How to Deposit Cash Into a Bank Account

How to Deposit Cash Into a Bank Account
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Few of us walk around with cash these days. There are so many other ways of holding and spending money, like debit cards and apps like Venmo and Apple Pay. But if you sold something on Craigslist or were lucky enough to get cash in a birthday card, there are three options for depositing it into your checking account.

  • Deposit it in person by standing in line and completing the transaction with a bank teller.
  • Deposit it at one of your bank's ATMs.
  • Deposit it by putting it in your bank's night deposit box.

Three Methods for Depositing Cash

Walking into the lobby of your bank and making the cash deposit in person is the best way to avoid any errors. The teller will recount your cash in front of you to confirm the amount you're depositing. If you miscounted or the teller did, you can straighten things out immediately before the deposit is finalized.

Most bank's ATMs are set up to accept cash. Although it's not 100 percent foolproof, mistakes are very rare. If you want to use this method, for safety reasons, it's best to do it while the bank is open when you can use an ATM in its lobby. Just like when you deposit a check at an ATM, follow the instructions on the screen for cash deposits.

A lot of banks have night deposit boxes. These are secure boxes, usually located on an outside wall of the bank or just inside the entryway. These boxes are used by merchants so that they don't have to keep cash in their stores overnight but anyone can use them. Just be sure to include a filled-out deposit slip and put everything in a securely sealed envelope.

Cash Funds Availability

Cash deposits are usually available immediately if you do them during business hours. If you make your deposit through the ATM or night deposit box after the bank has closed, your funds will most likely be available at the start of the next business day. Check with your bank on its policy.

Deposit Cash Restrictions

Unlike withdrawals, which you can do at just about any ATM as long as you're willing to pay the fee, deposits have to be made at a branch of your bank. You cannot make a deposit at a Capital One ATM if you bank at Chase. Similarly, a Wells Fargo ATM deposit will not show up in your Bank of America account.

Only you can deposit cash in your account. If a friend is loaning you cash money, they cannot deposit it into your account. They have to give you the cash for you to deposit. If your friend doesn't want to give you cash, they could send you money through an online service like PayPal and you can transfer it into your checking account from there.

Not exactly a restriction, but something to be aware of, If you deposit cash of $10,000 or more into your account, banks are required to report it to the IRS. They're also required to report combined deposits that total more than $10,000 if they seem related. For example, smaller deposits that total more than $10,000 all made within 24 hours would be reported.

The Patriot Act

The reason for these reporting requirements is the Bank Secrecy Act and the Patriot Act. The Bank Secrecy Act was passed by Congress in 1970. Its purpose was to catch people involved in money laundering or tax evasion. It was later strengthened by the Patriot Act, passed in 2002, in reaction to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The Patriot Act includes a section called International Money Laundering Abatement and Financial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001. It was designed to catch the movement of large sums of cash by alleged terrorists.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

You've probably seen official FDIC signs on the front doors or windows of banks. They're usually visible inside too. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation insures all types of deposits, including cash. Coverage is up to $250,000 per person.

You don't have to fill out any forms or do anything special to get this insurance coverage. It goes into effect as soon as you deposit funds in your account.

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