About Ken Tumin

Ken Tumin founded the Bank Deals Blog in 2005 and has been passionately covering the best deposit deals ever since. He is frequently referenced by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications as a top expert, but he is first and foremost a fellow deal seeker and member of the wonderful community of savers that frequents DepositAccounts.

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Deposit-Taking ATMs at Credit Unions and Internet Banks


Yesterday when I mentioned Alliant Credit Union as having one of the best checking accounts, a reader described one benefit. She's able to both withdraw and deposit money at ATMs at her grocery store. Alliant Credit Union is one of many credit unions that has partnered with the ATM CO-OP Network, and this gives the credit union members access to many deposit-taking ATMs across the nation.

The ATM CO-OP Network gives credit unions an advantage over several internet banks which do not allow deposits to be made via ATMs. One of these internet banks is Ally Bank. Even though Ally Bank will refund all ATM fees for its checking account customers, it does not accept deposits from ATMs. This isn't mentioned on the Ally website. I had to verify this via the online chat service.

Another major internet bank that doesn't accept ATM deposits is ING DIRECT. Unlike Ally Bank, ING DIRECT doesn't refund ATM fees. Instead, it's part of the ATM Allpoint Network. The inability to make deposits at ATMs is mentioned at ING DIRECT's help section.

Alliant Credit Union is one of many all-access credit unions that has partnered with the CO-OP Network. Some of the other ones include Agriculture FCU, Air Force FCU, Consumers Credit Union, Digital Credit Union and Provident Credit Union.

Many of the deposit-taking CO-OP network ATMs are Vcom units in 7-Elevens. You can see the transactions that can be done in this 7-Eleven Vcom page at CU Service Centers. Note, it lists check deposits, but it doesn't list cash deposits.

These Vcom ATMs can do a lot, but I'm not sure how they compare to the new ATMs at large banks. Chase has its DepositFriendly ATMs and Bank of America has its Deposit Image ATMs which can deposit cash and checks without envelopes.

The ability to make deposits at ATMs can be convenient, but there's always the risk that the machine will malfunction. Then you'll have to figure out how to resolve the issue with the bank and hope your deposit doesn't get lost. You don't have this worry when you make a deposit using a teller at your local branch. Once the money has been deposited in your local bank or credit union, it's easy to transfer the money to your internet bank using its ACH transfer service. That's still my favorite way to deposit cash or checks. However, if banks and credit unions start cutting back on branch locations and if free checking accounts become less popular, deposit-taking ATMs may become more important.

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Bill in Wisconsin
  |     |   Comment #1
Ken, I am a customer of Alliant Credit Union and would agree with you that it has one of the best checking accounts out there.  Besides offering a reasonably high interest rate on savings and checking accounts, it offers 2 advantages that I especially like:  ATM deposits at my local US Bank through the MoneyPass system, as well as their lightening-fast ACH transfers.

I'm able to deposit cash and/or checks using a US Bank deposit envelope into my Alliant Credit Union checking account, and when I check my account online, I see that Alliant CU has given me immediate availability to my funds!

You mentioned the possibility of the ATM machine to malfunction when making deposits, but I have never experienced this happening...and I've been using an ATM machine for making deposits at various banks over the past couple decades.  Yes, there are times that an ATM may be offline and you'll have to find another one, but never has an ATM not functioned correctly for me if it is online.

The second advantage to Alliant Credit Union is ACH transfers.  A customer can add several external banks, and if the transfer request (both deposit and withdrawal) is entered before the day's deadline (which I think is 11 a.m. CT), the transfer is made the very next day.  No more 2, 3, or 4 day lag times as experienced with many other online banks' ACH transfer systems.

Anybody who's looking for a good online financial institution need look no further than Alliant Credit Union in Chicago if they want a good deal.
  |     |   Comment #3
I note, most places that allow you to use an ATM do count that as one of your six limited number of transactions on your savings account, as not done in branch. However, Alliant does not count transactions at an ATM as being from another institution; they count it as if it were an in-branch transaction, so it does not count against your six maximum. (This benefit is probably out of recognition that there are only about a half dozen Alliant branches around the country -- so it could be difficult to do any transactions that did not count against your six, or get them done in a timely manner.) 

