How to Deposit Cash at an ATM

ATM Card

When you need to deposit cash or checks, your most convenient option might be to use a deposit-enabled ATM. There’s no need to go into 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 want to move as efficiently as possible so that you can get your cash safely 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 may be 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 the next time you make a deposit. 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 particular type of envelope.

Once you're ready, begin the process of making your deposit:

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  1. Verify that the ATM accepts deposits (and that the ATM works with your bank account).
  2. Look around to ensure that the environment is safe. Don’t pull out cash if somebody is watching you and making you feel uncomfortable.
  3. Insert your debit card into the machine and enter your PIN (be sure to cover your hand as you enter your PIN).
  4. Follow the on screen instructions, such as choosing an option for deposits.
  5. Select the account you want to deposit to. If you have both a checking accounts and savings accounts with the bank, choose where you want your deposit to go.
  6. 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 don’t ask for an amount.
  7. 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.
  8. Confirm that the deposit was completed correctly. Review the amount of the deposit, and, if possible, make any corrections.
  9. Get a receipt, preferably with images of each check you deposited on the receipt.
  10. Confirm that your session ended and that your account is no longer accessible before you walk away from the machine.

If that sounds like too much work, you might be able to stay home, take a picture of the check, and submit the photo using your bank’s app.

If you just need to deposit checks (no cash), try making deposits with your mobile device.

When the Money Is Available

When you deposit funds through an ATM, there may be a delay before you can use the money. You might have to wait before using funds for debit card purchases, bill payments, 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 might be available immediately or within one business day. Check deposits typically post on the same day you deposit, but your bank might only make the first $200 of your check is available within one or two business days. The remaining amount should be available for use after a few business days.

Cut-off times are sometimes generous when you use an ATM. Banks might 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 relying on an ATM entirely, make sure you know some of the potential pitfalls.

  • Errors: Occasionally, ATMs make mistakes, and researching transactions can take several days or more.
  • 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 routine so nobody can learn your patterns. If you’re just depositing checks, there’s less risk, 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 might be 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.

Tips for Making 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), they might not work for deposits.
  • Online banks: Online banks often 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 probably make a deposit inside with a teller. Depending on where you are and your schedule, that may be the solution you need.way.

Article Sources

  1. Wells Fargo. "Envelope-Free ATMs," Accessed Oct. 3, 2019.

  2. Chase Bank. "Deposit Account Agreement," Page 21. Accessed Oct. 3, 2019.

  3. Chase Bank. "Deposit Account Agreement," Page 21. Accessed Oct. 3, 2019.

  4. Capital One. "How Do I Make a Deposit?" Accessed Oct. 4, 2019.