How to withdraw large amounts of cash from a bank

Can you withdraw large amounts of cash from a bank?

You can withdraw as much money as you want from your bank in one day, but most banks have a minimum account balance. Banks must report transactions of $10,000 or more to the Internal Revenue Service.

To withdraw money, perform a normal withdrawal at your bank. Specific amounts may require a manager or additional time to retrieve the funds.

So how do you withdraw large amounts of cash from a bank? Will the IRS think you are up to no good?

Luckily for you, I will show you everything you need to know about withdrawing large amounts of cash. It’s your money, so here’s how you can use it when you want it.

Key Takeaways

  • You are entitled to the money in your bank account.
  • Bank accounts will often have a minimum account balance and charge a fee for dropping below the balance. Therefore, it is important to have enough cash before withdrawing a large sum of money.
  • Withdrawing $10k from a bank is legal, but the bank must report the transaction(s) to the IRS. The bank must also report structured transactions.
  • Banks report withdrawals over $10,000 to prevent illegal activities, such as money laundering or tax evasion.
  • Large withdrawals, such as withdrawing $10k, are best done at your local bank branch. Bring a government-issued photo ID and fill out a withdrawal slip. The teller may ask you why you are withdrawing the money for reporting purposes.

How to withdraw large amounts of cash from a bank

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Can I withdraw large amounts of cash from a bank?

You may withdraw large amounts of cash from your bank at any time. Large amounts of money may be reported to the IRS or take time for the bank to put together. To withdraw money, perform a normal withdrawal or talk to the bank manager.

Generally, banks will report transaction amounts over $10,000 to the IRS. The bank must legally report large transactions to prevent illegal activity, like money laundering.

Banks do not keep large amounts of money on hand.

Therefore, depending on the withdrawal size, it may take the bank time to pull funds together. Your bank may have certain restrictions on how much money you can withdraw without affecting your account.

What are bank rules on cash withdrawal?

The following are bank rules banks must follow for cash withdrawal:

  1. Transactions over $10,000 must be reported to the IRS
  2. Structured transactions must also be reported
  3. Identification is required for reported transactions

Transactions over $10k must be reported to the IRS

You are allowed to withdraw as much cash as you want from your financial account since it’s your money. However, withdraw over a certain amount, and any U.S. financial institution is legally obligated to report your withdrawal to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

IRS reporting requirement results from the Currency and Foreign Transaction Act, better known as the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).

The BSA has been in place since the 1970s. It was created to combat money laundering, terrorism, and other illegal activity.

The BSA states that any transaction exceeding $10,000 in cash, whether a withdrawal, deposit, currency exchange, or purchasing a traveler’s check, must be reported to the IRS. This also includes multiple withdrawals if they occur on the same day from the same banking institution.

For example, it would be reported if you made two cash withdrawals of $5,000 each from two different branches of the same bank. As a response, that may have the government asking why you suddenly need all that cash.

Structured transactions are a red flag

A bank will also have to file a report if they believe you are withdrawing a specific amount of cash that is less than $10,000 to avoid a report. For example, withdrawing $9,900 or $10,000 total split over a few consecutive days.

Identification is required for reported transactions

Banks must also ask for an ID on any transaction that needs to be reported.

Any report from a BSA is also sent to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Unit, a bureau within the U.S. Treasury Department. Don’t get nervous – you have nothing to worry about so long as you can prove your cash is being used for legitimate purposes.

How to withdraw large amounts of cash

Usually, you can easily withdraw cash from an ATM, but with large sums of money, you will need to go to your brick-and-mortar bank.

As with any cash withdrawal, you will need to:

  1. Fill out a withdrawal slip and give it to the teller.
  2. Provide a government-issued ID, such as a passport, state ID card, driver’s license, and your Social Security number.

For cash withdrawals over $10,000, the teller must complete IRS Form 8300: Report of Cash Payments Over $10,000 Received in Trade or Business.

