Even though many banks and credit unions offer numerous user-friendly online features or operate exclusively online, banking online isn’t always easy. According to the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study, consumers are not happy with retail banks’ technology, including solutions for cash deposits.
“Making cash deposits is where online banks fall short,” said Jim Miller, senior director of banking at J.D. Power. “They make it easy to take cash out, but depositing it is where they fall short.”
Here are current options and steps for how to deposit cash into an online bank account.
1. Choose an Online Bank With a Store
Some online banks have stores available for customers. For example, Capital One has more than 10 Capital One 360 Cafés located in major cities across the U.S. These locations are staffed with associates who can take care of everyday banking needs, including depositing cash, and also offer fee-free ATMs, free WiFi, and coffee and beverages that are 50 percent off with a Capital One card.
2. Get a Money Order
A money order is similar to a personal check. One difference is that you pay for it in advance.
You can purchase a money order through financial institutions, the U.S. Postal Service and some big-box stores like Walmart. Double-check with your online bank to ensure that it accepts money orders before ordering one.
A minimal fee typically is charged for a money order. For example, the U.S. Postal Service charges $1.25 for a money order of less than $500; whereas a $500-$1,000 money order will cost you $1.65. You can also find free money orders through payday loan companies like Moneytree. Once the money order is made out, it is mailed to the bank, or you can deposit it via smartphone or mobile banking app.
3. Deposit Cash Into a ‘Cash Accepting’ ATM
Most online banks are connected to a large ATM network. For example, TIAA Direct is linked to Moneypass ATMs, which has over 24,000 ATMs nationwide.
Many Moneypass ATMs are able to accept deposited cash; however, most online banks such as Ally Bank, Bank5 Connect, Discover Bank, Synchrony Bank and TIAA Direct do not support this process.
“We don’t accept cash deposits,” said a TIAA Direct representative via telephone. “We recommend a money order or transferring the funds from another account to your TIAA Direct account.”
To best way to find out if your online bank accepts cash deposits via ATM is to call and ask. Using an ATM is an easy way to deposit cash if your online bank allows it.
4. Put Cash in a Traditional Checking Account and Transfer It Online
By maintaining a traditional checking account with a large bank, you never have to worry about how to deposit cash. You can deposit cash into a traditional account at a nearby branch or ATM and then transfer it to your online bank account easily. Two methods of making online transfers between financial institutions — electronic funds transfers and wire transfers — are outlined below.
If you choose to keep a traditional checking account, look for one with no monthly fees or very low monthly fees. For example, the Bank of America Core Checking Account is free if you maintain a monthly balance of $1,500 or make a monthly direct deposit of at least $250.
Make an Electronic Funds Transfer
An EFT is an electronic preauthorized service that allows you to move money from one bank to one or more accounts at a different financial institution. Many online banks recommend EFTs for depositing cash. “It’s the most efficient method,” said a Bank5 Connect representative.
An EFT is sent electronically from one account to another; however, it has to pass through an automated clearing house, which means the funds are usually held for one to three business days.
Use a Wire Transfer Service
Unlike EFTs, wire transfers are used for one-time transfers from one account to another account. They can be used to send money abroad.
Wire transfer fees are typically higher than EFT fees. For example, Ally Bank does not charge a fee for receiving a wire transfer but does charge $20 to send a wire transfer to another bank.
There is typically no hold on money for domestic wire transfers, but international transfers can be take a couple of days. Generally, the wire transfer option is better suited for sending larger amounts of money or sending money overseas instead of making everyday cash deposits.
Depositing cash into your online bank account can be difficult. Because online banks have not yet come up with a solution that makes depositing cash an easy, efficient process for customers, knowing your current options can help you plan your transactions to save time and avoid fees.
This article originally appeared on GoBankingRates.
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