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How to Deposit Cash at an ATM

By Jamie Cattanach · May 31, 2022 · 6 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. Read more We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right. Read less

How to Deposit Cash at an ATM

Can you deposit cash at an ATM? The answer depends on your bank, the ATM you’re using, and a variety of other factors — but generally speaking, yes, you can make cash or check deposits at many ATM terminals.

For most customers, though, depositing money at an ATM isn’t the only option — or even necessarily the most convenient. Still, it’s a good system to understand if you’re someone who regularly deals with cash payments and you’d like to use those monies to pay for things like utility bills, where cash may not be accepted or can be inconvenient.

In this article, we’ll walk you through:

•   How to deposit cash an ATM

•   Potential problems with depositing money at an ATM

•   Whether you pay fees when you deposit cash at an ATM

•   Alternative payments to ATM deposits that may work better for some customers

Depositing Cash at an ATM

In order to deposit cash via ATM, the first thing you need to do is ensure that the ATM you’re visiting is capable of taking cash deposits — and that your bank takes deposits through that particular type of ATM. For example, if you have an account with Bank of America, you’ll likely be able to make a cash deposit at an ATM located at or inside a physical Bank of America location — but you may not be able to make a cash deposit at the third-party ATM at your local grocery store or concert venue.

In order to avoid wasting time at an ATM that won’t do the trick, it’s a good idea to do some research ahead of time. Log onto your bank’s website and look for an ATM locator, which will show you all nearby locations and may also specifically mention which services those ATMs can perform (including whether or not they accept cash or check deposits).

Now, here’s the nitty-gritty of how to deposit cash at an ATM: When you arrive at the ATM, you’ll most likely need to use your bank card and personal identification number (PIN) to confirm your identity and pull up the ATM’s service options, though some banks may allow you to access an ATM using cardless withdrawal technology through your phone. Either way, once you’ve got the ATM’s options screen pulled up, you’ll follow the instructions to make a cash deposit, and then select the account you want the deposit to go into (if you have multiple accounts, such as a checking and savings account, for example).

Some ATMs may have limits as to how many paper bills they can take at once, and ATMs typically don’t take coin deposits. As with any situation where you’re feeding bills into a machine (like when you’re trying to get a vending machine snack in your office lobby), you may end up with one or more bills fed back to you if the machine reads them as damaged or potentially counterfeit.

In general, though, how to deposit cash at an ATM is that simple: just feed the money in, confirm the amount of the deposit, and be sure to verify that you’re signed out of the ATM before you get on your way!

Recommended: Don’t Let Your Bank Rob You: How To Avoid ATM Fees

When Is the Money Available with ATM Deposits?

Once again, the answer to this common question is, “it depends.” At some ATMs, cash deposits are made available immediately, while with other ATMs you may experience some lag between the moment you feed the money into the machine and the moment the money shows up in your account balance.

The FDIC does have regulations that require banks to make cash deposits available within a certain amount of time — but in the case of a proprietary ATM, availability is not required until the second business day after the deposit. And at a third-party ATM, funds don’t have to be made available until the fifth business day, so be sure to plan ahead if possible!

Again, your bank may have more specific information available on their website as to their specific policies.

Recommended: Understanding Funds Availability Rules

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Potential Problems With ATM Deposits

You’ve now learned the answer to the question, “Can I deposit cash at an ATM?” Next, let’s address, “What can go wrong with ATM deposits?”

Well, for starters, the length of time a deposit may be held can be problematic for some customers if they need access to the funds as soon as possible. And the automated reader on some ATMs may refuse to accept legitimate bills, at least on the first try, which can be frustrating.

For another thing, your bank or financial institution may simply not allow it. Certain online-only banking services, such as Chime, don’t offer ATM cash deposit capabilities. Instead, you must deposit cash at local retail partners (like Walgreens) through an at-the-counter transaction.

The good news is, most ATMs have a phone number printed on the machine itself that you can call if you experience any technical errors or other problems. And, as always when interacting with ATMs, be sure to look out for your personal safety. Make the deposit during the day and ideally with the company of someone you trust. Never give out your PIN.

