How Do You Open a Business Checking Account?

How Do You Open a Business Checking Account?

Opening a business checking account isn’t much different from opening a personal account, but it’s an important step when it comes to running your business. A business account can help you keep your personal finances separate from your professional transactions. This, in turn, can make growing your credibility and completing your taxes easier, among other benefits.

The requirements to open a business checking account tend to vary, depending on the financial institution and other factors like your location and business entity. But, in most cases, it’s generally a straightforward process to start one.

Let’s take a closer look at:

•   What a business checking account is

•   How it works

•   How to open a business checking account.

What Is a Business Checking Account?

If you have a personal checking account, you may wonder, “What is a business checking account anyway? Do I really need a separate account?” Let’s get those questions answered. A business checking account is similar to a personal checking account in that you have flexibility in your day-to-day banking. Depending on the type of account, you may be offered features such as unlimited transactions, a debit or ATM card, and check-writing capabilities.

In some cases, you may even be able to earn interest. But, and this is important, business checking accounts are meant to house a company’s funds. Therefore, there may be different features and requirements to maintain the account. Check with a few banks to get acquainted with the details.

Now, for that second question — “Do I need a separate business account?” — the answer is probably “yes” if you own a business. Even a brand new, currently part-time endeavor may need a small business account. In terms of a business vs. personal checking account, you want to keep that biz income separate for tax purposes and to gain legitimacy for your enterprise. Also, if you need to be paying employees or vendors, a business account is the way to go, so as not to get those kinds of transactions mixed up with, say, your home-loan payments and other personal expenses.

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!


How Does a Business Checking Account Work?

Business checking accounts are quite similar to personal checking, but they typically have different limitations, fees, and balance requirements. For instance, business checking accounts may come with higher bank fees, especially if your business deals with a large amount of transactions. In that same vein, there may also be higher minimum balance requirements to waive monthly fees or to earn interest.

That’s not to say they aren’t budget-friendly options. Many online business checking accounts are being offered to smaller businesses or sole proprietors, though they may not offer interest earnings.

You can use a business checking account to conduct transactions such as bill paying, receiving funds, and writing checks. In many cases, you may even be able to order debit cards for you and your employees to withdraw money and make purchases. The primary account holder (such as the business owner) can set ATM withdrawal limits and spending limits for employee cards.

Can Anyone Open a Business Checking Account?

Almost anyone can open an bank account as long as they have the right type of documentation. In general, you’ll need to prove that you own a business. Now, what if you’re a sole proprietor or an independent contractor (say, a gig worker)? Even if you don’t have the usual kind of paperwork, you may still be able to open a business checking account. However, you’ll probably need to speak with the bank to see how you can do so.

What You Need to Open a Business Checking Account

The types of documentation you’ll need to provide depends on the bank at which you’re opening a business bank account and also on your legal business entity. Typically, sole proprietors will only need to provide their personal information, whereas LLCs and corporations will need documentation about the company and details from each of the majority owners.

Here’s a list of what kind of identification and documentation you’ll most likely need to provide to start your account. This applies whether you are heading to a bricks-and-mortar branch or opening an online business checking account:

•   Personal information: Financial institutions will require some form of government-issued photo ID such as a driver’s license or passport. If you have multiple business owners, then banks may require personal details of each owner.

•   Employer Identification Number (EIN): Every business should have an EIN, though sole proprietors and single-member LLCs may be able to submit their Social Security number in their application.

•   Business details: You’ll need to provide your business name, address, and, if applicable, your DBA (doing business as) name. In many cases, you’ll also need to disclose the industry your business falls under.

•   Documentation: Depending on your business entity, you’ll have to provide your business name registration certificate, business license, articles of organization, partnership agreement, and operating agreements.

•   Opening deposit: To finalize your business account opening, you may be required to deposit a certain amount of money. Check with your financial institution to determine what that amount would be.

Do I Need Revenue to Open a Business Bank Account?

Most banks don’t require you to be earning revenue in order to open a business checking account. That means if you’re starting a business, you don’t need to wait until you earn a certain income to open that account. So it can be a smart move to put opening your business checking as one of the first items on your to-do list when you start your enterprise. As long as you have the required documentation needed, you should be able to open an account.

Benefits of a Business Checking Account

Opening a business checking account comes with a myriad of benefits, including:

•   Liability protection: If you use a personal checking account for business purposes and have legal issues, it’s more likely that a court will have the right to go after your personal assets. That’s because it doesn’t look like you’re operating a separate business. Opening a business account generally shields you from this potential issue, especially if you’re registered as an LLC or corporation.

