Can you deposit cash at an ATM?

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If you’re wondering if you can deposit cash at an ATM, the answer is yes, you can. But not all ATMs accept cash.

The details (including fees) may vary depending on your bank. And if you use a bank that operates only online, you may not be able to deposit any cash at all. Luckily, there’s always an alternative solution to get your money into your bank account. Here’s what you can expect in each scenario.

How to make cash deposits at ATM

The process varies by bank but it’s easy to deposit cash at an ATM. First, confirm the  ATM accepts cash (not all of them do). Then, you’ll just need your debit card and the money to deposit into the machine.

  1. Access your account. To do this, simply insert your debit card and enter your PIN. You should be able to see all of your account information once you’re logged in.
  2. Choose an account and an action. The order may vary depending on your bank, but you’ll need to select “deposit” and choose which account you want the money to go into.
  3. Enter the bills based on the bank’s instructions. You may need to place your bills in a provided envelope, or you may insert them directly into the slot. Follow the instructions on the screen.
  4. Confirm the total deposit. Either before or after you insert the bills, confirm the amount you’re depositing.
  5. Get a transaction receipt. Track your deposit by opting for a transaction receipt, either printed, emailed or texted to you.

These instructions only apply to depositing cash into your own bank account. You’ll need to choose another option in order to deposit cash into someone else’s account.

Can you deposit cash at an online-only bank?

Many online banks don’t allow cash deposits, making it tricky to get your funds into your account.

“Many Americans have switched to exclusively using online banks, which is handy most of the time, but it’s also problematic, as there are 1.5 trillion dollars in circulation,” says Jim Pendergast, senior vice president at altLINE, a division of The Southern Bank Company.

One solution is to opt for an ACH transfer from another bank account that allows for cash deposits. Plus, Pendergrast notes, it’s a fast and secure method that doesn’t require any fees. But if you’re looking for an online-only bank that’s willing to accept your cash, you’re not entirely out of luck.

Current is a prime example of an online bank account that offers flexibility with deposits. You can add cash into your account by making a deposit at over 60,000 stores. Retailers include CVS Pharmacy, 7-Eleven, Dollar General and Family Dollar. Not every location may participate and you will pay $3.50 per deposit.

Once you’re at a participating location, you’ll use your app to get a unique barcode that the cashier can scan. Pay them your cash (you can deposit up to $500 with each transaction) and get a receipt, then your funds will be available right away. That’s comparable to a traditional bank ATM, especially considering the late hours many of those stores hold.

Are there limits to the amount you can deposit at ATMs?

Yes, most banks limit how much cash you can deposit at an ATM. However, rather than having a dollar amount limit, you’re more likely to face a limit on how many bills you can insert at a time. At Wells Fargo, for example, you can deposit up to 30 bills and checks combined. It doesn’t matter if it’s 30 one-dollar bills or 30 $100 dollar bills — the limit is the same.

One benefit of depositing cash over a check is that your funds can be made available more quickly no matter how much you deposit.

Can you deposit cash at an ATM that’s not owned by your bank?

You may not be able to deposit cash out of network at all, unless the ATM has an existing partnership with your bank. Some institutions will let you deposit cash at an out-of-network ATM but will charge you for the transaction. Also remember that out-of-network ATM vendors may charge their own fees on top of what your bank charges you. Be clear on these details before you head out-of-network for any of your banking tasks.

Get an idea of what to expect before you sign up for a new bank account, or find alternative ways to avoid ATM fees while managing your money.

Bottom line

ATMs are an excellent resource for depositing cash. While many online banks are limited in their ability to accept cash deposits, there are some options available to make it easier on you.

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