Recommended: How Old Do You Have to Be to Open a Bank Account?

Are There Any Fees for Depositing Cash at an ATM?

Yet again, the answer to this question is, “It depends.” If you’re using an in-network ATM that’s directly linked to your bank, you’re unlikely to encounter any fees. But if you’re using an out-of-network ATM, there are a couple of fees you might need to be on the lookout for.

•   ATM fees are sometimes charged by the third-party owner of the ATM itself, and may be as little as $1.50 or as much as $10 per transaction.

•   Out-of-network ATM fees may also be charged by your bank, which could add an additional charge of $2 to $3.50 to the transaction.

•   Finally, keep in mind that foreign transaction fees can rack up quickly if you’re using an ATM overseas.

As always, we recommend checking with your bank ahead of time to get a better grasp of their specific policies and avoid these unnecessary fees if possible.

Why Make an ATM Cash Deposit?

You may be wondering why this topic even needs to be addressed. So many of us rarely use cash these days (or even use it), now that cards are nearly universally accepted. That’s one alternative to using cash. Digital money transfer apps like Venmo and CashApp also make it easy to split the bill and pay back friends and family without touching paper money. Plus, the COVID-19 pandemic caused some businesses to at least temporarily suspend the use of cash altogether to avoid further what were feared to be potential routes for contamination.

But many workers still get paid at least partially in cash, particularly those whose income includes cash tips, such as waiters and baristas. If you are among their ranks, you’ll definitely want to know, “Can you deposit money at an ATM?”

And as digital-first, online bank accounts become more common, some people don’t have the option of walking into a brick-and-mortar bank to make their deposits.

Making ATM cash deposits is sometimes the best way to get that money into an account where it can be more readily used to pay bills — or transferred to a savings or investment account, where it may earn more interest.

The Takeaway

Can you deposit cash at an ATM? Yes, you often can. And if you need to make your cash available for paying bills or other non-cash financial transactions, depositing it at an ATM can be a quick and potentially cost-free way to do so. While it may not be the most common financial transaction these days, it’s definitely a possibility that can help you easily manage your money.

At SoFi, we’re all about making banking simple. And profitable for you. When you sign up for our Checking and Savings with direct deposit, you’ll earn an amazing APY and you won’t pay any of the usual fees (not monthly, minimum-balance, or overdraft).

Better banking is here with up to 3.00% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

3 Great Benefits of Direct Deposit

1. It’s Faster
As opposed to a physical check that can take time to clear, you don’t have to wait days to access a direct deposit. Usually, you can use the money the day it is sent. What’s more, you don’t have to remember to go to the bank or use your app to deposit your check.

2. It’s Like Clockwork
Whether your check comes the first Wednesday of the month or every other Friday, if you sign up for direct deposit, you know when the money will hit your account. This is especially helpful for scheduling the payment of regular bills. No more guessing when you’ll have sufficient funds.

3. It’s Secure
While checks can get lost in the mail – or even stolen, there is no chance of that happening with a direct deposit. Also, if it’s your paycheck, you won’t have to worry about your or your employer’s info ending up in the wrong hands.

FAQ

How do I deposit cash at an ATM?

To deposit cash at an ATM, you’ll likely need your bank card and PIN, and then you simply follow the directions on the machine’s screen. However, it’s good to research first where ATMs in your network are or else what the fee will be to deposit cash at an out-of-network ATM.

Can I deposit checks at an ATM?

Yes, you can usually deposit a check into an ATM, though some machines may not accept them. It often takes a couple of days for the check to clear and for you to be able to access the funds.

Are there ATM deposit fees?

Whether or not you will pay to use an ATM varies. Typically, you will not be assessed a fee to use an ATM that belongs to your bank. However, if you use an out-of-network machine, you will likely pay a couple or a few dollars for a transaction.


SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2022 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
SoFi members with direct deposit can earn up to 3.00% annual percentage yield (APY) interest on Savings account balances (including Vaults) and up to 2.50% APY on Checking account balances. There is no minimum direct deposit amount required to qualify for these rates. Members without direct deposit will earn 1.20% APY on all account balances in Checking and Savings (including Vaults). Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 11/3/2022. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet
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