Be prepared to answer any teller’s questions, including what you need the cash for. If you provide evasive answers or do not respond, the teller must make a suspicious activity report.

It is likely your bank won’t have the total amount of your cash withdrawal readily available. You may need to come back to the bank up to seven days later to collect your cash.

Once you have the cash in hand, remember to take proper safety precautions. Bigger banknotes will make a smaller pile of cash which will be easier to carry. For example, $10,000 in $100 bills can easily fit in a purse.

Avoid pulling out the cash in public and try to carry it somewhere safe and close to your body, such as an inner coat pocket. Remember to look confident and don’t clutch the area with the money.

It’s also a good idea to have someone you trust with you and to find a good storage place for your cash, such as a safety deposit box or hidden safe.

Why do banks ask why you are withdrawing money?

Banks may ask why you’re withdrawing money to prevent illegal activity. The main concern with large withdrawals is funding terrorists, money laundering, and other criminal activity. Most individuals do not require large sums of cash, so red flags may be raised.

Structured withdrawals are the process of withdrawing cash in multiple transactions to avoid IRS notification. Typically, structured withdrawal is a common tactic used by money launderers. A money launderer tries to make money earned through illegal activities seem legitimate.

Generally, structured withdrawals only happen when someone is up to no good. For example, Dennis Hastert was accused of withdrawing nearly $1,000,000 over five years. Dennis said it was so he could keep the cash, but he was accused of paying someone off.

What are valid reasons for large cash withdrawal?

Legitimate reasons for large cash withdrawals include cash emergency funds, traveling and currency exchange, or making large cash purchases. The reason for your withdrawal may be recorded by the bank or sent to the IRS. Ultimately, it’s your money, and you can spend it as you please.

Businesses may be exempt from cash transactions being reported to the IRS, depending on your bank. Typically, businesses have a legitimate need to withdraw and deposit large cash amounts.

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Where can I withdraw large amounts of cash?

Wherever you have your money stored, whether that be a commercial bank, credit union, or brokerage firm, you can withdraw as much cash as you have available. However, making a large withdrawal from ATMs or other services such as cash advance stores will have limits.

Financial institutions

There are nine types of financial institutions you could potentially store your money:

  • Central banks
  • Retail and commercial banks
  • Internet banks
  • Credit unions
  • Savings and loan associations
  • Investment banks and companies
  • Brokerage firms
  • Insurance companies
  • Mortgage companies.

Each of these has its own rules and regulations for withdrawing funds, especially large sums. Therefore, it is important to check with your institution first before attempting your withdrawal.

Generally, withdrawing large sums of money is allowed. Sometimes, you may need to transfer the funds to a bank account or credit union first, then withdraw the cash.

Take, for example, investment banks and companies and brokerage firms. You can withdraw large amounts of cash, but it must be from your brokerage account.

If you would like to withdraw more than you have available in cash from your brokerage account, you must first sell stocks or other investments. You can then wait for the trade to settle before you can withdraw money. Individuals may wish to speak to a financial advisor before selling any securities.

Some firms only offer wire transfers, so you would need to transfer the money to another bank account to withdraw cash.

ATM withdrawals

You can make large cash transactions from automated teller machines, up to the daily limit. ATM limits for single day transactions will typically range between $500 and $2,000. The daily ATM withdrawal limits depend on your bank who sets the daily withdrawal limit, number of bills withdrawn, and the type of account.

For example, a Bank of America ATM has two different withdrawal limits. An account holder can withdraw $1,000 or 60 bills for personal checking accounts or $700 for business ATM cards.

If you wish to withdraw a large amount of money from an ATM, consider checking out our guide on ATM withdrawal limits. We put together the guide to help bank customers quickly understand their ATM cash withdrawal limits at their nearest ATM.

Cash advance stores

You can obtain a large amount of cash from cash advance stores, but it’s not recommended. Cash advance stores offer services including payday loans or advances, money orders, and check cashing. Typically, there is a hefty fee associated with using a cash advance service.

