A savings account is a bank account that pays interest on the funds you deposit. Most banks pay compound interest, which means they add your earnings to your account and pay interest on the balance. A savings account can give you peace of mind because the money you save will be safe, and it can help you cover unexpected expenses.
To get the maximum benefit from a savings account, you can add funds to it regularly. There are many ways to do this with little effort. At many banks, you can maintain a savings account without ever visiting a branch office. Learn more about how to add money to a savings account.
- Add money to a savings account with an ACH transfer or cash/check deposit at a bank or credit union.
- You can make savings account deposits in person at a physical branch or online.
- Some ATMs allow you to make deposits, while others only allow for withdrawals.
The traditional way to add money to a savings account is to make an in-person deposit of cash or checks at a branch office. Many banks will ask you to provide proof of identity such as an ATM card and/or a driver’s license before they’ll process your deposit.
Some banks may also require you to fill out a hard copy deposit slip. Be sure to get a receipt (hard copy or electronic) when your deposit has been completed.
An alternative to making in-person deposits is to use an automated teller machine (ATM). Your bank should provide you with a list of in-network ATMs you can use without paying a fee. Make sure the ATM is in your bank’s network and that it accepts deposits, because some ATMs only allow withdrawals.
To make a deposit, follow the instructions on the ATM. Typically, you’ll need to insert your debit card into the designated slot, then enter your PIN. When asked to choose a transaction type and account, select “deposit,” then “savings.” Insert your check or cash as directed and confirm the amount of your deposit.
Make sure you get a receipt (paper or electronic) to verify your transaction.
Mobile Check Deposit
Many banks now allow you to deposit checks into a checking or savings account using an app on your smartphone. First, read your bank’s rules on mobile deposits. Many have limits on the number of checks you can deposit per day or per month and maximums for the dollar amount of those checks. Some require you to endorse the check in a certain way, such as by writing “for mobile deposit only” below your signature.
To use your bank’s mobile deposit function, download your bank’s app onto your mobile device. Log into your account and follow the app’s instructions on depositing a check. You’ll probably need to choose “deposit” then “savings” under account type, and enter the check amount. You’ll use your phone’s camera to capture the front and back of your check as directed by the app, then upload the images.
Once your transaction is complete, the app should confirm that your deposit has been accepted. Retain the paper check for the number of days recommended by your bank. Funds you deposit via a mobile app may not appear in your account for a day or two.
Online Transfers Between Accounts
Another way to get money into your savings account is to link it with your checking or another financial account and make a transfer. You can link your savings account with an account at the same bank or a different financial institution.
The process for linking accounts varies, so follow your financial institution’s instructions. Once your accounts are linked, you can transfer money into your savings account from the other account for free.
An easy way to add funds to your savings account is to have your paycheck, Social Security benefits, pension benefits or other income deposited directly into your savings account via direct deposit.
Direct deposit is a convenient alternative to a paper check. The money is available as soon as it’s deposited—you don’t have to wait for a check to clear. Direct deposit is a type of ACH transfer in which funds move between banks through an electronic network called the Automated Clearing House (ACH).
If you want your funds deposited automatically into your savings account, check with the payer (e.g., your employer) to confirm that direct deposit is available. If it is, the payer will ask you to provide some basic information, including your bank’s name and mailing address, its routing number, and your savings account number.
Wire transfers are electronic transfers of money from one bank to another. Unlike ACH transfers, which are processed in batches, wire transfers are handled as individual transactions.
Wire transfers are completed quickly, sometimes within a single day. Speed comes at a cost, and wire transfers can be a pricey way to get money into a savings account. The cost varies but is typically around $20 to $30 to send money within the U.S. Some banks charge a small fee if you receive a wire.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Which type of savings account earns the most money?
Certificates of deposit (CDs) generally pay higher interest rates than standard savings accounts. The tradeoff is that you can’t use any of the money in your account until the CD matures. If you take money out before the maturity date, you’ll pay a penalty for early withdrawal.
How much money should I have in my savings account?
Financial experts often recommend that your savings account have enough money to pay for your living expenses for three to six months. The money can serve as your emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses such as a car repair, or cover your necessary expenses if you lose your job.
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