMs. Compare online bank accounts to assess the size of their ATM networks. If you decide to do all your banking at online-only banks, you’ll want ATMs that are convenient to your location.
  • Deposit cash to a local account and then make a transfer: If you have an account through a bank that does have a brick-and-mortar location, you could opt to make a cash deposit there before transferring the money through a service such as Zelle, or directly through your online bank’s website. Keep in mind that there are limits on how much money you can transfer each day. For example, Bank of America allows a maximum of $3,500 to be transferred out of your account via Zelle each day.
  • Convert your cash into a money order: Chances are your online bank allows you to deposit checks or money orders through mobile deposit. You can convert your cash into a money order and then deposit it into your bank account. This is how online bank Simple, for example, recommends its customers deposit cash. There are fees associated with getting a money order, though. For example, Walmart charges a maximum fee of $1 per money order, while SunTrust charges $5 per money order.
  • Load cash on a prepaid debit card: If you buy a prepaid debit card and link it to your online account, you could deposit your cash onto the card and either spend it or transfer it to your bank through an ACH transfer. Remember, if you go this route, you could incur extra fees. Common costs include a monthly fee, transaction fee and even a balance inquiry fee or cash reload fee.

How much cash can you deposit?

Most banks do not put a limit on your total deposit amount, although you should keep in mind that, if you are depositing cash through an ATM, you can only fit a stack of 30 bills at a time — sometimes less. If you visit your bank teller, you should be able to deposit as much cash as you need.

That said, it can get a bit more complicated if you are trying to deposit more than $10,000 into your bank account, whether through cash or check. You are required to report any deposits of $10,000 or more to the IRS by filing Form 8300. This helps the IRS in its efforts against crimes such as money laundering or tax evasion.