•   Tax simplification: Having a business checking account allows you to completely separate your personal and business finances. That way, it can help you include all the transactions you need to file your taxes accurately and efficiently. Plus, it’ll be easier to scrutinize your expenses to see whether you can identify further deductions.

•   Credibility: Your business may be taken more seriously if you used a business checking account. Your clients or vendors may be more likely to trust you if your payments or checks are coming from an account with your business name on it. These types of accounts also help when you decide to apply for small business financing or credit card. In other words, establishing your business could show business credit bureaus you’re serious enough of an entity to create a credit report for your company.

•   Potential future growth: Having a business checking account can help prevent any potential hiccups down the road, such as having to find ways to make payroll for your employees.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Business Checking Account

Many banks offer different business checking accounts suited to a variety of needs, so it’s important to look at the following features when making your decision. There’s probably an account available that fits your needs just about perfectly:

•   Fees: Most business checking accounts charge monthly maintenance fees. You may be able to have them waived, but you’ll need to meet certain requirements such as maintaining a certain balance.

•   Interest rates: In general, interest rates for business checking accounts are lower when compared to savings or money market accounts. However, you may still be able to earn a small return on your deposits. Assuming the fees may be higher for interest-bearing accounts, do some calculations to determine whether the APY makes it worth paying them.

•   Transaction limits: Business checking accounts tend to come with deposit and withdrawal limits per month. If you go over a certain limit, you may be required to pay an additional fee.

•   Bundled services: Some business checking accounts may offer unlimited employee debit cards, dispense free checks, or waive fees if you sign up for a business credit card or merchant services.

Do You Need a Business Checking Account?

Getting a business checking account is a smart move for anyone looking to launch and grow their business. Even if you’re the only employee (and plan to be for a long time), having this type of account still makes sense.

However, if you’re running a side business, are a gig worker, and don’t intend on venturing away from your full-time job, it might not be necessary. As long as you keep meticulous records to ensure you know what your business transactions are, you may be able to get away with only having a personal account. Note the use of the word “may.” If your business grows or just keeps chugging along for a number of years, you may at a later date regret not having gotten a separate business account. It can simplify and clarify your finances.

The Takeaway

If you’ve started or are running your own biz, it’s a smart idea to open a separate account to differentiate your business and your personal transactions. Applying is typically quite straightforward, involving presenting identification and other business documents. In return, you’ll get the flexibility, legitimacy, and services you need to conduct business professionally. Plus, you’ll keep your enterprise separate from your personal finances and avoid confusion.

If you’re looking to rev up your personal banking, however, give SoFi a look. Open linked Checking and Savings with direct deposit, and you’ll have access to your paycheck up to two days early, you won’t pay any account fees (including no overdraft fees) and you’ll earn a competitive APY.

Better banking is here with up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

What is the difference between a personal and business checking account?

Both types of accounts are similar, except business checking accounts are meant for corporations and business owners, and they feature services that cater to professional needs.

What is the purpose of a business checking account?

The purpose of a business checking account is to facilitate banking for businesses with needs like paying vendors and employees and paying for supplies. It also separates personal and business assets for liability purposes. What’s more, a business account provides a company with more legitimacy.

What makes an account a business account?

Business accounts are designed for professional needs, which may mean many more transactions than a personal account typically engages in, as well as ways to pay employees and vendors. They may have merchant services too, which incorporate credit and debit card payments.


SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.


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 deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government 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, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

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 https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Photo credit: iStock/Halfpoint
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What Is a Lifeline Checking Account and How Does It Work?

What Is a Lifeline Checking Account and How Does It Work?

A lifeline checking account is a basic bank account that features minimal fees and other cost-cutting elements, making it more accessible to first-time bank-account holders and those at lower income levels. These accounts can be, as the name indicates, a lifeline for those who are seeking firmer financial footing.

For example, a lifeline checking account may have no monthly maintenance fee, no minimum balance requirement, and no minimum opening-deposit requirement — or be at the lowest possible level in each of these categories. However, there are sometimes trade-offs to these sorts of accounts.

Let’s take a closer look at this important category of banking products and explore:

•   What is a lifeline account

•   How these accounts work

•   The pros and cons of lifeline accounts.

What Is a Lifeline Account?

First, it’s time to establish a lifeline checking account’s definition: A lifeline checking account is a bank account designed specifically for underbanked and low-income customers. Basically, it’s an account that’s as generous as possible to its account holders, often featuring zero account fees. These accounts typically also offer additional consumer protections such as free overdraft coverage and waived ATM fees.

