How to deposit or cash a personal check at an ATM

Can you deposit or cash a check at an ATM?

Most banks allow you to deposit or cash your check at an ATM. Call or Google search “your bank’s name + deposit check” to see if your bank allows for check deposits at ATMs. Some banks may offer a mobile app where you can deposit checks by taking a picture with your smartphone.

So which banks allow you to deposit or cash a check at an ATM?

  1. Bank of America
  2. JPMorgan Chase
  3. Wells Fargo
  4. Citigroup
  5. US Bank

And that’s only the beginning! Check deposits at ATMs are becoming a standard practice for banks.

Luckily, I will tell you everything you need to know about check deposits at ATMs. You won’t be wasting your lunch break running to an ATM without check deposits! Your time is valuable. Here’s what you need to know.

Key Takeaways:

  • You can deposit or cash a check at most ATMs, but not all banks accept ATM check cashing or deposits. Call your bank or check online before heading to your nearest ATM.
  • For best results, use an ATM associated with the bank for which you have an account. Not all ATMs will allow you to cash or deposit checks without an account at the associated financial institution.
  • The type of checks you can cash at an ATM include personal, third-party, foreign, government, and cashier’s checks. Third-party checks will need an endorsement before depositing. Foreign checks may be rejected as banks prefer in-person deposits for foreign checks.
  • Use your debit or ATM card to start cashing a check at an ATM. Enter your PIN and then follow the on-screen prompts to cash or deposit a check at the ATM.

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Can I deposit or cash a personal check at an ATM?

Most banks allow you to deposit and cash personal checks at an ATM

Call or check online to see if your bank allows ATM check deposits. Alternatively, some banks allow mobile app deposits, so you don’t have to leave your house.

For example, let’s say you bank at Bank of America. 

Do a Google search for “Bank of America deposit checks ATM.” One of the first search results is Bank of America’s FAQs on ATM banking.

Bank of America - Deposit check at ATM

You should note that you may only be able to deposit checks at ATMs with which you bank. In other words, avoid depositing a check at a Wells Fargo ATM if you bank at Bank of America.

Consider mobile deposits instead

ATM check deposits are convenient if you live or work close to an ATM. However, mobile check deposits are faster and can be done outside of normal business hours

With mobile check deposits, you can take a couple of pictures through your mobile banking app. The process for mobile check deposits is simple:

  1. In the mobile app, you’ll take a photo of the front of the check with your mobile device.
  2. Flip the check over and take a photo of the back of the check.
  3. Select the account to receive your direct deposit.
  4. You will deposit your check with a few taps or swipes on your phone. 

Hold onto the check until you’ve confirmed the deposit online.

Again, check to see if your bank accepts mobile deposits. Google search “Bank of America mobile check deposits.” 

As you can see, Bank of America allows mobile check deposits with your smartphone and their app.

Bank of America - Mobile check deposit

Depositing or Cashing a personal check at an ATM

Here is how to deposit or cash a check at an ATM:

  1. Access the ATM with a bank card
  2. Endorse your check
  3. Choose deposit check or cash check
  4. Choose the account to deposit money in
  5. Follow the on-screen prompts
  6. Confirm the transaction

Let’s take a look at each step in detail and how you can cash a deposit at an ATM.

Use your bank card to access the ATM

Use your ATM, debit, or bank card to access the ATM functions available for your account by inserting the card into the appropriate slot at the ATM.

Endorse the check (e.g., sign the back)

Sign the back of the check on the signatory line, which is usually one or two gray lines on the top of the backside of the check that says “Endorse here” and “Do not endorse below this line.”

Check with your bank that no further information is needed, as some banks want additional instructions added to the endorsement line, such as bank account number.

Select ‘deposit check’ or ‘check cashing’

When the check is ready, indicate that you’d like to deposit it on the ATM screen.

If your ATM allows check cashing, the option will appear on the screen. The process is similar to when you go to deposit the check. 

You must still sign the check on the endorsement line and deposit it into the machine.

Most banks will require you to have the cash equivalent to the check amount in your account. The ATM may make a check deposit and then allow you to withdraw the cash from your account.

Choose the account to deposit the money

Choose the account to which you would like to deposit if you are attempting an ATM deposit.

Follow the on-screen instructions

Follow the instructions on the screen to cash or deposit the physical check into the ATM. 

