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3 Easy Ways to Deposit Cash at Charles Schwab

Depositing cash at Charles Schwab can be daunting — people generally think it’ll be easy just like at most banks, just going into a local branch or an ATM and giving them/it your money.

Well that’s not how it is – Schwab doesn’t have physical bank branches (only investment offices) and isn’t equipped to take deposits of cash, and Schwab also doesn’t have any ATMs of their own or ATM partnerships. Schwab offers ATM fee reimbursements, but that only applies to withdrawals and is done entirely by them, not a partnered bank – as a result they, can’t accept deposits through ATMs. 

What this means is you’ll have to be creative if you want to deposit cash into your schwab account — below are the best ways we’ve found to do it without paying fees or having too much hassle. You can also mail Schwab cash, but we don’t find this to be as easy or risk-free as the ways covered below.

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How do you Deposit into a Schwab Bank (or investing) Account?

What Schwab recommends is using the provided envelopes they send you with your welcome package (received after signing up with marketing material, checks, and envelopes) to mail them the cash — it’s prepaid postage, so you’d pay nothing for this. It’d be free.

It is more or less safe, but personally we still don’t feel comfortable sending cash directly to Schwab as we’re scardey-cats and don’t want to risk the money being lost or stolen on its way to Schwab’s processing center.

If you’re comfortable with that, go ahead and do it — if not here are the 3 best ways to deposit cash at Charles Schwab that don’t involve sending cash in an envelope.

#1 - Buying a Money Order from a Retailer with Cash (or Debit)

For this we’d recommend going to Walmart, as they offer the cheapest and easiest money orders, not to mention have locations throughout all of North America making it easy to get to — they charge <$1 for a money order, with a max fee of only $1 even if you’re depositing thousands into your Schwab account this way.

Alternatively Walgreens stores, CVS stores, Western Union, Money Gram, and many other retailers, as well as banks & credit unions offer money orders. They generally charge a bit more, between $1.50 and $10 per money order (banks/credit-unions charge the most), which is why we recommend going to Walmart instead if you opt for this route.

#2 - Depositing a Check Written from Another Bank

You can also deposit cash into your Schwab account by writing a check from another bank and depositing it directly into your Schwab account by either delivering it to one of Schwabs investment branches or (preferably) simply downloading Schwab’s mobile app and taking a picture of it in-app to make a mobile deposit.

If you do so correctly and have another bank account where you can send money from this should take you no more than a minute or two — this is often the method we personally use due to its no-cost nature and the fact that Schwab grants you instant access to the money upon submitting the check via the Mobile App.

#3 - Depositing the Cash in Another Bank and then ACH Transfer to Schwab

This is the only other option worth considering – it takes a few days to a week for the money to clear each account, however it’s also free to do and the best option if you don’t want to go to get a money order or have checks handy.

If you don’t have a physical brick-and-mortor bank nearby then you won’t be able to use this option — unless you bank with a bank that allows deposits via GreenDot locations. One such bank is Chime, which has partnerships which enable you to deposit cash at the same places you can get money orders from.

Schwab Cash Deposit FAQ's:

Below we’ll cover some of the FAQ’s we’ve encountered, been asked, or have asked ourselves related to Schwab’s Cash Deposit features, as well as issues we’ve had depositing cash into our schwab account in the past.

Why doesn’t Charles Schwab allow Cash Deposits?

It’s not that they don’t allow it, it’s that they aren’t able to accept it — since they don’t have any ATMs and lack Bank Branches to accept deposits at.

Am I able to send them my Check via mail (envelope)?

Yes, but it will take a few days before they receive your check and process it – at which point you can expect your deposit to be instantly available. If you don’t like the above options this is another option, but to us you might as well just use the mobile deposit feature instead of bothering mailing the check — remember though if you opt to go this route use the envelopes Schwab provided as the postage is pre-paid for them and have expedited processing.

What is the maximum amount of money I can deposit via Mobile Check Deposit?

According to Schwab’s website they “limit deposits to $250,000 per day and $1 million per month — beyond this you should seek guidance from Schwab directly, preferably by calling them as they’ll need to confirm a few things with you before accepting larger sums of capital.

Are Cash Despoits Insured with Schwab?

Yes, cash deposits are insured when they’re with Schwab, however pending deposits, say you mailing Schwab a money order or physical cash, is not insured and if Schwab doesn’t receive the funds then they are not liable nor are you necessarily protected. This is why we recommend using one of the above methods instead of sending cash in an envelope.

Can You Deposit Cash with Charles Schwab?

You cannot deposit cash easily into a Charles Schwab bank. You will first need to convert your cash into a check or a money order. You can also deposit cash to another bank and then transfer the money to Schwab as outlined above, but that will take more time.

How Long does it take for a Cash Deposit to be Processed?

The simple answer is instantly — so long as you do it through Schwab’s Mobile Check Deposit feature — the money is instantly available when you deposit via this method. If you’re mailing a check however it could take up to 3-5 business days for them to receive and process/credit your account with the funds.

I don’t have any pre-paid Schwab envelopes, how can I get more?

You can contact Schwab directly via the chat when logged into your account or by phone and ask for them to simply mail you more to the address on file — it should be free, and they should only need your account #, name, and address to do this for you.