Having access to a bank account is such an important step towards financial wellness. Without one, safely saving significant amounts of money and paying bills can become much more difficult. Recognizing this, some jurisdictions have laws in place requiring banks to offer low-cost accounts to consumers. For example, New York passed a law in 1994 requiring banks in the state to offer lifeline checking accounts to any customers who might want them.

Furthermore, the increase in digital-first and online banks has increased the public’s access to low-cost banking products. Online banks don’t have the same kind of costly overhead as banks that operate brick-and-mortar branches. For that reason, they’re more easily able to offer accounts with minimal fees. That means more affordable, accessible banking for more customers. Quite the win-win.

Recommended: How to Avoid Monthly Account Fees

How Do Lifeline Accounts Work?

Lifeline checking accounts work a lot like any checking account does. You open the account, deposit money into it, and then use those funds to pay bills and make day-to-day purchases. You can do so by using bank transfers, a debit card, or cash you withdraw from the bank or an ATM.

There is a main difference between lifeline and other accounts. Many typical checking accounts assess monthly maintenance fees or require a certain minimum balance to be maintained. These requirements may be waived in a lifeline account (or, if they’re still in place, the dollar amounts will be very low).

Of course, bank accounts with higher fee structures do sometimes come with additional benefits that may make the fees worthwhile to certain customers. For example, with a lifeline checking account, you may not be able to use paper checks — or head into a physical bank to interact with a live teller. Still, for those whose choices are limited by financial circumstances, lifeline checking accounts can be… well, a lifeline. They’re also useful for anybody who’s hoping to minimize the amount they spend on banking.

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!


Examples of Lifeline Checking Accounts

Lifeline checking accounts, or low-cost accounts that serve as lifeline checking accounts, are offered by many different financial institutions, including big box banks, regional credit unions, and online banks.

For example, at press time, BankFinancial offered a Lifeline Checking account that features overdraft protection services, free in-network ATM transactions, and a $0 minimum balance requirement. It charged a $5 monthly maintenance fee — which is still pretty minimal in the world of brick-and-mortar banks. Wells Fargo’s lowest-cost checking account also assessed a $5 monthly service fee, though this cost is waived for account-holders between ages 13 and 24. The minimum opening deposit was $25, and there was no required minimum balance.

Pros and Cons of a Lifeline Checking Account

Like any other financial product — or anything in life, really — there are both pros and cons to keep in mind when you’re considering a lifeline checking account.

Pros:

•   Low costs make these accounts more accessible to a wide range of consumers

•   Lifeline checking accounts can help any money-savvy account holder save more of their money

Cons:

•   Lifeline checking accounts may come without features considered “basic” by many, such as paper checks

•   Many lifeline accounts are offered by online banks, which don’t give account holders the option to bank in person

The pros of lifeline accounts are certainly valuable. being able to pay lower fees and keep more of your cash is a tremendous help to those who are just starting their banking lives or who are earning a lower income. Think about the other banking products that can make a real difference when money is tight, like personal loans with no fees options, no-interest credit cards, and overdraft coverage. Lifeline accounts can similarly play an important role when a person has limited cash.

But only you know what kind of banking products are right for you. To help you decide, here’s how the benefits and downsides of lifeline accounts stack up side by side:

Pros

Cons

Accessible to those who need a low-cost option May not include “basic” features, such as checks
Offer savings to all money-savvy customersTend to be offered by online banks, so no in-person support

How Can I Qualify for a Lifeline Checking Account?

Let’s say you’re ready to open a no fee bank account. Here’s some good news: In general, qualifying for a lifeline checking account is pretty easy. You’ll just need to provide your proof of residence and other identifying and demographic information, and provide whatever minimum opening deposit is required, if there is one.

That said, some banks will look into your banking background before allowing you to open an account. For instance, they may use ChexSystems, which is a reporting agency that consolidates information about consumers’ banking behaviors. It’s kind of like a credit report, but for your interactions with banks. A poor ChexSystems record can make it impossible to qualify even for some low-cost accounts. However, there are still second-chance checking accounts out there that can provide the banking products you need while your ChexSystem record improves.

What Can I Do If I Cannot Find a Lifeline Account?

Fortunately, with the proliferation of online banking, lifeline-like checking accounts are pretty much everywhere — all it takes is a few mouse clicks to search for one. It’s always a good idea to verify the validity of any online bank accounts you find, however, and to ensure that the accounts are FDIC-insured. That means you don’t have to worry about losing your hard-earned money if the bank goes out of business or loses revenue.

The Takeaway

Lifeline checking accounts are low-cost accounts that make it possible for people with lower incomes or are new account seekers to get the checking capabilities they need. These accounts often feature no or low feed and minimal beginning balances. The downside is that they may skip some banking basics, like paper checks. Fortunately, in our increasingly online world, this isn’t a deal-breaker. It may well be a trade-off that’s worthwhile to secure the convenience of a checking account.

