Making deposits at an ATM can make your life easier. There's no need to visit a branch or wait for the mail to get your checks to the bank. But many people don’t know how to deposit funds at an ATM, or they’re not comfortable with the idea of ATM deposits. How does it work, and what do you need to know before you try it?
How to Make ATM Deposits
Be prepared ahead of time. If it's your first time, you'll be in learning mode, but the idea is to make a habit of having everything you need; you'll want to move as efficiently as possible so that you can safely get funds into the ATM and avoid holding up the line. Bring the following:
- A pen for endorsing checks and filling out a deposit slip (bank pens are often missing or out of ink)
- A deposit slip, if your bank requires one (grab a few extra so you can fill these out before arriving at the ATM next time)
- An envelope,if your bank requires one
Once you're ready, the process goes something like this:
- Go to the machine, insert your debit card, and enter your PIN (be sure to cover your hand as you enter your PIN)
- Choose the on-screen option for deposits
- Choose the account you want to deposit to
- Enter the amount of your deposit if necessary. Some ATMs can figure out how much you’re depositing by reading from the check or counting bills -- they won’t ask.
- Slip the envelope, checks, or cash into the ATM
- Wait for confirmation and your receipt. Make sure your session has ended and that your account is no longer accessible before you walk away.
Problems with ATM Deposits
Before you make ATM deposits, make sure you know what you’re getting into (and be sure to compare ATM deposits with mobile deposits made with your smartphone -- you might not even need to leave the house). Occasionally, ATMs make mistakes, and researching transactions can take several days (at least). There's also the issue of fees. Search for fee-free ATMs so you can spend all of that money you're depositing.
For details on what to watch out for, read about problems with making deposits at ATMs.
When is the Money Available?
Don't expect to have all of your money available immediately after making a deposit. Some portion of the deposit ($100, for example) might be available, but your bank's funds availability policy will describe how quickly the rest of your deposit is available for spending. If you deposit cash, the money might be available in your account immediately.
Which ATMs Accept Deposits?
Of course, not all ATMs will accept deposits. Your bank might not have installed ATMs with that capability at all locations, or you might find yourself using an ATM that is not part of your bank or credit union's network.
An easy way to find out whether or not you can make a deposit is to simply insert your card and punch in your PIN; if you see an option to make deposits, you're in business. If you want to know for sure before you make a trip to the ATM, visit your bank's website and find out where deposits are accepted.