Can you deposit cash at an ATM?

A smiling man wearing a backpack deposits cash in a atm with a city street visible behind him.Image: A smiling man wearing a backpack deposits cash in a atm with a city street visible behind him.

In a Nutshell

Yes, in many cases you can deposit cash at one of your bank’s ATMs. But not all ATMs are set up to accept cash deposits.
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You’re probably used to taking money out of an ATM. But in some cases, you can deposit money into the machine, as well.

Sometimes it’s not convenient to deposit your cash inside a bank branch. Maybe you live too far away from one or you can’t find the time to go during regular bankers’ hours. If this is the case, you may be able to deposit cash at an ATM.

We’ll go over how to deposit cash at an ATM and things you should watch out for before doing so.

Can you deposit cash at an ATM?

Yes, it is possible to deposit cash at an ATM. However, not all ATMs are equipped to accept cash, and you generally can only deposit cash at an ATM owned by or in partnership with your bank or credit union. You may also face limits on how much you can deposit.

Does my bank allow cash deposits at an ATM?

Chances are, yes, your bank allows deposits at its ATMs. Many banks and credit unions offer ATMs equipped to handle cash deposits (you can often deposit checks as well). However, you’ll need to check with your individual financial institution to make sure.

And even if your bank accepts them, not every ATM is equipped to accept deposits. You may need to use your bank’s website to find the ones that are.

How much cash can you deposit at an ATM?

Your bank may put limits on how much cash you can deposit at an ATM at one time. In some cases, these limits are extremely high — such as $10,000 — and you’re not likely to run into issues with them. However, in other cases the limits may be lower. Check with your individual bank to find out.

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

Typically no, you can’t make deposits at ATMs that aren’t associated with your bank. This is different from ATM cash withdrawals, where you usually can take money out from an ATM even if you don’t have an account with its bank (usually for a fee).

Some credit unions use shared ATMs through the Co-op ATM network. You may be able to use these ATMs to make deposits but you’ll want to check with your credit union first to be sure.

Learn more: What is the difference between a credit union and a bank?

How long does it take for my ATM deposit to be available?

This will vary from bank to bank. In some cases, your cash deposits are available to use instantly or by the end of the day. In others, it may take up to five days for your money to be available. Check with your bank to find out its policies.

How to deposit cash at an ATM

How you deposit cash at an ATM can vary from bank to bank, but most of the principles are the same.

  1. Find an ATM. You can use your bank’s app or website to find an ATM that’s convenient for you. In many cases, the ATM finder tool will let you know which ones are able to accept cash deposits.
  2. Access your account. Use your debit or ATM card and PIN to access your account at the ATM. On the menu screen, you’ll likely see an option to make a deposit.
  3. Choose the account you’d like to deposit to. You may be able to deposit money into your checking or savings account.
  4. Insert cash according to your bank’s policy. The ATM screen will guide you through the process of inserting the cash you are depositing. You may need to use an envelope and deposit slip, though many modern ATMs allow you to insert cash directly without either.
  5. Verify the deposit amount. Before inserting your cash into the ATM, count it and make sure to remember the total. The ATM will count the bills you’ve inserted and present the total on the screen. Make sure that number matches up with the total you counted. If there’s a discrepancy, make sure to note it and follow up with your bank.
  6. Get a receipt. The ATM will offer you a receipt with your transaction. Make sure to grab it in case anything goes wrong — like the amount that shows up in your account is different from what you deposited.

How to deposit cash with an online bank

Online-only banks typically don’t have branches or ATMs, but you still may be able to deposit cash to your account. These banks may have partnerships with ATM networks or retailers that will accept your cash and make sure it is deposited into your account.

Ask your bank whether it offers cash deposits through any ATM networks or use your bank’s mobile app or website to find locations where you can deposit bills.

If your online-only bank has a partnership with retail stores, such as CVS, Walgreens or Family Dollar, to collect cash deposits, it’s only slightly different. You’ll present your debit card to a cashier and tell them you’d like to deposit cash to your account. You’ll swipe your card and hand over the money, and your money will soon be credited to your account. You are likely to pay a small fee ($4.95 is common) for the service.

However, keep in mind that not all online banks allow cash deposits.

What’s next?

While it’s often possible to deposit cash at an ATM, if you’re not comfortable doing so, there are plenty of other ways to handle transactions. Here are a few.

  • Deposit cash in person. You may have greater peace of mind handing your hard-earned dollars to a human teller rather than inserting them into a machine. If you can reach your bank during its hours of operation, you might have an easier time than simply walking in than using the ATM.
  • Use mobile payment services. Instead of accepting cash from friends or family members, you might consider asking them to use a mobile payment app, like Venmo, Zelle or PayPal. Using these services, they can send money directly from their bank accounts to yours, without needing to exchange cash. This can be especially convenient for small purchases or splitting expenses.
  • Ask for a cashier’s check or money order. For other purchases, such as selling an item through an online forum, you may ask your buyer to use a cashier’s check or money order instead of giving you cash. Both are essentially prepaid checks, where the company or financial institution that sells the check or money order guarantees the payment. And if your bank offers the service, you can make your deposit digitally via your bank’s app.

About the author: Andrew Dunn is a veteran journalist with more than a decade of experience as a reporter and editor at North Carolina news organizations, including the Charlotte Observer and the StarNews in Wilmington. In those roles,… Read more.