When it comes to deciding which checking account to choose, take a look at what SoFi offers. Our Checking and Savings accounts, when opened with direct deposit, gives you terrific banking benefits with no fees — no monthly, minimum-balance, or overdraft fees. And we offer a competitive APY on your balance. Talk about a lifeline!

Better banking is here with up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

Are there benefits for lifeline checking accounts?

Along with their low fees, some lifeline checking accounts do come with extra benefits such as free overdraft protection or ATM fee waivers.

Can I open a checking account with no money?

Yes! Although it’s not true of all lifeline checking accounts, many come with a $0 opening deposit minimum, which means you can start the account even if you don’t have any cash on hand right now.

Which banks are best for low income?

Whether your income is low or high, looking for a minimal fee structure is the best way to save money — in banking and beyond. Typically, online banks offer lower fees and higher interest rates than bricks-and-mortar financial institutions.


Photo credit: iStock/gorodenkoff

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 deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government 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, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

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 https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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What 'Do Not Convert to ACH' Means on a Check

What ‘Do Not Convert to ACH’ Means on a Check

Checks seem a pretty mundane bit of banking, but if you’ve ever received one that says, “Do not convert to ACH” on it, you may wonder what’s going on. Is the check valid? Is it some kind of scam?

Let us help you out. Here, we’ll take a closer look at this situation and what to do with that check. We’ll consider:

•   What ACH, check conversion, and check conversion by ACH mean

•   What it means when a check says “Do not convert to ACH”

•   What happens when you cash a check that has those five little words on it

Now, it’s time to dive in.

ACH System 101

ACH stands for Automated Clearing House, which is an electronic system that transfers funds throughout the United States. This network allows individuals and businesses to move money from one financial institution to another. ACH transfers fuel so many of the transactions that make our financial world go around. Every time you set up automatic bill pay or receive your paycheck by direct deposit or write an eCheck, that’s ACH at work. Apps such as PayPal and Venmo also use the ACH network to send and receive money.

All money that flows through the ACH network is transferred electronically and uses bank-level encryption. In other words, transfers are safe and secure. They protect sensitive information such as your bank account number and a financial institution’s name from thieves.

How Does ACH Work?

ACH transfers are initiated by either making a withdrawal or deposit into an account. You can send money to another account on a one-time basis — such as through an ACH debit to a utilities company or transferring money to a friend for your share of a restaurant meal — or opt into recurring payments. For example, some companies allow you to make automatic payments, such as for subscription services. In either case, you give permission for the receiver to initiate a withdrawal from your account.

Now, let’s consider the flipside: You could receive money; that is, get an ACH credit. This happens when people receive a direct deposit of their paycheck or Social Security.

Once you or someone else initiates a transfer, the request will be processed first by your financial institution. You’re probably curious about how long an ACH transfer takes. Once the ACH transfer request is received, the financial institution will complete the request no later than the next business day. You may be able to expedite the request, as well as schedule a transfer for a future date.

Typically, ACH transfers are faster than other types of transactions, though a potential downside is that it’s only available for transfers within the U.S. (That’s one of the distinctions between an ACH vs. wire transfer, incidentally; the latter has global reach.)

What Is Check Conversion?

Check conversion refers to the process of transforming a check payment into an electronic payment. This usually happens at one of these three points:

•   Point of Purchase (POP), meaning when a purchase is made, say, at a store

•   Accounts Receivable Conversion (ARC), when a business receives a check by mail and then processes it electronically

•   Back Office Conversion (BOC), or when a check is processed electronically after acceptance at, say, the office of a retail location

What Does Conversion to ACH Mean?

Now that you know the different junctures at which conversion may be started, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of just what the “conversion to ACH” process means. Simply put, it describes the fact that a paper check will be converted to a payment that’s processed through the ACH network. In other words, even though a paper check was written and used as payment, it will become an electronic ACH transfer.

Recommended: How to Cash a Check with No Fees

Why Might a Check Be Converted to ACH?

The main reason why a check may be converted is to save time and money when processing payments. Plus, converting a check payment to ACH could be more efficient, as it can help financial institutions detect potential fraud earlier, make fewer mistakes, and even result in fewer returned payments. The service of ACH transfers is typically free to consumers.

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!


Can a Check Be Converted to ACH?

While some may think that checks and ACH are separate entities, in truth, a check can be converted to ACH in many cases. (Unless, that is, the check itself says “do not convert to ACH.”) When converted, processing typically moves swiftly and securely; there’s no check to get lost or be forged, for instance.

