Depositing at ATMs
Bank One is not alone in slamming the drawer on
shared depositing at ATMs. Many banks shun it for a gamut of reasons.
They cite lack of demand from their customers, the fact that ATM deposits
are a much more expensive transaction than withdrawals and a lack
of desire to help the competition -- usually smaller banks looking
to essentially expand their tiny ATM networks.
Wachovia offers shared deposits only in the Northeast,
says spokeswoman Mary Beth Novarro.
"And not everywhere in the Northeast. We do it
because they've always had the ATM arrangement and we don't want
to take away the service. But we don't offer it elsewhere in the
country because it's not done in the market. We're not aware of
other banks doing it and we don't believe the customers expect it."
Depositing at your bank's ATMs is pretty straightforward.
No fees, no hassles -- just find a machine that accepts deposits.
It's when you step outside the cozy confines of your bank's ATMs
that it can get hazy.
Most banks join one or more of the ATM-payment networks.
You can tell which ones your bank has joined by looking for the
network logos on the back of your ATM card. Just as these networks
help consumers find ATMs to make withdrawals when they're away from
home, you can also make deposits -- sometimes.
NYCE, for instance, has a shared deposits program.
The NYCE network includes 122,000 ATMs that belong to the 2,200
banks and credit unions in the network, according to Susan Zawodniak,
the network's executive director. About a third of the institutions,
835, participate in the shared deposit program. That means 4,500
of the ATMs in the NYCE network accept deposits.
"If your financial institution allows, you can
make a deposit within your own state. You may or may not be able
to make deposits in other states. The institution that owns the
ATM can say whether it accepts deposits from other states,"
Whether you pay a fee for making a deposit depends
on your bank and the ATM owner.
If there is a fee it will likely, but not always,
be higher for an ATM that is off the bank's official premises, such
as the ones found in malls, supermarkets and airports.
Zawodniak says that not a lot of off premise ATMs
accept deposits because it's so much more expensive than having
an ATM that simply spits out cash.
"We have servicing rules regarding deposit items.
You need to retrieve deposits within 24 hours. If it's off premise
that requires an armored car. You have to prove the deposits --
the ATM owner has to open the envelope and compare what's in there
to what the cardholder keyed in. Then you have to put those checks
into a clearing mechanism so the credits and debits can flow and
make the banks whole.
"It's a system of credits and debits and electronic
messaging. If you accept deposits at an ATM you must service the
machine every day and it ratchets up your cost structure."
It's worth mentioning that NYCE's policy of retrieving
deposits within 24 hours is not mandated by federal regulations.
Other networks or ATM owners may follow different guidelines.
Despite the costs, Visa's Plus ATM network apparently
sees a reason to say yes to shared deposits; it now has the Plus
Shared Deposits program.
"We have close to 8,200 ATMs that are registered
to take Plus shared deposits," say John Brinnon, vice president
of Visa ATM card products.
"This is very popular among middle- to smaller-tier
financial institutions. They don't have big ATM networks. This provides
more access to machines for all types of transactions. Most consumers
are comfortable making deposits at their own bank machines. Some
are comfortable at foreign machines and some aren't. But there are
people out there looking to make deposits at machines other than
their own institution's."
Judging from our e-mail, many people are confused
about funds availability when depositing at ATMs. Federal regulations
require that funds from local checks be available no later than
the second business day after the day on which the funds were deposited
-- providing the check was deposited on a banking day and that it
was deposited in an ATM owned by your bank. Nonlocal checks can
be held for five business days.
The government allows some exceptions when you deposit
funds in an ATM that isn't owned by your bank or one that is off
the bank's premises.
Here is a summary of federal regulations
regarding the availability of funds:
- A depositary bank must post or provide a notice
at each ATM location that funds deposited in the ATM may not be
available for immediate withdrawal.
- If a bank makes funds from deposits at nonproprietary
ATMs available for withdrawal later than funds from deposits at
proprietary ATMs, it must provide a description of how the customer
can differentiate between a proprietary and nonproprietary ATM.
- Deposits at nonproprietary ATMs -- funds must be
available for withdrawal not later than the fifth business day
following the banking day on which the funds are deposited.
- Funds deposited at an ATM that is not on or within
50 feet of the premises of the depositary bank are considered
deposited on the day the funds are removed from the ATM, if funds
normally are not removed from the ATM more than two times each
- A depositary bank that operates an off-premises
ATM from which deposits are removed not more than two times each
week must disclose at or on the ATM the days on which deposits
made at the ATM will be considered received.
- Funds deposited at a staffed facility, ATM, or
contractual branch are considered deposited when they are received
at the staffed facility, ATM or contractual branch.
Financial institutions do not always have to release
the full amount of the check at once. For a detailed description
of the federal regulations regarding this, click