How to Deposit Cash at an ATM
When you need to deposit cash or checks, your easiest option might be to use a deposit-enabled ATM. There’s no need to visit a branch or wait for the mail to get your checks to the bank. Some people don’t know that depositing funds at an ATM is possible, while others are uncomfortable with the idea or they just don’t know how to do it. Let’s review the process from start to finish.
How to Make ATM Deposits
Be prepared. Make a habit of bringing everything you need. You'll want to move as efficiently as possible so that you can safely get cash into the ATM and avoid holding up the line. Bring the following items:
- A pen for endorsing checks and filling out a deposit slip. Bank-provided pens are often missing or out of ink.
- A deposit slip, if your bank requires one. Grab a few extra so you can fill these out before arriving at the ATM next time––plus, you never know if they’ll run out. For more details, see how to fill out deposit slips.
- An envelope, if your bank requires one. Again, grab a few extra if your bank requires a certain type of envelope.
Once you're ready, begin the process of making your deposit:
- Verify that the ATM accepts deposits (and that the ATM works with your bank account).
- Look around to ensure that the environment is safe. Don’t pull out cash if anything looks strange or somebody is watching you.
- Insert your debit card into the machine and enter your PIN (be sure to cover your hand as you enter your PIN).
- Choose the on-screen option for deposits.
- Choose the account you want to deposit to; if you have both a checking account and savings account with the bank, for instance, you'll need to choose where you want your deposit to go.
- Enter the amount of your deposit if necessary. Some ATMs can figure out how much you’re depositing by reading from the check or counting bills––they won’t ask for an amount.
- Insert the envelope, checks, or cash into the ATM. Even if an ATM does not use envelopes, you may be able to insert multiple items at once (follow the on-screen instructions to see if you need to insert them one-by-one). Some machines allow you to insert a stack of 30 to 50 items.
- Confirm that the deposit was completed correctly. Review the amount of the deposit, and, if possible, make any corrections.
- Get a receipt, preferably with images of each check you deposited on the receipt.
- Confirm that your session has ended and that your account is no longer accessible before you walk away from the machine.
Does that sound like too much work? If you just need to deposit checks (no cash), try making deposits with your mobile device. You can stay home, take a picture of the check, and submit the photo using your bank’s app.
When the Money Is Available
When you deposit funds with an ATM, there may be a delay before you can use the money in your account for debit card purchases, bill payment, and withdrawals. Check your bank’s funds availability policy, which explains your bank’s rules for holding deposits, for complete details.
Cash deposits to a no-envelope ATM are often available immediately or within one business day. Check deposits typically post on the same day you deposit, but only the first $200 of your check is available within one business day. The remaining amount should be available for use after a few business days.
In-person deposits with a bank employee are usually the fastest way to get funds available from a check. For example, cashier’s checks, when deposited with a teller, can provide up to $5,000 within one business day (unless there is a problem with the check). However, when deposited in an ATM, the bank might only make the first $200 available.
Cut-off times are sometimes generous when you use an ATM. Banks often allow you to deposit funds as late as 8:00 PM (or later) to have the deposit count for that day. Especially if your bank clears your deposits quickly, this can be helpful when you’re too late to reach a teller.
Problems with ATM Deposits
Before you decide that an ATM can solve all of your problems, make sure you know the risks.
- Errors: Occasionally, ATMs make mistakes, and researching transactions can take several days (at least). In some cases, nobody will even open the ATM for a few days after you make your deposit, and it’ll take even longer to make corrections in your account.
- Safety: Bringing cash to an ATM opens up the opportunity for robbery, or for somebody to steal your card information and PIN (the same goes for withdrawals from an ATM). Evaluate your ATM’s location – stick to well-lit areas and remember there is safety in numbers. If you regularly deposit cash, change your schedule so nobody can learn your patterns. If you’re just depositing checks, the risk is lessened, and you can even deposit those checks with your mobile device instead (from the safety of your home or workplace).
- Access to funds: Again, depositing in person with a bank employee is the fastest way to get access to funds from a check. If time is of the essence, try to get to a teller before branches close.
Which ATMs Accept Deposits
Not all ATMs accept deposits, and even deposit-enabled ATMs might not work with your account.
- Other banks: Typically, you cannot make deposits to another bank’s ATM. If you don’t have an account at a given bank, you can often make withdrawals (for an extra fee), but not make deposits. Check your bank’s website or app for ATM locations, and look for ATM networks that might work with your bank. Another easy way to find out whether or not you can make a deposit is to simply insert your card and punch in your PIN. If you see an option to make deposits, you're in business.
- Traveling: If you’re out of the country or out of town, it may be difficult to find a deposit-enabled ATM for your account. Even if your bank has ATMs installed overseas (or is part of a network), it’s unlikely that you can make deposits. Likewise, you generally cannot deposit foreign currency into an ATM.
- Online banks: Online banks almost always allow you to make mobile check deposits. If you want to deposit cash or use an ATM for any reason, those banks might also have relationships with ATM owners. For example, Capital One 360 allows you to make deposits at select ATMs.
- Credit union members: If your credit union participates in shared branching, you can use branches of other credit unions. You might not be able to deposit at their ATM, but you can make a deposit inside with a teller. Depending on where you are and your schedule, this may be a better solution anyway.