Here’s how the conversion usually happens: When the check gets deposited in a checking account, the payment details are captured from the check. Then, the check itself will be stored securely by the financial institution — unless you have the physical check and are making a mobile deposit. If the check is converted in person, then the original check will be voided and given back to the payer.

If the check was converted for ACH, it will typically appear on a bank statement as a direct payment (or withdrawal) in the same section as ATM withdrawals or other forms of electronic payments. It could also appear as a check payment — some banks include a scanned image of the check or include the payment details.

Recommended: How Much are the Average ATM Fees?

What Does It Mean When a Check Says ‘Do Not Convert to ACH’?

When a check says “do not convert to ACH,” it means that the payer does not want to make a payment electronically. Instead, the payment needs to be processed manually from one financial institution to another through the check collection system.

More specifically, it means the financial institution will contact the other financial institution to request the funds, which is then delivered through a local clearinghouse exchange or other form organization like the Federal Reserve Bank.

What Is the Benefit to the Drawee if a Check Says ‘Do Not Convert to ACH’?

Checks that say “Do not convert to ACH” may sometimes be printed when a payer is issuing multiple checks; for example, if a class action suit is being paid out. In this case, perhaps the check issuer does not want the much faster electronic processing of their checks. Perhaps it suits them to have a slower payment process.

What Is the Difference Between ACH and a Check?

The difference between ACH and check payments is the network in which they’re processed. ACH payments are processed electronically through the ACH network, whereas non-converted paper checks are processed through a manual process. In many cases, ACH transfers are processed faster than paper checks, though most checks can be processed within one business day, though you may have to wait for it to clear.

The Takeaway

When it comes to getting paid, the ability to convert a check to or use the ACH network is most likely the most efficient way. That’s because this electronic payment system allows financial institutions to process transactions more quickly and securely compared to paper checks.

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do if the check you receive says “Do not convert to ACH,” however rare they may be. It’s unlikely that you will receive one in today’s world, but if you do, deposit it and allow the extra time required for it to transform into available cash.

Most of us love the conveniences of banking today, and if you want to make a good thing even better, why not bank with SoFi? Sign up for a new bank account with direct deposit, and you’ll be able to access your paycheck up to two days early. Other benefits: a competitive APY and no account fees at all. That means you keep more of your money, and it grows faster!

Better banking is here with up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

Can an ACH payment be declined?

Yes, an ACH payment may be declined or rejected for a few reasons, the most common one being that the payer doesn’t have enough funds in their account for the transfer. Other reasons include the account was closed by the time the transfer took place, the funds have been frozen, or the payer has stopped the payment request.

What does “ineligible for conversion” mean on a check?

If a check says “ineligible for conversion,” it means the check can’t be converted to an ACH payment. This may be due to the paper the check was printed on. The payee needs to either cash or deposit the actual check at a local branch.

Why would a bank reject a check?

There are several reasons a bank would reject a check, including:

•   You don’t have an account at the bank where you want to cash the check

•   You don’t have proper identification to show to the bank

•   The amount may be too large for the financial institution to process

•   The check is void (for example, the check is old and the payment is no longer valid)

•   The signature on the check doesn’t match what the bank has on file


Photo credit: iStock/fizkes

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.


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 deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government 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, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

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 https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


SOBK0322025

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What Happens if You Overdraft Your Savings Account?

Can You Overdraft Your Savings Account?

The answer to the question, “Can you overdraft your savings account?” is: Yes, indeed, you can. Perhaps you forgot to deposit a check into the account and then transferred funds out. Or maybe you moved more money out of the account into your checking than you actually had. These and other glitches can leave you with a negative balance in your checking.

Let’s take a look at what happens if you overdraft your savings account, and what you can do next time to avoid it. We’ll cover:

•  The consequences of overdrawing a savings account

•  Understanding overdraft protection and fees

•  How to avoid overdraft charges

•  Steps to take if you are overdrawn.

Here’s the scoop on overdrafting a savings account.

Consequences of Overdrawing a Savings Account

If you’re curious what exactly it means when you overdraft a savings account, you’re in the right place. Let’s explain: An overdraft happens when there is a withdrawal from your account that results in the balance being below zero — sometimes called a negative balance. There are several ways this can happen. Maybe you withdrew cash from an ATM, an automatic withdrawal was processed, or you wrote a check against your savings account for more than you had in it.

When that negative balance kicks in, a couple of different things could happen. Much depends on your particular financial institution and the terms you agreed to when you opened the account.

