What is a Deposit Bag?
A deposit bag is a reusable bag for use in carrying cash and checks to the bank to make a deposit. The bag is made from heavy-duty material designed to resist wear and tear and may lock to make the contents less accessible. Banks often provide these bags free of charge to commercial customers — the people most likely to end up with a large load of currency and checks to carry — and individual customers can usually obtain them by request.
The deposit bag is typically small and rectangular, with a discreet design that often includes a bank logo. It can easily be tucked into a briefcase or another carrying container. Locking deposit bags come with locking zippers and some may have a space for a tag so people can write their names and contact information on the bag.
Such bags are especially useful for night deposits, where people need to be able to drop off deposits after hours. Some banks make special tamper-evident bags, designed to alert the teller in the morning if someone has interfered with the bag or its contents. Regular bank deposit bags can also be used, with locking bags usually recommended so the contents don't fall out into the bank's night drop. If a bank receives a deposit bag destined for another financial institution by accident, it usually sends a runner to drop the bag off or contacts the account holder.
The deposit bag is not insurance against theft. Even in the case of a locking bag, a determined thief can open the bag by other means and extract the contents. People who carry such bags are usually advised to observe common sense precautions like hiding the bag among other belongings so it is not obvious, and keeping an eye on the people around them to look for obvious signs of a potential theft. Employees asked to drop off a night deposit may also request an escort from law enforcement if they are handling a lot of money and they are concerned about safety.
In addition to being available through banks, deposit bags can also be purchased directly from suppliers who carry things like checkbooks, coin rolling supplies, and so forth. If people want bags with special features, they may turn to these suppliers to meet their needs. In cases where a bank charges for deposit bags, ordering a deposit bag can sometimes be a less expensive option.
When I was a manager for a small retail store, I used tamper evident deposit bags for after-hours transactions and regular bank deposit bags for daytime transactions. There were a few times when the bank called me in the morning and said there were some signs of tampering, but all of the cash was still intact. The way those cash deposit bags were designed, I can't imagine anyone getting them open without damaging the bills in the process.
One of my jobs as a closer at a restaurant was to accompany the manager to the bank and hold the night deposit bags while he filled out the deposit slips. He also kept a gun in the car for extra protection. I honestly didn't see how any thief would be able to get into those bank deposit bags once they were locked. The mesh was so thick that even a knife couldn't penetrate it.
I have been at other places that deal with a lot of cash, and sometimes they'll just store the money in regular zip lock bags. I guess they trust their people enough not to use cash deposit bags.
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