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ATMs, or automated teller machines, are located practically everywhere. You can find them at your favorite grocery store, the local bar and in the lobbies of many major hotels. ATMs provide banking customers with easy access to their cash when they are unable to go to a bank or bank with a financial institution that doesn't have physical locations. But, what if you need to make a deposit? Unfortunately, you're more restricted when making a deposit at an ATM versus making a withdrawal.
Can You Deposit Cash at Any ATM?
One of the primary functions of an ATM is to help give customers another point of access to their banking resources. While you can withdraw cash from almost any ATM, making deposits is a different process altogether.
The factor that decides whether you can make a deposit at a certain ATM is whether it's in the network associated with your bank. In the United States, large financial institutions—including Chase, Bank of America and Citi—operate major ATM networks with machines that number in the tens of thousands. Customers are given guidance on what networks they can transact with in the fine print of the ATM agreements they receive when their debit card is issued.
You may not be allowed to make deposits using an out-of-network ATM, and you may be charged fees by both your bank and the ATM operator when you perform services at an out-of-network ATM.
How to Make a Deposit at the ATM
Making a deposit at an ATM is a fairly straightforward process. Before you make your deposit it's important to make sure that the ATM is located in a safe place. Is it well-illuminated? Do you need to use your card to access a machine located inside a building?
- Have your PIN memorized and ready. When making deposits at the ATM, your PIN number helps to protect you from fraudulent activity or access to your account.
- Check the deposit network on the ATM. Regardless of where you are in the world, the ATM that you're at will be associated with a deposit network. If you're going to a major bank, then the deposit network would be associated with that bank.
- Make sure you have your debit card and cash ready prior to starting your transaction. If you're depositing cash, make sure not to flash it around. If you're also depositing checks, endorse the back of your check correctly. Depending on your bank's procedures, you will either simply sign your name or also include "For deposit only."
- Once you've finalized your transaction, always request an emailed or printed receipt. This documentation may be needed if there's an issue with your deposit.
- Confirm the deposited amount before you leave the machine. If the deposited amount isn't reflected properly in your account, deal with it immediately. Fortunately, every transaction has a unique number and it's fairly simple for banking institutions to find your transaction and remedy errors.
Do ATMs Charge Fees?
It's important to note that some ATMs charge you to access your account. It's important to review terms of service for your credit or debit card associated with the account that you would like to access.
In the event that you're able to make a cash deposit at an out-of-network ATM, you may also end up paying a fee to complete that transaction. Financial institutions do communicate this with their clientele, but it's important for customers to read the fine print on their account.
For banking customers making numerous ATM deposits, it's important to understand the fees that may result for each transaction.
The Bottom Line
Despite increasing access to digital deposit tools including taking photos of checks and uploading the image in order to deposit from anywhere, ATMs aren't going anywhere. Knowing how to use them as well as the potential costs associated with them is key to keeping more money in your wallet.
If you're not sure about what network your bank or credit union uses, you can check online to see where in-network machines are located throughout your town and any other communities where you do banking. Fortunately, you can typically find this information on your bank or credit union's website or app.