Among the possibilities:

•  You’ll be charged an overdraft fee: If you signed an agreement to opt into overdraft coverage, your financial institution will allow you to overdraft on your account for a fee. (That is, they will authorize the transaction and allow for it to be completed, extending you a loan.) The amount of the fee will differ depending on your account and your bank. Some financial institutions may even charge you every day and/or for additional withdrawals while your account is negative. Considering the average overdraft fee is over $30, this cost can really add up.

•  Your transaction is declined: Your financial institution may decline the transaction if you don’t have overdraft protection. In this case, the transaction won’t go through. In addition, you could face a non-sufficient funds, or NSF fee. In many cases this amount is similar to an overdraft fee.

•  Your linked account will be used to cover the cost. This usually happens when you overdraw a checking account, and a linked savings account covers the difference. However, you may be able to link your savings account to another one (typically at the same financial institution) as a backup. If an account goes down to zero or below, then money would be withdrawn from the backup account to complete the transaction. In many cases, this service is free, though that’ll depend on your bank.

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!


Understanding Overdraft Protection and Fees

While we’re on the topic of overdrawn accounts, let’s share a little more detail on overdraft protection and the fees involved. Financial institutions offer overdraft protection programs to help ensure your transactions proceed smoothly in case you reach a negative balance. These programs vary somewhat. Options may include linking a checking and savings account together — funds will be transferred automatically for the negative balance. Or the bank might allow the transaction to go through, and you’ll be charged a fee until you make up for the difference.

Federal regulations require banks to allow account holders to opt into overdraft protection for ATM and debit cards for point-of-sale transactions (or purchases). If you don’t opt in, you won’t be able to overdraft — your bank will deny the transaction. In this case, you won’t be charged any bank fees. However, this may not apply to recurring payments, bank transfers, or checks.

As we mentioned, your financial institution may charge you a fee for each transaction that involves overdraft protection, though banks typically have a maximum amount they’ll charge per day. For example, you transferred $1,200 for your rent payment out of your savings, and you only had $1,000 in your account, you’ll have a negative balance. This results in a $200 overdraft (if you have coverage), plus you’ll pay a $35 overdraft fee. Let’s say you don’t get paid until a week later to make up the difference. In that case, your account will continue to have a negative balance. Let’s say your bank ends up charging you an extra $10 for that week, totaling $45 in fees. It could be higher. Even if your bank denies the transaction, you could still pay the NSF fee of, say, $35.

As you can see, overdrafting on your savings account can get expensive. That’s why it’s a smart idea to rectify the situation as soon as possible and prevent it from happening in the future.

Steps if You Have Overdrawn on Your Account

So let’s say you’ve overdrawn on your savings account. Here’s how to get out of the negative-balance zone:

•  Deposit funds: Once you’ve overdrafted, make a deposit into that account as soon as possible. Doing so can prevent you from being hit with multiple overdraft fees, especially if you know you need to make withdrawals in the next day or so.

•  Ask to have the fee waived: If this is the first time you’ve had a negative balance, you can contact your financial institution to request to have the fee waived. If you’ve been a loyal customer and have remained in good standing with your accounts up until now, the bank may not charge you.

•  Pay the overdraft fee: If your bank rejects your request to have the fee waived, it’s best to pay it as soon as possible. You can typically do that by making a deposit into the overdrawn account. While your bank won’t take drastic measures like closing your account, do know that letting a bank account sit with a negative balance can wind up hurting your credit score if the matter gets sent to a collection agency.

•  Settle payment with the payee: If your payment didn’t go through, then you’ll need to contact the person or company and make arrangements for alternative payment. Depending on the type of payment, you could face a late or returned payment fee by the payee, which you’ll also need to pay.

Tips for Avoiding Overdraft Fees

Most of us wonder how to avoid account maintenance fees and other charges. Overdraft fees are one of those expenses you likely want to escape. Here are some best practices on how to do so.

1. Sign Up for Text or Email Alerts for Low Balance

Many banks allow you to sign up for email or text alerts when your savings account reaches a certain threshold. By doing so, you have time to deposit additional funds so you won’t risk your bank account going to zero or a negative balance.

2. Check Your Bank Account Regularly and Review Statements

Logging into your account online or through your banking app allows you to quickly see your balance and any upcoming transactions. By keeping on top of your account, you’ll be able to see if you’ll need to have more funds on hand, and you’ll have time to make those deposits. Many people find that checking their account balances a few times a week is a helpful habit.

3. Review and Compare Automatic Payment Dates to Withdraw Dates

Looking at when money actually gets withdrawn from your account will help you plan better. For instance, if you know you’ll have a few withdrawals totaling $600 on the 15th of each month, you can plan to make sure you have that much in the account then. (Having a buffer is nice if you can swing it, too.)

