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How Much Cash Can You Withdraw from a Bank Account?

Bank Account Cash Withdrawal

These days, plastic is king. The age when we all carried cash is long gone, with credit and debit cards now taking up more space in our wallets than dollars and dimes. That said, occasions still arise when flexing your plastic friend just won't cut it. If you're facing a situation where you need a large amount of cash, pronto, you might be wondering just how much cash can you withdraw from a bank account? Ultimately, if it's your bank account and the cash you've put in it is yours, you're within your rights to withdraw just as much of it as you like... it's your property, after all. But before you start making big demands to your local bank teller, there are a few things to know.

How Much Money Can You Withdraw From a Bank Teller?

When it comes to withdrawing from a bank teller, you can take out as much money as you have in your account... within reason. As says, if you're one of those people who think every bank has a massive vault with a massive amount of money piled up in it, it might be time to revise your opinion. Even if you have a bank balance showing a million dollars, the chance you'll be able to withdraw that by simply turning up at the bank and hoping for the best is next to none. Even though the money is yours and yours to withdraw as and when you like, banks simply don't carry that kind of money on their premises. If you request more money than the bank can physically hand over on the spot (typically this will be any amount in excess of $10,000), you'll need to put in a request first and then wait for the money to be shipped to the branch.

Is There a Limit on ATM Withdrawals?

How much you can withdraw from an ATM depends on the type of ATM you're trying to make the withdrawal from. Withdraw from a Citibank ATM, and you might be able to get as much as $2000. Withdraw from a Wells Fargo ATM, and you'll be limited to $300 per day. It's also worth remembering that regardless of the restrictions of the individual ATM, you'll also be limited by the withdrawal limit on our debit card. No matter how much money you have sitting in your bank account, you'll only ever be able to withdraw up to your daily limit using your debit card. If you want to withdraw more than that, you'll either need to visit your bank in person or make multiple withdrawals from the ATM over several days.

Why Do Banks Question Some Withdrawals But Not Others?

If you stop by your bank and ask to withdraw a couple of hundred dollars, you're only likely to be questioned about the reason for your withdrawal if you've had the misfortune of running into a very noisy bank teller. You may be asked to provide identification to verify that you're the holder of the account, but that's where the questions usually end. Ask to withdraw $10,000 or more, on the other hand, and you can expect to be questioned. It's not personal, it's simply a question of security. Under the terms of the Currency and Foreign Transaction Act (or the Bank Secrecy Act, as it's better known), banks are obliged to report any suspicious behavior or any withdrawals that are significantly larger than normal to the government.

Are All Large Withdrawals Reported?

Although you are legally permitted to withdraw up to the amount you have in your account, a withdrawal of over $10,000 comes with added complications. As notes, in 1970, the FDIC initiated the Currency and Foreign Transaction Act to combat money laundering. The act requires all banks to report suspicious activity, along with any withdrawals over $10,000. If you request to withdraw $10,000, you may be referred to the bank manager and be quizzed over the reason for your withdrawal. The same applies to any deposits of $10,000 or more. The bank will then use the information you provide to complete the paperwork needed to report the transaction to the government. Providing you have a legitimate explanation for the transaction, it's nothing to be worried about. It's also not something worth arguing over - it's not the bank's policy that dictates the requirement, it's the government, so threatening to take your business elsewhere if they continue asking questions will get you nowhere fast

Safety First

Even though there's no technical limit on the amount you can withdraw from a bank account, you might still want to think twice about drawing down your entire life savings, if for no other reason than safety. As notes, even simple walking from the branch to your car with a pile of cash could be risky. To make sure both you and your money stay safe, you might want to consider...

Paying at the Branch

If you're buying a high-value item like a car and the seller is insisting on cash, ask to meet them at the branch itself. That way, you can hand over the money as soon as you've withdrawn it without any risk.

Asking For Accompaniment

It's not the ideal solution, but if you have no other option than to withdraw a large amount of cash, ask the branch if a security guard will accompany you to your car. This will at least help keep you and your money safe for the first part of the journey.

Requesting a Cashier's Check

If you're withdrawing a large amount, consider asking your bank to draft a cashier's check instead. It's like a personal check, but one that's been guaranteed by the bank, giving the recipient full assurance that there'll be no risk of it bouncing. It's wise to double-check first, but most people will be happy to accept this as an alternative to cash.

Using a Credit Card

If you're intending to withdraw the cash to take on vacation or pay for a high-value purchase, you might find it better to use a credit card to pay before immediately transferring the funds from your checking account to your credit card to avoid incurring any interest.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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