Note that most ATMs no longer require envelopes for check deposits. The machine can read the amount the check is made out for, from which bank and account holder, and to whom. 

However, suppose the bank still uses envelopes for check deposits. In that case, you’ll need to:

  1. Insert your check into the envelope
  2. Seal the envelope
  3. Fill out any necessary information as indicated on the front of the envelope.

The ATM will take the check, scan it, and display the information it reads on the screen for you to see.

Confirm the transaction

Confirm that the ATM read the information on the check correctly, including the amount of the personal check.

If the ATM could not read the amount – usually due to handwriting – it may ask you to type the amount on the screen. Double-check that the number you typed in is accurate, and hit confirm.

The bank will now process your transaction. 

Depending on your bank and the bank that issued the original check, it could make a portion of the funds deposited available immediately. You may need to wait 2-5 business days for the check to clear before funds are available.

Complete your transaction, take your receipt, and take your debit or ATM card from the machine.

Watch the screen to ensure it clears out before the next person in line approaches the machine.

What types of checks can I cash at an ATM?

There are five major types of checks that can be deposited in an ATM, including:

  • Personal checks
  • Third-party checks
  • Cashier’s checks
  • Government checks
  • Foreign checks.

However, not all check types are created equal, and your bank may require some additional information from you before making the funds from the check available.

Below, learn what types of checks you can deposit in an ATM and how to treat each differently.

Personal Checks

Personal checks are written between individual people instead of a check from a business to another person. For example, a birthday check from your grandma.

A personal check is drawn on personal checking or savings accounts. When you deposit a personal check from someone, it will deduct the check amount from the funds available in that person’s checking or savings account.

Personal checks are often handwritten but still note the issuing bank’s information. Going to the issuing bank can be handy if you’d rather cash the check immediately. 

Your funds will be available within the next one to two business days if the check clears, depending on the issuing bank.

Third-Party Checks

Very few banks accept third-party checks at ATMs because these double-endorsed checks require a government-issued ID. However, some banks will accept third-party checks at an ATM if both parties on the check have existing accounts at that bank in good standing.

Always call your bank before trying to deposit or cash a third-party check at an ATM.

Before trying to deposit or cash a third-party check into an ATM, ensure you endorse the check by:

  1. Have the original payee sign the back of the check
  2. Write ‘pay to the order of’ and the name of the new payee

An example of endorsing the back of a check looks something like this:

“Signature of person the check is issued to”

Pay to the order of

“Name of person check is being signed over to”

Cashier’s Checks

Cashier’s checks are issued from the bank’s account instead of someone’s account. This process guarantees that funds are available for the check’s amount since those funds are drawn directly from the bank.

Cashier’s checks are almost as good as cash, so fraud is prevalent. If someone gives you a cashier’s check to deposit into your ATM, first call the issuing bank to verify it’s legitimate. Then, keep track of the check, so it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

Government Checks

A government-issued check is issued by a local, state, or federal government agency. This type of check is commonly issued for tax returns or government assistance programs like Social Security or disability. These checks are very easy for an ATM or your bank’s mobile app to deposit or cash.

Foreign Checks

A foreign bank issued a foreign check in a foreign currency other than the United States dollar.

Some banks will allow foreign check deposits in the ATM. However, you should call your bank before depositing a foreign check to ensure that the bank allows this.

Many ATMs cannot accept foreign checks or currency because they lack the capability. If the Federal Reserve System does not cover the check, the bank likely cannot process it.

Most ATMs will spit out checks they cannot read, so you’ll quickly know if the ATM does or does not accept foreign checks.

Some banks, including US Bank, do allow foreign check deposits. However, the bank wants you to come into the branch in person with valid identification to deposit the physical check.

Take the check to a teller for cash. 

Most banks will charge a hefty fee to deposit or cash a foreign check and extend the time it takes for checks to clear. Some people have reported that it took 30 days to clear a foreign check deposit through their credit union.

Can I deposit a check at a different bank ATM?

Some banks allow you to deposit cash at any ATM, but not all.

Sometimes, you want to deposit a check after the bank branch’s business hours. An ATM is a convenient way to do that if your bank does not offer mobile deposits.

For the most part, it’s best to deposit a check of any kind into an ATM that belongs to the bank where you have a checking or savings account.

