No Envelopes at the ATM to Deposit My Check

by David Ning · 18 comments


I bank at Wells Fargo and I couldn’t deposit a check today because there ran out of envelopes at the ATM. Luckily, I didn’t need the money to be in my account but what if I did? Would I have tried to deposit the check without an envelope? What would’ve been my choices otherwise?

It’s impossible to answer these hypothetical questions since I wasn’t put in the situation but what’s important is how I can solve this potential little problem. Here’s a couple of ways to do so.

Keep Some Envelopes of My Own
This is the obvious solution. I’m sure that if I put it in my own envelope, Wells Fargo will accept it, especially if the reason is because they ran out. An alternative is to keep some of Wells Fargo specific envelopes in my car but that might be a bit cumbersome.

Deposit During Office Hours and Inside the Branch
Using the ATM during office hours allows us to ask the people in the bank to give us some envelopes. In fact, there’s no need for envelopes if we deposit the check inside the branch. Oh speaking of depositing checks, if we deposit a check that’s from the same bank through the teller, we can probably get the cash right away (different banks may have different policies, but Wells Fargo allows this).

Don’t Transfer Every Last Cent to Savings
If we keep some money in our account, we won’t need every check to be deposited on an exact date. There will always be accidents, and we should plan for it ahead of time so it doesn’t affect us.

So, can you think of anything else to prevent? If you were faced with the same situation, would you deposit the check without the envelope or what would you have done?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

Sean January 23, 2008 at 8:21 am

Are you serious? Do you really think an envelope is that much more security? If someone really wanted your check, they’d rip open the envelope and take it. Just deposit the check with no envelope. As long as you sign the back and write “For Deposit Only”, you’re okay.


Douglas Karr January 23, 2008 at 8:31 am

I always bring a blank envelope when I plan on making a deposit. If there are no envelopes in the machine, I utilize my normal business envelope. Works great and I’ve never gotten a complaint from the bank.


Living Off Dividends January 23, 2008 at 8:47 am

Bank of America has done away with envelopes for atm deposits.

it was such a waste of paper anyway.


Austin January 23, 2008 at 10:14 am

I’m with Bank of America also and I love the new ATM’s. They suck in the envelope and then display the check on screen. Usually the ATM will decipher the amount and you just confirm it. Otherwise you can zoom in on the scanned in check and see the amount. They also print a little miniature version of the check on your receipt.


Austin January 23, 2008 at 10:15 am

*Correction* They suck in the *CHECK*(no envelopes are used).


Mike Huang January 23, 2008 at 10:24 am

I’ve never deposited checks with the ATM before, but I understand the frustration when there are no envelopes 😛



MoneyNing January 23, 2008 at 11:48 am

Sean: I’m not saying that an envelope is more secure. I’m just saying that i will use an envelope if the ATM urges us to. I don’t really need the bank to call me and say there’s a problem with my deposit.

Douglas Karr: Good for you. I’m sure they just want to make sure what they print on the check doesn’t cover up important information on the check itself so any envelope will do as long as it’s white.

Living Off Dividends and Austin: That’s good to hear that BofA is going away with this age-old procedure. The ATMs over here in California is one of the oldest ones though and hopefully they will change them out.


Kathleen August 13, 2008 at 4:25 am

The new deposit system at Bank of America requires no envelopes, however you must deposit each item individually. So if you work where you receive a lot of small denomination bills as tips, such as a waitress you must feed the machine, this could take a while and the safety factor is questionable.


Joe September 8, 2008 at 8:43 am

Actually, you don’t need to feed the machine your bills one by one. Bank of America ATMs allow you to insert 40 bills at a time.


Corey February 18, 2009 at 8:58 pm

We used a BofA ATM that takes the checks directly to deposit the checks we received as wedding gifts. You can deposit bills 40 at a time, but checks must be individually inserted. It took us about 15 minutes to insert all our checks, and with the mini checks printed on the receipt, our receipt was about 2 feet long. It was a Saturday, otherwise we would have gone inside. At least there was no line behind us. Overall I do find the new BofA ATMs to be very easy to use. I just wish banks in the US would issue credit and debit cards with “smartcard” technology to help prevent skimming devices and other fraud.


EIZABETH May 26, 2011 at 4:06 pm

You can deposit up to 10 I think in a pile at BofA.


Tony December 30, 2009 at 12:53 pm

Working night shift makes ATM deposits very convenient as it’s too early for the bank to be open when I get off work and I usually don’t have the time to stop on my way in the next evening. The ATM I use has a tray for envelopes that’s often empty. My solution was to catch it on a night when the tray was full and tuck 4 envelopes under the sun visor in my car. This ensures that I always have an envelope and allows me to prepare my deposit in advance so that I don’t spend as much time at the ATM (not that there’s much of a line at 4:30AM). Whenever I make a deposit, I take 1 envelope to replace the one I use so that I always have 4 in reserve for the times when the tray is empty.


sandy April 18, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Can I use another bank envelope to deposit at my bank ATM.


GG September 18, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Why in the world not!? Who really cares if you use another bank’s envelope? I’ve done it many times, and never did it make a lick of difference. Never did I get a phone call by my bank to scold me for such blasphemy…. then I just stopped using envelopes altogether!


Julie September 12, 2011 at 6:19 am

We have had this problem before. We finally get over to make the deposit and there are no envelopes! We now keep a couple of ATM envelopes in each of our car’s door pocket.


Safe-T-Guy August 29, 2012 at 11:23 am

My inquiring mind is thinking the no-envelope deposit means less float. Less float= more overdraft fees for the bank and the funds go into the banks coffers quicker. I can’t imagine they invested all this money to save paper. The receipt is at least 4x as long if you request an image of the check on your receipt. The real reason for the change?


GG September 18, 2012 at 12:35 pm

The only time I ever use envelopes at the ATM are when I’m depositing cash or if I’m depositing more than one cheque at once! This article is whack-o.


Zachary Finer September 27, 2012 at 12:05 pm

I use the Chase mobile app to snap a picture of the check, and save the going to the bank portion altogether!


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