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How To Deposit Cash at an ATM

By Jamie Cattanach · October 13, 2021 · 5 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 modern 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, which can be inconvenient to pay in cash.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps of making an ATM cash deposit, as well as highlighting potential problems with doing so and alternatives that may work better for some customers.

How to Make ATM Deposits

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).

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 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 a 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, it’s as simple as that: 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

Potential Problems with ATM Deposits

So, 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 and Axos Bank, don’t offer ATM cash deposit capabilities. Instead, you must deposit cash at local retail partners 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.

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 or even see cash these days, now that cards are nearly universally accepted. Digital money transfer apps like Venmo and CashApp 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 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. And as digital-first, online-only checking 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

If you need to make your cash available for paying bills or other non-cash financial transactions, depositing it at an ATM is one way to do so — and it can be quite straightforward and cost-free, depending on your bank’s policies.

A SoFi Money® cash management account makes it possible to get a bird’s-eye view of your money while also earning interest on the cash you’ve got stashed in your checking account. While SoFi doesn’t offer ATM cash deposits at this time, cash deposits can be made to a SoFi Money account using Green Dot services at participating retailers.

Learn more about SoFi Money, an interest-earning spending account.

Photo credit: iStock/RgStudio

SoFi Money®
SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC .
Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank. SoFi Money Debit Card issued by The Bancorp Bank. SoFi has partnered with Allpoint to provide consumers with ATM access at any of the 55,000+ ATMs within the Allpoint network. Consumers will not be charged a fee when using an in-network ATM, however, third party fees incurred when using out-of-network ATMs are not subject to reimbursement. SoFi’s ATM policies are subject to change at our discretion at any time.
The SoFi Money® Annual Percentage Yield as of 03/15/2020 is 0.20% (0.20% interest rate). Interest rates are variable subject to change at our discretion, at any time. No minimum balance required. SoFi doesn’t charge any ATM fees and will reimburse ATM fees charged by other institutions when a SoFi Money™ Mastercard® Debit Card is used at any ATM displaying the Mastercard®, Plus®, or NYCE® logo. SoFi reserves the right to limit or revoke ATM reimbursements at any time without notice.
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.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products 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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