If Cash is King, Why is it So Hard to Put in the Bank?

In 2014, financial institutions shut down 2,599 branches. Compared with the opening of only 1,137 the same year, that’s a net loss of 1,462 branches. With the increase of electronic services and 100 percent online banks, the traditional ways of banking are becoming less common.

Is Cash Going Away?

What used to require a trip to the branch can now be done with a few taps on a smartphone or tablet. But what about cash? The use of cash in the U.S. is declining, but there’s no doubt it is still an important part of commerce. For example, a child may receive a $20 bill in his birthday card from Grandma, even though he only uses the online account his parents opened for him. Or, Steve of Steve’s Landscaping may utilize an online-only business account to avoid high monthly fees, but he has that one customer who always pays in cash.

While the use of 100 percent online banks is appealing for these low fees — due to lower overhead costs — and innovative electronic features such as remote deposits, there is still some question about cash handling. How can you deposit cash to a bank that doesn’t have any branches or even night deposit drops, for example? What if you need to speak with a live human being, but there aren’t any tellers? These questions are a result of the transition from banking as a service with a physical “location” to a utility that you can access from virtually anywhere. Despite this shift in the banking industry, cash hasn’t caught up; it’s still a physical, tangible thing that needs to be deposited somewhere to be utilized in the banking realm. Is it even possible with 100 percent online banks?

Can I Deposit Cash?

The answer is yes; you just have to know where to go:

  • ATMs — some ATMs accept deposits of both cash and checks. Be sure the ATM is part of your bank or a partner network.
  • Another financial institution — some banks offer co-op banking that allows you to deposit funds at a bank other than your own, but the funds are deposited into your online account. This is more common with credit unions.
  • Mail a money order — this may cost you a few dollars, but getting a money order can ensure your money arrives safely if you need to send the deposit in the mail. Mailing cash is never advised.
  • Have a close friend or family member write you a check — If it’s someone you trust, then you can give them the cash, have them write you a check and deposit the check electronically. Key point: be sure this is someone you trust.
  • Use a separate account that has physical branches — for some people, this defeats the purpose of having a truly “online” account. But, you can always deposit the cash into the account and write yourself a check, or have the funds transferred electronically. There is usually not a fee for this.
  • Try to acquire less cash — If you get cash as payment, ask instead for a check or money order. If a friend is paying you back, ask that they transfer the money electronically into your bank account.
  • Hold on to it — If you don’t need the money right away, it might be better to hold on to it until you acquire enough of it to make a larger deposit (and make it worth your while to go out of your way to do so).

There are ways to deposit cash into an online account, and while they may not be needed frequently, they will still need to be utilized until the world completely eliminates cash as a currency.

Originally published at blog.cashtie.com.

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