Depositing money in online banks isn't that hard

Partly open laptop computer

Online banks are offering some of the best deals on checking accounts, but some consumers are reluctant to sign up.

It's not because they're worried about getting their money out.

It's because they aren't sure how to get their money in.

While it's true that you can't walk down to the corner branch and deposit a check, online banks have several ways of accepting deposits.

Here's a rundown of the most common:

Electronic Funds Transfer. This is where you have money moved by computer from one account to another. It includes having paychecks automatically placed in your online account by your employer. Or using another bank's website to move money from a checking or saving account into your online account. Or accepting money from an electronic payment network such as PayPal.

Remote Deposit Capture. New technology allows you to create an electronic copy of the check and then send that image to your bank electronically. Typically, you’d use a scanner, then upload the image to your bank via your computer. Some online banks, such as Charles Schwab Bank, have created apps so that smartphone users can snap the picture of the check and “deposit” it ASAP (and we see this as a continuing trend). In most cases, you'll still need to mail in the physical check as backup.

Bank-by-Mail. Relying on the U.S. Postal Service to send in checks is so 20th century. But bank-by-mail is still a cheap and easy, if somewhat slow, option.

Automated Teller Machines. Some online banks have made arrangements with brick-and-mortar banks to accept their customers' deposits at ATMs. Check to see if there’s a fee and the length of time it’ll take for the checks to clear (it can be longer than if you were depositing your check into your bank’s ATM). USAA, a big insurer and online bank, has put ATMs in 1,900 UPS stores, which gives their online checking customers an easy way to deposit paper checks.

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