4. Revisit Your Budget

Reviewing your budget occasionally will help you see whether you’re overspending in certain areas. If so, working to cut back on expenses can prevent overdrafts. This is especially important during these inflationary times, when basic living expenses can creep up and require budget recalibration.

5. Build an Emergency Fund

You’ve probably heard the advice that it’s wise to have a rainy-day fund with enough cash in it to cover a few or several months’ worth of expenses. Having this kind of buffer will help when unexpected circumstances arise. These situations could range from a big medical bill to your laptop dying to being laid off. Aim to keep your emergency fund in a separate account, far from your everyday accounts, so you’re not tempted to spend it.

6. Consider Overdraft Protection and Coverage

Check into what your financial institution offers in terms of overdraft protection or coverage, and see if it makes sense for you. This may involve opening what is akin to a line of credit, so proceed carefully to know what it will cost you. Make sure you understand what your responsibilities are, including fees and when a withdrawal from a linked account may occur. It may be a wise move that, while not free, does keep your banking flowing smoothly when you hit a snag in your financial flow.

The Takeaway

Overdrafting on your savings account can happen, and it can result in hefty fees. There are several smart tactics that you can adopt to avoid this scenario — and cope if your balance does wind up in negative territory. Planning ahead for these kinds of money-crunch situations is a wise idea as life is full of unexpected expenses.

Here’s another way to handle potential overdrafts: Bank better with SoFi. Our online bank accounts will cover you for up to $50 in overdrafts with no fee charged if you sign up with qualifying direct deposits. What’s more, we don’t charge you any monthly or minimum-balance account fees, and you’ll be able to access your paycheck up to two full days early. Ready for the icing on the cake? We offer a super-competitive APY to help your money grow faster!

Better banking is here with up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.


Photo credit: iStock/damircudic

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 deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government 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, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

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 https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

SOBK0322007

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Differences Between a Deposit and Withdrawal

Differences Between a Deposit and Withdrawal

If you’re wondering what is the difference between a deposit and a withdrawal, the truth is that they are exact opposites: A deposit is money put into a bank account for safekeeping until you need it. A withdrawal is money that’s taken out of your account. At the most basic level, one of these transactions is about getting money and the other is all about paying, or spending.

But that’s not the full story about deposits vs. withdrawals. You have many choices when it comes to getting money into your account and taking it out. Read on for more about how deposits and withdrawals work, their similarities, and their differences. Once you know the different ways that funds can flow through your accounts, you’ll be that much savvier a financial customer.

What Is a Deposit?

A deposit, from the ancient Latin word deponere, means to “place in the hands of another.” In terms of banking, a deposit means you put your money in the hands of a brick-and-mortar or online bank to safely hold it for you. Deposits add to your funds, which helps your bank accounts pay your bills or stash your cash until you are ready to spend it. This influx of money can happen in a few different ways, which we’ll review in a moment.

How a Deposit Works

A deposit involves adding cash or check(s) to your bank account. You can do this in person at a bricks-and-mortar branch of your bank, at ATMs in your bank’s network or, for checks, by using a bank’s mobile app.

You can also receive a deposit by electronic transfer from one bank account to another account (whether yours or someone else’s). For example, if you are paid by direct deposit, that moves money from your employer directly into your account. Or perhaps you receive a government benefit this way. In addition, you might receive funds via a P2P service, like PayPal or Venmo, and could then move the money into your checking or savings account.

Worth noting: Both bricks-and-mortar and online banks offer many different kinds of deposit accounts. You could consider a high-interest checking or savings account at a traditional or online bank, or, if you don’t need to access the money every day, you may want to look into a money market account or a certificate of deposit (CD).

Whether you are a college student with birthday gift money you want to save or a parent raising a growing family, you can find a place to safely put your money and track it until you need it.

Types of Deposits

There are many ways to put money into your bank account today. A generation or two ago, only cash or a check could do the trick, but now you have many options to top up the funds in your bank. To be specific, here are the ways to make a deposit and give your bank account an infusion of cash:

•   Cash deposit at one of your bank’s ATMs or branches

•   Check deposit at one of your bank’s ATMs or branches

•   Check deposit electronically via your bank’s mobile phone app

•   Payroll direct deposit

•   Electronic funds transfer from a linked savings or checking account or via mobile payment services such as PayPal, Venmo, Cash App, or Zelle

What Is a Withdrawal?

