How to Deposit Cash at Local and Online Banks

By Sheryl Nance-Nash · August 15, 2023 · 12 minute read

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How to Deposit Cash at Local and Online Banks

Having money in the bank can be a very good thing, and there are multiple ways to actually get cash safely into your account. You could go old school and deposit bills in person or take advantage of all the mobile transactions available.

Here’s help knowing all the different ways you can deposit money into your bank account, along with how-tos. Equipped with this knowledge, you can be even more ready to get your hard-earned dollars socked away.

6 Ways to Deposit Cash in a Local Bank Account

Wondering how to put cash into your local bank account? We can help. There are numerous ways you can do this, including:

•   Direct deposit

•   Account transfer

•   External transfer

•   Wire transfer

•   Peer-to-peer transfer

•   Depositing Cash at Your Bank Branch

Here, we’ll take a closer look at each, and, a bit later, how to use ATMs to deposit cash.

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1. Using Direct Deposit

Direct deposit is by far the simplest and easiest way to get cash into your bank account. All you have to do is visit your bank branch, fill out a deposit slip, hand the slip and your money to the teller, and be on your way.

If the bank is closed or you want to avoid standing in a long line indoors, you can deposit cash at an ATM. You likely won’t need to fill out a deposit slip at the ATM because the computer can read the check or count the cash and then electronically credit the account associated with the ATM card.

Be sure, however, that you know your financial institution’s policies when you make a deposit at an ATM. Unlike an in-person deposit where your money is typically available immediately, your funds may not be available right away with an ATM deposit (especially if it’s not your bank’s ATM). Also, some ATM’s don’t accept cash deposits. So inquire before you make your deposit.

2. Deposit Cash Using an Account Transfer

Perhaps you have more than one account at your bank (there are often incentives to do so, which many people take advantage of). It can be quite convenient to move money via a bank transfer between accounts.

You might complete a one-time transfer at the bank or online to transfer money from savings to checking to cover a large, unexpected expense. Or perhaps you want to set up recurring automatic transfers on payday to whisk 10% of your salary into savings. Or, say you’ve accumulated a chunk of change in one account and want to open a certificate of deposit (CD) to lock in your interest rate. An account transfer could make that happen, too.

3. External Transfer

Maybe you don’t want to keep all your eggs in one basket, so you have more than one financial institution where you keep your money. No worries if you want to move money between accounts as part of managing your banking. Some financial institutions allow you to link accounts held elsewhere.

The how-to’s: Complete what’s necessary to link the accounts (this can involve just inputting an account’s routing and account number), and you can easily transfer money between them.

4. Wire Transfer

How else to put cash into a bank account? Wire transfers may sound old-fashioned, but they are still an effective way to send money to someone else’s bank account. Say someone needs to send you money, but you don’t bank with the same financial institution. They can do a wire transfer from their bank to yours using providers like Western Union.

Wire transfers are fast, and the money arrives pretty much immediately. The downside is that you have to share your bank account information, which can give you cause for concern if you don’t know the person you’re dealing with.

Also, wire transfers charge the sender a fee, which may vary on factors such as whether you’re sending/receiving domestically or internationally. The person sending you the funds could want to deduct the fee from the money they are sending your way. And banks may charge fees related to wire transfers as well, so again, do a little research first to avoid any surprises.

5. Peer-to-Peer Transfer

Decades ago there were no money-transfer apps or platforms like PayPal, Zelle, or Venmo. Today, there are many ways to move money around with these tools, whether that means a friend paying you back for their share of the dinner tab or someone who employs you as a gig worker sending you your fee. The way these platforms work is that you can receive money either directly into your account or into the money-transfer app and then transfer it to your bank account.

Worth noting: Sometimes you may pay a fee for an instantaneous transfer versus one that takes a day or two. There can be other costs and transaction limits involved as well, so familiarize yourself with the specifics of the platform you are thinking of using.

6. Depositing Cash at Your Bank Branch

One last way to put cash in your bank account. If you bank at a traditional financial institution with brick-and-mortar branches, you could take your money in person and fork it over. Typically, this involves handing the cash to a teller with a deposit slip.

While many people who are paid in cash (yes, they still exist) may use this method, it is of course important to be cautious when en route to the bank with a pocket full of bills. If you lose the money or are robbed, that money would be gone.

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4 Ways to Deposit Cash in an Online Bank Account

If your accounts are at an online bank, you may wonder how best to deposit your cash. After all, there isn’t a brick-and-mortar branch to stroll into, and no one wants to mail cash. But don’t worry; you likely have plenty of options.

One is to find an in-network ATM. Find out what network of ATMs your online bank is part of, and you can then deposit cash in one of those ATMs. Be sure to keep your receipt until the money surfaces in your account so you’re sure everything went through properly.

That’s not always convenient, though, so let’s consider some other options:

•   Mobile deposit

•   ACH transfer

•   Prepaid cards

•   Money orders

•   Transferring from another bank

1. Using a Mobile Deposit

You can deposit your checks remotely. It’s super simple and you don’t have to leave home, which is one of the benefits of mobile deposits. All you need to do is take a picture of the front and the back of the check and deposit it via your bank’s mobile app.

2. ACH Transfer

You can also get money deposited directly into your account by what are known as ACH (or Automated Clearing House) transfers. These can be set up to go into your account on a recurring basis, too. For example, you can have your HR department deposit your paychecks into your account, and you can do the same with government benefits if you enroll in the program to get your money this way. Once you know how to set up direct deposit, it might just be a game-changer for you.

