People can deposit unlimited amounts of money into checking and savings accounts. Some banks place deposit maximums on certificate of deposit accounts. The maximums apply either to the initial investment or to the additional deposit that some CD contracts permit. Banks limit CD deposits because rates change frequently and banks do not want to commit themselves to paying excessive interest rates that in the long-term exceed market averages. CD deposit maximums range from $10,000 to $1 million.
Banks enable customers to make deposits in a variety of different ways. Account holders can deposit unlimited sums of money in person at teller lines. Some banks enable customers to make deposits of cash and checks at automated teller machines (ATM). Banks accept electronic deposits, which take the form of direct deposits, online transfers and wire transfers. Many banks allow customers to mail deposits and large business owners use bank courier services that transport deposits directly to bank vaults.
Most ATMs accept unlimited dollar amounts but restrict the number of items a customer can deposit. Bank of America allows ATM users to deposit 10 checks or 40 bills at a time.
Many banks impose a surcharge on business customers who deposit large amounts of cash. The fee normally costs between 10 cents and 25 cents per hundred bills past a certain dollar amount. Banks also charge tiered fees on incoming wire transfers that rise in conjunction with dollar amounts being deposited.
Check deposits exceeding $5,000 experience hold times. The first $100 of a check deposit becomes available the next day but banks hold $4,900 for two business days and the remaining balance for seven business days. Banks aggregate check deposits made within a 24-hour period and can retroactively place holds on checks when a customer surpasses $5,000 of check deposits within that time frame.
Banks aggregate cash deposits over 24-hour periods, and incremental cash deposits could necessitate a currency transaction report. The report details personal information pertaining to the identity of the person conducting the transaction and the account owner.
Banks reward savings account holders for depositing large sums of money by using tiered interest rates that rise as balances grow. Banks entice new customers with tiered rates but paying high interest rates reduces their profits, and to prevent wealthy people from investing too much money in liquid accounts, most banks reduce interest rates when people deposit more than $1 million. Many banks reduce interest rates on business accounts with more than $250,000 on deposit.
In 1933, Congress authorized the creation of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The FDIC offers protection against bank failures by insuring business and consumer deposits made at banks. The FDIC covers $250,000 per individual, per bank. Balances that exceed the FDIC maximum are not protected. Credit unions are not covered by FDIC insurance. A number of credit unions enjoy deposit protection from the National Credit Union Administration which matches FDIC coverage limits, but many credit unions are not members of the NCUA.