Now, let’s take a look at the other vital aspect of banking: withdrawing, or taking money out of your account. You can do that several ways, including using your debit card at an ATM, requesting the money in person from a bank teller, writing a check, scheduling an electronic bill payment, having the money transferred via a payment app, and wiring the money to someone.

As you may know, some of these methods of withdrawing funds can involve fees. If you use an out-of-network ATM, for instance, you can get hit with a charge. Some companies add a surcharge if you sign up for the convenience of electronic payments vs. writing a and mailing a check.

How a Withdrawal Works

The difference between a withdrawal and deposit is that withdrawals draw, or take, money out of your bank account. You might withdraw cash from your bank account to put in your niece’s Bat Mitzvah card, write a check (or authorize an electronic payment) to pay the electricity bill, or use a P2P service to pay a friend back.

Any funds removed count as a withdrawal. Depending on your bank’s checking account terms, you may have limited or unlimited withdrawals. Often, there are savings account withdrawal limits. In the past, the number was typically six per month, though these restrictions have largely been eased in recent years.

Types of Withdrawals

Let’s take a closer look at how to withdraw or debit funds from your bank account. Know these ways to get money out when you need it.

•   Cash withdrawal at ATM with a bank or prepaid debit card (though there will likely be ATM limits to the amount you may withdraw)

•   Cash withdrawal in person at one of your bank’s branches

•   Checks written from your account

•   Cardless withdrawals of cash using phone app at ATMs in your bank network

•   Bank-issued cashier’s check in person or online

•   Cashing a certificate of deposit (CD) at bank (if this is done before the maturity date, you may owe an early withdrawal fee)

•   Funds transfer from brokerage account

•   Electronic funds transfer from a linked savings or checking account or via mobile payment P2P services such as PayPal, Venmo, Cash App, or Zelle

•   Electronic bill pay (recurring or not)

Similarities and Differences Between Deposits and Withdrawals

Deposits and withdrawals are two of the most common banking terms. Here are the differences and similarities you should know. It comes down to deposit (plus) vs. withdraw (minus). Check this chart for more details.

Differences

Deposits

Withdrawals

Adds to bank account balance
Immediately reflected in bank account balance
Transaction can only be done at in-network ATMS
Cashier’s checks can be managed at your bank branch

How Deposits and Withdrawals Are Similar

Here’s what these two kinds of banking transactions have in common.

•   Both can be done in person at ATM or branch in your bank’s network (except for check withdrawals, which can only be completed in person or online).

•   Both can involve electronic funds transfer from a linked bricks-and-mortar, an online savings or checking account, or via mobile payment services, such as PayPal, Venmo, Cash App, or Zelle.

How Deposits and Withdrawals Are Different

Now, let’s take a look at some of the key ways in which these transactions are different.

•   A withdrawal leaves you with less money in the bank while a deposit puts more money in the bank. In this way, they are opposites.

•   A withdrawal will immediately be reflected in your account balance, while a deposit may take longer to show up, until the funds clear.

•   Cash deposits generally have to be made at your bank or bank’s branded ATM network locations, while cash withdrawals can be made at any ATM. (But beware, if the ATM is out of your bank’s network, you could be charged an ATM fee by both the ATM owner and your bank.)

•   Check deposits have to be made at your bank or bank’s branded ATM network locations, or via a bank’s mobile phone app.

•   Check withdrawals via cashier’s checks, on the other hand, are likely only available in person at one of your bank’s or credit union branches. Alternatively, you could request one online from your brick-and-mortar or online bank or credit union.

The Takeaway

Now you know the difference between a deposit and a withdraw. They are inverse transactions: While a deposit adds funds to your account and boosts your balance, a withdrawal whisks money away, subtracting an amount from the funds you have on balance. There are many ways to conduct each of these transactions today, largely due to tech offering new options. You can now do your banking in person or use an array of digital tools to send or receive money.

SoFi can make banking much better than basic. Our high-interest bank accounts are convenient to set up and use, and we offer a competitive APY. You can also write checks, set up bill pay, and have access to 55,000+ (fee-free) ATMs worldwide. Oh, and did we mention? No account fees, period.

See how much your money can grow with SoFi.

FAQ

What is a cash withdrawal?

A cash withdrawal involves converting funds you are holding in an account (perhaps an investment plan, a trust, or a pension) into cash that you can then deposit elsewhere or use.

What is a cash deposit?

A cash deposit is money that you add to your bank account. It could come via an electronic transfer, an ATM deposit, or currency that you hand off to a bank teller.

What is the difference between a deposit and a withdrawal?

The difference between a deposit and a withdrawal is that a deposit adds funds to your bank account while a deposit takes funds away.


SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.


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 deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government 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, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

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 https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

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