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Deposit Checks

Turn that paper into something you can use

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Deposit Checks

So you need to deposit a check. It may be the first time, or it may have been so long that you forgot how to do it. Find out what your options are, where to go, where not to go, and how technology makes it easier than ever to make a deposit.

Where to Deposit Checks

The best place to deposit checks is at your bank. If you don’t have a bank account, now you have a reason to open one. If your bank is far away, you can just mail the checks in, or you can use an electronic tool to get the job done.

If you use a credit union, you might not necessarily need to go to your credit union. Many credit unions use shared branching, which allows you to visit another credit union's branch to deposit to your account.

What’s Needed to Deposit Checks

You generally submit a deposit slip when you deposit checks. This slip tells the bank who you are, what your account number is, and how much you’re depositing. It helps make sure that the money gets into the right account. However, if you’re lazy you can sometimes just write your account number on the check and they’ll get into the right account.

Do you need to sign or endorse each item when you deposit checks? If the check is payable to you, you generally don’t need to sign it. However, if you want to be safe, you might write 'For deposit only to account #####' on the back of the check.

Deposit Checks at the ATM

For convenience, some people deposit checks at ATMs. You usually have to use your bank’s ATM, but it is more convenient if you can’t get to the bank during business hours or if there’s a long line to see a teller.

Drop Boxes

Similar to ATM deposits, you can deposit checks at a drop box. Your bank probably has a drop box by the front door that you can use after hours. They probably have a stack of deposit slips right next to it, so you can do everything you need without waiting to see a teller.

Stop Depositing Checks

One way to make life easy is to stop depositing checks altogether. Is there a way to have the money sent directly to your bank account? Ask your employer if you can sign up for direct deposit. Many financial and government payments can also come via direct deposit.

Electronic Tools

If you get paper checks, you can sometimes use electronic tools to help you deposit checks more quickly. Remote deposit capture is a way to instantly get a check into your bank’s system, and businesses use it every day. Some banks even allow consumers to use the service.

Your bank might also allow you to get a 'head start' on check deposits. You enter information from the check online, and then you have a few more days to get the check into the bank. Your bank may make a portion of your deposit available to you more quickly, and they’ll release the rest of the money once the check clears.

Where Not to Deposit Checks

Banks are the best place to deposit checks. You might be tempted to cash checks at more convenient places such as payday loan shops. If you do so, you’ll pay dearly. Fees at payday loan and check cashing shops are extremely high, and it’s worth your time to find a bank that fits your needs.

Is the Check Any Good?

You may want to look into a check before you deposit it. Does the person or company that wrote you the check actually have enough money to cover the payment? If not, you may be charged fees; it may also be a waste of your time to deposit the check before funds are available in the check writer’s account. To avoid hassles, contact the bank the check is written against to verify funds in the account and find out if the check will bounce.

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