3. Depositing Cash Using a Prepaid Card

There’s another option if your online bank account isn’t part of an ATM network: a prepaid debit card that’s linked to your account. With a prepaid card, you can load money on it in a variety of ways. For example, you can go to participating retailers to deposit cash. Then you could transfer the money from the prepaid debit card to your linked online bank account.

But of course, there can be a downside. You may be charged fees to get the card, deposit cash, or withdraw funds. Do the math. If you don’t need to do it frequently, it might be worth it. But if you have to do this often, the additional costs might be a deal-breaker. Shop around for a card that suits your needs.

4. Using a Money Order to Deposit Cash

If all else fails, you could go retro and buy a money order. You get one from the post office or businesses like CVS and Western Union, among others. You’ll likely pay less than $5, though the fee depends on the amount of the money order. You can mail the money order to your online bank. Just double-check that the bank accepts money orders for deposits.

5. Transferring From Another Bank Account

Another option is to transfer funds from another bank account. Whether you keep multiple bank accounts at one financial institution or divide them between different banks, you can send money from one account to an online account simply. You can likely use the transfer feature in your bank’s app, add the necessary bank account and routing number, and get the money heading where you want it.

Can You Deposit Cash in an ATM?

Yes, you can. Many ATMs accept cash, though a few do not. Check with your bank or look carefully at the ATM you are planning to use to see whether a cash deposit is an option.

Using a Deposit Slip for an ATM

Like many other bits of paperwork, deposit slips are used less often than in the past when banking. Most ATMs do not require deposit slips. The computer that’s part of the ATM can verify and count the bills without the need for you to provide extra paperwork stating the amount.

Of course, you’ll want to double-check that where you are making your deposit has a machine that doesn’t require a deposit slip before you put your cash in. There may still be some devices out there that still require a deposit slip and envelope.

Funds May Not Be Available Immediately

If you deposit cash into your bank’s ATM, the money is typically available almost immediately. This is a change from the past, when a teller had to receive and then verify the deposit before funds were made available. This typically took one of two days.

Also keep in mind that many banks don’t allow you to deposit cash into an out-of-network ATM. If they do, there might be a fee involved as well as a delay in funds availability. It’s wise to check such details before you attempt to put some bills into this kind of machine.

When Does a Deposit Typically Appear in Your Account?

Every financial institution has its own rules about how long cash takes to clear or how long a direct deposit takes. Know, however, that federal law establishes the maximum length of time a bank or credit union can make you wait.

Cash, as you might guess, tends to clear most quickly. If deposited in person to your checking or savings account, it may become available the same day or the next day. If you deposit it to an ATM in your bank’s network, it could take until the second business day to clear; if you use an out-of-network ATM that accepts cash from those who aren’t account holders, that can take five business days.

The typical time period for checks and money orders to clear is between two and five days. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), generally, these are the guidelines:

•   If you deposit a check or checks for $200 or less in person to a bank employee, you can access the full amount the next business day.

•   If you deposit checks totaling more than $200, you can access $225 the next business day, and the rest of the money the second business day.

Here are a few nice exceptions involving in-person deposits at your bank. You should be able to access the full amount on the next business day if you deposit:

•   A certified check

•   A check from another account at your bank or credit union

•   A check from the government.

The amount of time a bank or credit union holds funds you deposit by check is sometimes referred to as a “deposit hold” or “check hold.” Some banks or credit unions may make funds available more quickly than the law requires, and some may expedite funds for a fee.

If you need the money from a particular check, you can ask the teller or a customer service representative when the funds will become available. A receipt showing your deposit does not mean that the money is available for you to use.

Knowing these timeframes can be very helpful as you stay on top of your money and work to make sure you know your approximate balance and don’t bounce any checks.

Recommended: When All Your Money Goes to Bills

The Takeaway

There are many options in terms of depositing cash into your bank account these days, whether you use a traditional or online bank. You’ll find options from going to a brick-and-mortar branch to using an ATM to mobile and ACH deposits and more. The timeframes for all of these deposits will vary, so check your bank’s policies.

You’ll want to be sure you don’t draw on your funds before they are fully available. It’s an important move to keep your account in good standing and avoid the fees many banks charge for overdrafts.

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FAQ

Can you deposit cash into someone else’s bank account?

Typically, you can deposit cash into someone else’s bank account if your know the name on their account and their account number and if you go into a branch with the cash.

When does the money I deposit reflect?

A deposit can reflect in your account almost immediately (especially if it’s cash) or take a day or two to show up in your account. Also, the timing of funds availability for withdrawal or transfer can vary depending on the size and form of the deposit (such as whether you deposited a money order in person at a branch or deposited cash into an out-of-network ATM).

How do you deposit large amounts of cash?

You can use any of the standard methods: Cash (though do be cautious), transfer, check, and other techniques. But also know that a financial institution must report any cash transaction involving a deposit or withdrawal of over $10,000 to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Is there a fee to deposit cash at a bank?

Most banks do not charge a fee to deposit cash at a bank. However, some banks may assess a fee if you deposit the funds into an out-of-network ATM.

Can you deposit cash without going to the bank?

Depending on your bank, you may be able to deposit your cash into an out-of-network ATM. You might have to pay a fee to do so.


Photo credit: iStock/JoeLena

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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 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.

This article is not intended to be legal advice. Please consult an attorney for advice.

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