But if you must deposit a check at an ATM that your bank does not own, look for shared ATM networks. For example, TD Bank uses the NYC Shared Deposit Scheme so that you can deposit a check into a TD Bank account at any of these shared ATMs.

If you want to deposit cash at an ATM that doesn’t belong to your bank, be prepared to wait. It can take up to five days for that cash to clear in the account where you deposited it.

Banks allowing check deposits at other bank ATMs

Banks that allow cash deposits at ATMs other than their own include:

  • Capital One
  • Navy Federal Credit Union
  • PNC
  • State Employees Credit Union
  • TD Bank

Banks NOT allowing check deposits at other bank ATMs

Bigger banks with plenty of ATM availability tend to disallow cash deposits in ATMs other than their own. Banks that do not allow cash deposits at ATMs include

  • Bank of America
  • Citi Bank
  • Chase
  • U.S. Bank
  • Wells Fargo

Can I cash a personal check at an ATM without an account?

A bank account is required to deposit money into your account at an ATM. You may only cash personal checks at your bank’s ATM. Alternatively, you can cash the check in person at the issuing bank, visit a cash checking store, or endorse the check.

With an ATM, the money must be deposited into your account for withdrawal. ATMs will also require using a debit card and PIN to verify identity. Therefore, you need a bank account to cash a check.

The issuing bank should be able to cash the check for you

Not sure who the issuing bank is? 

The issuing bank will be listed on the check. You may be charged a substantial fee for cashing a check without a bank account.

You may also visit a cash checking store, like Money Tree. Most grocery store services can cash checks as well. However, you’ll likely be charged a fee for check cashing services.

You may endorse a check to your close friend with a bank account. To endorse a check, sign your name on the back of the check. Sometimes the back of the check will have a place for you to sign. Once endorsed, your friend can cash the check at their bank without a fee.

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How long does it take for funds to become available after depositing a check?

Most banks will take two business days to clear a check deposit, meaning you won’t be able to access the amount of money you deposited until two business days after you do so because the bank has placed your check on hold.

If you deposit a check on a Friday, you won’t have access to your funds until Tuesday.

Some banks will immediately make funds available to accounts in good standing or if the check was also issued from the same bank where you hold an account.

Banks also offer partial funds available soon after a check deposit. 

For example, Bank of America and Wells Fargo offer up to $200 the next business day when you deposit an ATM. The remaining balance of the check will clear in two to seven days.

If the check deposit is out of the ordinary, foreign, or for a large amount, the bank reserves the right to take a longer amount of time to clear the deposit. You may wait as long as 30 days for the funds to be available for foreign checks.

What is the largest check you can deposit in ATM?

Very few banks have a deposit limit at an ATM for checks, so you can deposit as much as you’d like on any given day.

However, banks do have withdrawal limits that vary depending on their regulations. Bank of America, for example, only allows customers to withdraw $1,000 or 60 bills at one time, whichever is lower. The machine is only capable of dispensing 60 bills.

However, it is good to note that the FDIC only insures $250,000 in personal checking account deposits. This assurance means you’ll get your deposits back if the bank fails. 

Is it safe to deposit a check at an ATM?

It is generally safe to deposit a check at an ATM and carry the same risk as handling cash.

While mistakes can happen at an ATM, rarely the bank cannot address these ATM errors with proper time and investigation. It’s also rare that an ATM errors at all.

When using an ATM for any transaction, including depositing a check, make a note of the deposit in your checkbook to keep track. Or, check your online banking statement to ensure the check deposit was successful and recorded correctly. 

Immediately report any issues to your bank.

When handling any transaction at an ATM, pay attention to your surroundings. ATMs typically have rear-view mirrors on them so you can see what’s happening behind you while facing the screen.

If you feel uncomfortable, remove your ATM card and leave the ATM immediately. Or, if you notice suspicious activity, complete your transaction inside the local bank branch.

What to do if an ATM took your money but did not deposit?

If an ATM takes your money but does not deposit it, stand by the ATM and get someone from the bank branch. Have them either come outside and assess the situation or, after business hours, get someone from the bank on the phone. 

Do not leave the machine.

Take photos of the machine and any error messages during this process. Taking a picture of the check beforehand will also come in handy as the bank investigates.