Also, to clarify what I think Ken was saying, you can make cash deposits to your Alliant account at ATMs in the network, not simply check deposits. However, that is only at some of the ATMs; as Ken noted, the ones at 7-Eleven do not take cash, only checks. Of course, with Alliant, you can easily deposit your checks online by scanning them, so you don't even need to make a trip to the ATM -- you would only need the ATM when you need to deal in cash. 

Ken also is right about a bit of concern about a malfunction at an ATM. I have never had such a problem, but it certainly is a possibility. However, any cash you deposit is in its own envelop, so the ATM owner should be able to confirm it and credit you -- they have the envelop with your stated amount of money in it (oh, of course, it might take a little time to get everything probably credited if the machine ****s up, but you should bee able to get it in the end)! On the other hand, if you withdraw $80, but only $60 comes out of the machine, a bit harder, but again, their count on the machine should show they have $20 more in it than they should, so that should confirm for them.

I also note both deposit and withdrawal limits apply on any ATM. But I understand the same cash limits apply at an Alliant branch. But this means if you need a large amount of cash, you will have delay in getting that from your Alliant account -- over a certain amount, they will give only a check, and you would have to cash that elsewhere. Or, Alliant can ACH cash for free to your bank account elsewhere, and you then can withdraw the cash -- but the ACH will take at least overnight (you would need to set up that ACH connection in advance). 
  |     |   Comment #4
I've been using ATMs for over 25 years and I've *never* had one malfunction during my transaction. The only issue I can recall during that time was not an ATM problem, it was a people problem. I made a cash deposit and then the branch employee who opened the envelope helped themself to some of the cash and changed my deposit to a lower amount. It took a fair amount of hassle with the bank management to get this fixed but I did eventually get my money back. They wouldn't say, but I think they had the employee fingered for theft (it was a new employee) and wanted to wait and let them do it again and get caught in the act before crediting me. In any event, I think that was an isolated incident. Now, I do banking at Chase & Wells Fargo where the ATM itself counts the cash and this situation could not happen again.
  |     |   Comment #5
I concur with your article: CO-OP ATMs are Great! I have three different credit unions, all on the Co-Op network, and their convenience is so much better than being stuck with one bank (or fees). Another plus for Credit Union membership!
Outer Space Guy
  |     |   Comment #6
I have had an ATM fail on me once (as well as the more common "ATM is out of order").  It was during a withdrawl (not a deposit), and the ATM had a cassette read error mid way through my transaction.

It was an AllPoint ATM and my account was only debitted for the actual amount dispensed.  I just went another 2 miles down the street and withdrew the remainder at another AllPoint ATM.

  |     |   Comment #7
Alliant checking is decent. I use it as a Hub account. However, I never use Alliant checking to do billPay. The reason is you are never sure when your payee is going to receive the payment. The billPay system I am using in another bank always states "the pay day is the day the payee receives the payment electronically or in paper", much more convenient. my 2cents.
  |     |   Comment #8
I have never had an ATM fail on me.  I have been deposting checks for over a year at my local Chase bank.  It is much easier abd faster to deposit checks at ATM's.  No lines and no forms to fill out.  The ATM will also give you images for the checks deposited.
Scott W
  |     |   Comment #9
I deposit to Ally Banky with my scanner.  Once you do it a few times it's easy.  I hear they are going to accept mobile deposits by taking a picture with your smart phone and deposit too.  This is would be easier than atm deposits.  Also, if they ever **** up an online deposit (scanning) or smartphone (picture) deposit you always still have the original check, unlike an ATM machine where its gone.  BTW, my CIT bank experience has still been good..just ope they hold the rate.
  |     |   Comment #10
My credit union in Avon Lake OH takes foreign deposits from most banks and credit unions. It depends on the card you are using. Whether a non-member/customer using our ATM gets full credit or not from his financial institution has nothing to do with us. That is a decision made by the other institution and what policy they have for accepting the files.  Our members get immediate credit when the transaction reaches us whether it is cash or check or mixed deposit when they use an ATM THAT  ACCEPTS WHAT ARE CALLED FOREIGN DEPOSITS (not members/customers of the bank or credit union who owns the ATM). We are on line and get the deposits and withdrawals almost simultaneously.

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