The main draw to cash advance stores is that they give you easy access to physical cash. Before running to your local branch, consider checking out our guide on check cashing places to understand how they work and fees involved.

Cashier’s check

You may want to consider getting your bank to issue a cashier’s check in lieu of withdrawing stacks of cash. Cashier’s checks are typically used for guaranteeing funds for purchases, because the bank is guaranteeing the funds. Therefore, a cashier’s check is seen as a safer way to make a large single transaction.

If you’re goal is to make a large purchase, consider getting a cashier’s check. Check out Nerdwallet’s guide on cashier’s checks to find out your options for getting one.

FAQ: Additional information on large cash withdrawals

The following are frequently asked questions when it comes to withdrawing large amounts of cash.

Can I withdraw $20,000 from the bank?

If you have $20,000 in your bank account, you can withdraw $20,000 from the bank.

Withdrawing that much will be reported to the IRS by your banking institution. You may get questioned on why you need that amount of cash.

The bank teller will likely ask for your identification, what the cash is for, and for you to fill out additional paperwork specific to that banking institution.

If you have a legitimate purpose, it is perfectly legal.

Banks don’t usually have large amounts of cash available for immediate withdrawal, so it may take a few days to receive your money.

Can I withdraw all my money from the bank?

You may withdraw all your money from your bank. However, some banks have a minimum deposit to keep your account open. Additionally, some banks may charge a fee if your bank account falls below a certain threshold (e.g., $5).

For example, Chase bank will charge you a $12 monthly fee on a checking account unless certain conditions are met. To avoid the fee, you must perform one of the following:

  • Electronic deposit of $500 or more
  • Maintain a $1,500 beginning day balance
  • Maintain an average beginning day balance of $5,000 or more in any combination of your checking and linked qualifying deposits/investments.

Should I withdraw my money from the bank?

The rule of thumb here is to withdraw cash from the bank only when needed. A bank account is typically a safe place to store your money, as all bank accounts are insured for up to $250,000 by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

In fact, it is a good idea to spread your money out over a few different bank accounts, as each bank account is covered for up to $250,000, so more of your money will be covered.

Keeping a lot of cash at your house could put it at risk of theft and fires.

Another plus is that most bank accounts pay interest. Open up an interest-paying bank account, and you will be making money with your cash versus it collecting dust under your mattress.

How much money can you withdraw from a bank without it being reported?

Your bank will report withdrawals or deposits in amounts of $10,000 or more. The bank is also responsible for monitoring suspicious activity associated with your account.

Withdrawing multiple purchases in one day above $10,000 will require your bank to notify the IRS. For example, withdrawing $3,000 in the morning and $7,000 in the afternoon.

Your bank may also report transactions close to $10,000. For example, withdrawing $9,900 may look like you are trying to avoid the $10,000 threshold.

Additionally, your bank will monitor for frequent transactions in large amounts. An example would be withdrawing $5,000 every day for a consistent time.

Summary: Can I withdraw large amounts of cash from a bank?

As you can see, you own your money in the bank. You have the right to withdraw your money at any time. However, the bank will report deposits or withdrawals of $10,000 or more to the IRS.

The bank is obligated to report suspicious activity to help prevent criminal activity. Therefore, the following may trigger a report to the IRS:

  • Withdrawing or depositing $10,000 or more
  • Withdrawing or depositing amounts suspiciously close to $10,000 (e.g., $9,800) when it looks like you’re avoiding an IRS report.
  • Structured withdrawals or deposits (e.g., $5,000 in month 1 and again in month 2).

Your bank may be asked why you’re withdrawing so much money. Ultimately, it’s your money, and you could withdraw for any legal reason. Typically, people may withdraw large sums for travel and currency exchange, cash purchases, or cash emergency funds.

You can choose to withdraw all of your money, but be careful. Some banks may require a minimum deposit to keep your account open. In addition, you might be charged a fee for low funds.

Ultimately, there is nothing to worry about if you’re withdrawing large cash amounts for legal reasons.

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.