The bank will initiate an investigation process involving reviewing the ATM logs to see what transaction was taking place and if you made a deposit. Then, the branch will need to examine the contents of the machine.

Unfortunately, there’s rarely an immediate fix when an ATM takes your money but does not deposit it. It can take weeks or even months for the investigation to conclude.

Can I cash a check with insufficient funds?

You may cash a check as long as the issuer has sufficient funds. The check will bounce if the person who wrote it doesn’t have enough money in their account. However, if you owe money, then the bank may withhold a portion or all of your check.

Can someone else cash the check for me?

Someone else can cash the check for you if you endorse the check. Sign the back of the check and write “pay to the order of” and your friend’s name. Your friend may now cash the check at their bank and give you the money.

You should only endorse a check to someone you trust. You are giving ownership of all money to the person endorsed.

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Where else can you cash a personal check?

You can cash personal checks at:

  • The issuing bank
  • ACE Cash Express 
  • Check Into Cash
  • Local grocery stores
  • Walmart
  • 7-Eleven.

You don’t need a bank account to cash a personal check at any of these locations, but you do need proper identification. These businesses will require two forms of official photo ID, including:

  • Military identification
  • Driver’s license
  • Passport
  • Green card

You can also cash checks at check-cashing services, but they usually have high check-cashing fees.

The best way to cash a personal check is to take it directly to the issuing bank. The teller can confirm that the issuer has sufficient funds to cover the check amount in their checking or savings account.

How else can you get quick cash without cashing a check?

Sometimes getting to an ATM isn’t our first choice or always possible. If your goal is to get quick cash, you can also:

  1. Get a cashier’s check from your bank
  2. Obtain a payday loan
  3. Get a cash advance
  4. Obtain a personal loan

Let’s take a look at each option in a little more detail.

Cashier’s Checks

A cashier’s check is one of the best financial solutions for making large transactions. Cashier’s checks offer a secure way to make purchases because the bank guarantees the full amount of the check. You can get a cashier’s check through most member FDIC banks or credit unions.

If a cashier’s check is what you need, consider checking out Bankrate’s guide on cashier’s checks. This guide will walk you through when you should use one, the fees, and how to get your check.

Payday Loans

Certain check-cashing services will offer payday loans. A payday loan is when you write a check to a lender to be issued after your payday, and the lender gives you immediate cash advances.

For example, MoneyTree in Washington takes a flat fee of $15 for every $100 borrowed up to $500. After $500, MoneyTree charges $10 for every $100.

There are a number of reasons why you shouldn’t get a payday loan, but the most common is high-interest rates. Therefore, you should only get a payday loan as a last resort.

Cash Advance

You can also use your credit card at an ATM for a cash advance. The drawback to credit card cash advances is extremely high-interest rates, as outlined in your cardholder agreement. There is often little to no grace for interest on your cash advance loan, so it’s usually not a good idea.

I’ve discussed how you can get a cash advance using your credit card at an ATM in this article.

Personal Loans

If you have a good credit score, you may be able to get a personal loan on short notice. With a personal loan, you are borrowing money at an agreed-upon interest rate and are responsible for paying the loan back in regular increments.

Nerdwallet put together a guide on personal loans, which should help you obtain a loan if you need one.

Summary: How to deposit or cash a personal check at an ATM

As you can see, most ATMs will allow you to deposit or cash a check. However, you will need a bank account with the bank at the ATM you’re choosing to use. You may not deposit a check at an ATM without a bank account.

Check cashing stores and the issuing bank can also cash your check without a bank account. However, check-cashing stores and the issuing bank will charge insane fees. Instead, find a friend with a bank account and endorse the check to them.

ATM check cashing may be convenient if you work or live by an ATM. However, a lot of banks also allow for mobile deposits. Simply install the bank’s mobile app, and you can deposit your check with a smartphone.

To deposit a check, use your bank’s ATM as usual. The ATM will require a debit or bank card with your PIN. Follow the on-screen prompts for check cashing or deposits.


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John is the founder of TightFist Finance and an expert in the field of personal finance. John has studied personal finance for over 10 years and has used his knowledge to pay down debt, grow his investment portfolio, and launch a financial based business. He is committed to sharing content related to personal finance based on his experience in his career, investing, and path towards reaching financial independence.