Many years ago, I switched from banking with a local bank to using an online bank instead.
I have both my checking account and savings accounts with an online bank and I love almost every aspect of that option. My favorite features include the online customer service, the higher deposit limits for depositing checks via mobile banking app, and the fact my bank doesn’t charge me any fees.
However, there is one thing I really do not like at all about online banking. It’s the biggest downside and is a real pain point for me.
The biggest disadvantage of online banking for me is the difficulty in depositing cash.
See, my bank doesn’t have any local branches or local ATMs of its own — which is pretty much the definition of an online bank. But that means there’s no place for me to take cash if I want to put it into my account. I cannot mail the cash either, as my bank won’t accept that (and it wouldn’t be a very smart move to send money in an envelope and hope it gets there anyway).
The bank I’ve chosen is very straightforward in coming right out and saying that it doesn’t accept cash deposits, pointing people instead to remote check deposits, wire transfers, and online transfers or direct deposit instead.
Unfortunately, none of those options help me in situations where I receive a cash gift that I want to put into my bank account or if someone pays me back in cash after I bought something for them.
Unfortunately, since I’ve had to accept the reality that I can’t deposit cash any more, I’ve explored some ways around this issue. They include:
Keeping and spending the cash. This is the most obvious solution, but it’s not one I like. If I get larger cash gifts, I sometimes want to deposit them and put them into savings rather than spending them. I also prefer to use credit cards for most purchases because I can earn rewards and benefit from perks like extended warranties. I don’t like to spend cash, so I don’t want to keep large amounts of it around and be forced to do so.Asking someone else to help. In the past, I’ve asked my parents or other close relatives to accept my cash and write me a check for it, which I can then deposit into my checking account. This has some obvious downsides, in that you need a willing relative who you can trust not to take your cash and then run (or accidentally write you a check that bounces). Plus, then they have to be able to deposit the cash somewhere if they don’t want to spend it.Asking to be given money in other ways. If someone is paying me back for something, I try to steer them toward using apps like Zelle or Venmo instead of giving me cash. That’s not always possible. It’s also hard to ask for people to Zelle or Venmo cash gifts (especially if you don’t know they are coming). Buying a money order might be an option for some people, but this costs money.
Now, this isn’t a big enough downside for me to want to switch back to a traditional bank. But if you deposit cash often and are thinking of switching to online banking, the difficulties of depositing cash are something you should definitely consider before you make the move.
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