How to deposit money in an online bank

Key points to remember:

  • To fund your online banking account, you can deposit money in a separate bank account with ATMs or branches, and then transfer that money to your online banking electronically.

  • You can also purchase a money order and make it payable to yourself before depositing a mobile check into your online banking account.

  • If your online bank is part of an ATM network, you can deposit money into your online account through a linked ATM.

  • You can also consider getting a reloadable prepaid debit card that you can deposit money on and link it to your online banking account.

You have money ? Great. Or not so great if you want to deposit it into an online bank account.

The best online banks have low fees and good overall ratings. Depositing cash requires a few extra steps, but it is doable. Here are four ways.

LendingClub High Yield Savings

LendingClub Bank Logo

Synchrony Bank High Yield Savings

Synchrony Bank logo
APY

0.85%

Capital One logo

Capital One 360 ​​Performance Savings™

Capital One logo
APY

0.80%

1. Local deposit, electronic transfer

Online banks such as Ally, Capital One 360, and Discover allow you to electronically link your account to another account at a traditional bank or credit union. If that linked institution has a local branch, make your cash deposit there. Next, create an electronic transfer, also known as an ACH transfer, to transfer the money to your online bank.

Many institutions allow free ACH transactions, although they can take up to three business days.

2. Buy a money order

Turn your money into an easy-to-deposit check by buying a money order at a local retailer or post office, then make it in your name. If your online bank has an electronic scan feature, you can take a photo and upload the money order to your account for deposit. If your bank does not have this feature, you can mail it to the bank’s headquarters for deposit.

You may have to pay a small fee for the money order – often less than $2 – for a value of up to $1,000. But you would have a safe alternative to cash, which is one of the main reasons to buy a money order. For amounts over $1,000, you may have to rush for a cashier’s check at a bank, which usually costs a few dollars more.

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3. Deposit money in a linked ATM

Some, but not all, online banks are able to collect deposits through ATMs. Ask your institution if an ATM option is available. With a Capital One 360 ​​checking account or savings account, for example, you can deposit money into a machine at any of the Capital One cafes or bank branches in a few states and a handful of cities across the country. Another bank, LendingClub, participates in two ATM networks that accept deposits, those bearing the NYCE or MoneyPass logo.

4. Load money on a reloadable prepaid debit card

To make frequent cash deposits, consider buying a reloadable prepaid debit card and linking it to your online banking account. You can then load money onto the card at select stores and make an ACH transfer to your online bank. American Express Bluebird card (read NerdWallet’s Bluebird Review), for example, lets you add cash to most Walmart checkouts at no charge.

But there are downsides: Many cards charge deposits at other retailers, and some have additional fees, such as monthly membership fees, that will eat into your balance. Use NerdWallet’s guide to compare prepaid debit card options before deciding to buy one.

» Want to compare the best interest rates on savings accounts? Check out NerdWallet’s list of best savings rates

Online banks are optimized for online transactions, so wire transfers and even mobile check deposits are often a breeze. This is not the case with cash, but there are ways to potentially store your money in an online account. It may take some effort, but it will be worth it the next time a wad of bills comes your way.


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David A. Albanese