Guide to Bank Deposits

By Ashley Kilroy · August 08, 2023 · 7 minute read

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Guide to Bank Deposits

A bank deposit is money that you give a financial institution like a bank or credit union to keep safely in an account. You can make bank deposits via cash, checks, online transfers, or direct deposit. The type of deposit you make will determine when you can withdraw funds.

You can make a deposit into a checking or savings account, among others. Some of these accounts may pay interest for the privilege of having your cash on deposit.

Understanding how bank deposits work and the pros and cons of each type of deposit can help you better manage your money. Here’s what you need to know.

What Are Bank Deposits?

The bank deposit definition is when you put money into a bank account. Your bank deposits can go into various accounts such as savings, checking, money market accounts, or certificates of deposits (CDs).

Depositing your money into a bank account can help you accomplish two things:

•   It can keep your money safe.

•   It can help your money grow.

Bank deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) (up to $250,000 per depositor, per ownership category, per financial institution, and in some cases even more). That means your money is a whole lot safer in a bank account than under your mattress.

The other thing you can accomplish by depositing your money is helping it grow. Because many financial institutions offer interest-bearing bank accounts, you can capitalize on compounding interest by not withdrawing funds and also consistently adding to your balance over time.

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How Do Bank Deposits Work?

The type of deposit you make dictates the process.

For example, when you deposit a check, the bank sends a digital image of the check to the payer’s financial institution. While large banks usually communicate directly to clear checks, other banks work through a clearinghouse or a third-party intermediary to verify checks. The clearinghouse organizes all the deposits coming in and out of a specific bank and ensures all deposits are put in and taken out of the correct accounts.

If the payer’s account doesn’t have enough funds to process the check, it will bounce and be returned unpaid. If you have already taken out the funds from the check, you will have to pay the total balance back, usually plus a fee.

Direct deposits, on the other hand, work a little differently. Since direct deposits are scheduled payments, the payer’s or employer’s bank will credit the account before sending the direct deposit. This way, the payer’s bank can ensure the account has enough money to cover the transaction.

Once the funds are deposited, you can access the sum the next business day.

How Long Do Bank Deposits Take to Process?

Process times vary by the financial institution and how the deposit is made. However, federal law limits the time it takes for a bank deposit to process.

•   For example, if you deposit checks totaling $225 or less, the bank must let you access the funds the next business day. So, if you deposited checks on a Monday, you should be able to access your money on Tuesday. However, if there’s a bank holiday, transactions may be delayed.

•   If you deposit a check(s) totaling more than $225 you will have access to the first $225 the next business day. Then, you will have access to the remaining deposit the following business day.

•   When you deposit a check from another account from that financial institution, a government check, or a certified check in person at a bank branch, you should have access to the money the next business day.

Keep in mind some banks and credit unions apply cut-off times, which dictate the end of the day. So, if you deposit after the cut-off time, you may have to wait an extra business day before accessing the deposit.

Also, other types of deposits have different processing time. For example, wire transfers, and ACH deposits may take between one and five business days to process.

Here are a few reasons why it can take longer for your deposit to process:

•   You’re depositing money into a new account

•   You made an ATM deposit to an ATM outside the financial institution’s network

•   If you have a deposited check that was returned unpaid

•   Your deposits exceed $5,525

•   You’ve overdrawn your account too many times.

Recommended: Causes of Overspending

2 Types of Bank Deposits

There are two primary types of bank deposits: demand deposits and time deposits. Here’s a breakdown of each.

Demand Deposits

Demand deposits consist of money you put into the bank that you can take out when you need cash. Demand deposit accounts usually have minimal interest rates (or no interest), but they give you more freedom to withdraw money when needed. These types of deposits can be made to three types of accounts, including:

•   Checking accounts. This type of account is meant for everyday transactions. You can deposit and withdraw money as often as you want. Usually, checking accounts have checks and debit cards linked to them so you can access your money when you’re on the go.

•   Savings accounts. This type of account is designed to help you sock your money away for short-term or long-term goals. Since the different types of savings accounts are meant for savings, some banks apply withdrawal limits, limiting the number of monthly withdrawal transactions that can occur in an account.

Savings accounts may also have interest rates higher than checking accounts. This is especially true if you deposit funds at an online vs. traditional bank.

•   Money market accounts. This type of account combines the features of a savings account with those of a checking account. Money market accounts let you earn interest like a savings account. They can also provide a debit card and checks so you can withdraw funds.

Time Deposits

A time deposit is when you put money into a deposit account with a fixed rate and term, like certificates of deposit (CDs). You can only take money out of a time deposit account once the term expires. (You may have to pay a penalty if you take money out of the account beforehand. But whether you get a penalty or not depends on the type of account and the financial institution.)

For example, let’s say you deposit $5,000 in a CD that earns 5% interest for one year. Then, after one year, you can withdraw $5,250.00, which includes your deposit and interest earned.

You can think of banks as using time deposit accounts to borrow money from depositors. In exchange for borrowing money for a certain amount of time, the bank usually gives the depositor a fixed interest rate, typically higher than traditional savings accounts. At the end of the term, the depositor can take out the money in the account or renew the time deposit for another term.

Recommended: What Is an Electronic Check (E-Check)?

What Are Mobile Deposits?

Many banks and credit unions now offer mobile banking, giving you access to banking services no matter where you are. You can make mobile check deposits from your phone as part of mobile banking. So, instead of driving to an ATM or local bank branch, you can deposit it on your mobile device.

All you have to do is:

•   Download the bank’s mobile banking app.

•   Log into your account.

•   Choose the account you want to deposit the check into.

•   Endorse the back of the check.

•   Enter the amount of the check.

•   Snap a photo of the front and back of the check.

•   Review the deposit information, and then hit deposit.

Remember, though, there can be limits on the amount and type of checks you can deposit on your mobile app. For example, some banks prohibit depositing third-party checks, money orders, traveler’s checks, and foreign checks. So, verify the rules with your bank or credit union.

Also, if you deposit a check using the mobile app, keep the paper check until the check clears. This way, you’ll have a backup if it doesn’t go through or there is an error.

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What are the 2 types of bank deposits?

Demand deposits and time deposits are the two types of bank deposits. A demand deposit references deposits made into an account such as a checking or saving account where you can withdraw. A time deposit, on the other hand, refers to a deposit made to an account with a fixed interest rate and set terms, like certificates of deposits.

What happens if you deposit more than $10,000 in the bank?

When you deposit $10,000 or more into a financial institution, federal law requires them to report the deposit to the federal government. The federal government requires this alert to help prevent money laundering and fraud.

Does deposit mean payment?

Yes, deposits can mean an initial payment towards a product or service. It can also mean putting something of value away for safekeeping, like when you make a bank deposit to a bank.

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SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a recurring deposit of regular income to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government benefit payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, or are non-recurring in nature (e.g., IRS tax refunds), do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

As an alternative to direct deposit, SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at


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