How to Withdraw Large Amounts of Cash From the Bank


Most banks have limits on how much cash you can withdraw each day. It’s good to know what your own withdrawal limits are, whether you’re using an ATM, formally withdrawing, or spending with a debit card.

withdrawing cash from bank teller

ATM withdrawal limits rarely exceed $1000 per day, and any formal withdrawal of over $10,000 will require your bank to notify Federal authorities.

Although they can be frustrating, especially when you’re in an emergency, withdrawal limits do serve a purpose. And the good news is there are often ways around them.

Why do banks have withdrawal limits?

Your daily withdrawal limit is the maximum amount of money you can withdraw from your bank account in a 24-hour period. Daily withdrawal limits exist primarily for two reasons:

First, every bank branch has to manage its cash flow and liquidity each day. There is a limited amount of cash on hand in a bank on any given day, and these limits can help prevent a bank from running out of cash.

The second reason for withdrawal limits is safety. By setting a cap on the amount of money you can withdraw or spend, banks can safeguard your account from being entirely drained in case of unauthorized access. In such a scenario, you would appreciate having withdrawal and spending limits.

Let’s take a closer look at the different types of withdrawal limits available.

ATM Withdrawal Limits

When it comes to daily ATM withdrawals, limits typically fall between $300 to $500. However, many banks allow up to $1,000 in ATM withdrawals per day. The exact limit on your account will also differ depending on the status of your account.

For example, those with a strong relationship with their bank and a high deposit amount often have higher withdrawal limits.

Remember that ATM limits are a daily limit. While it resets after 24 hours, you can’t split your transactions up within a single day to try to exceed the limit. Whether you make one or several transactions, your daily withdrawal limit is the same.

It’s also helpful to know that in addition to your bank setting an ATM withdrawal limit, an ATM operator can also set their own limits. If you use an ATM that isn’t part of your bank’s own ATM network, then you might be faced with an even lower withdrawal limit.

Even if your limit is at $1,000, if you’re using an ATM with a deposit limit of $500, you won’t be able to exceed that. You may also be charged additional fees for using an out-of-network ATM.

Read more about ATM fees and how to avoid them.

Cashier Withdrawal Limits

When you need to withdraw large amounts of money, an ATM transaction isn’t going to do the job. Instead, you’ll have to head inside a bank and formally request a withdrawal by filling out a withdrawal slip.

There are no standard limits when it comes to withdrawing money from a cashier. In theory and law, you are allowed to withdraw as much of your deposited money as you wish. However, your bank may set its own daily limits for immediate withdrawals, and there may also be a time delay for large withdrawals.

To find out about withdrawal limits on your account, it’s best to ask your bank directly.

You may find that while your bank has no set limits to the amount of cash you can withdraw from a cashier, withdrawing large amounts often requires more time.

For any withdrawals over $10,000, your bank may also request additional information from you about the nature of your withdrawal.

How to Withdraw Large Amounts of Cash

Withdrawing large amounts of cash from your bank will require a visit to your local branch.

The maximum amount you can withdraw from an ATM is usually capped at $1,000 for most banks, so you’ll need to speak to the teller and request a cash withdrawal.

Your bank may have a daily cash withdrawal limit, so keep in mind that large cash withdrawals may take more time. Here’s what the process looks like:

  1. Complete a cash withdrawal slip and hand it to the teller.
  2. Provide a government-issued ID and your Social Security number.
  3. Provide additional information if necessary.

Large Withdrawals are Reported to the IRS

For cash withdrawals over $10,000, your bank is obligated by Federal law to complete and submit a currency transaction report to the IRS.

To complete that form, the teller may need to ask you some questions about your withdrawal. Security protocols such as this are in place to help the IRS notice any instances of money laundering or other criminal activity.

While you are entitled to withdraw as much of your own money from your bank account as you wish, it is in your interests to answer any questions honestly. Providing evasive answers or declining to answer at all might lead to the teller filing a suspicious activity report along with your withdrawal request.

Most banks ask their customers to submit requests for large withdrawals several days in advance. If you haven’t done so and want to withdraw a large sum, be prepared to wait a few working days before you receive the full amount.

Cashier’s Check

A cashier’s check is a suitable option for those looking to make large withdrawals while avoiding having to carry cash. If you’re withdrawing money to fund a purchase, a cashier’s checks act as a safe way to guarantee the funds are in your account.

Most banks charge a small fee for a cashier’s check, and you’ll still have to visit a local branch to order one. For a few dollars, however, you can save yourself the hassle of carrying a large amount of cash.

Safely Carrying Large Amounts of Cash

There’s no need to be paranoid when carrying large amounts of cash, but there are still steps you can take to stay safe. Here are some tips to help avoid making yourself a target for potential thieves.

Plan Your Trip

One thing you can do to help minimize threat when carrying a large withdrawal is to plan things out. It helps to visit a bank branch in an area that you’re familiar with. Also do your best to avoid making your withdrawal in hours of darkness, or at particularly busy times.

You might also benefit from asking a friend or family member to accompany you.

Check Your Surroundings

If using an ATM, always check your surroundings before stepping up to the machine. It’s important to be focused and aware of your surroundings. If exiting the bank itself with a large amount of money, try to avoid large crowds.

A common tactic thieves use is to distract potential victims by engaging them in conversation. If a stranger tries to stop you on your way, it’s best to keep walking.

Be Discreet and Secure

When withdrawing a large amount of money, do your best to keep things discreet. Keep that cash separate from any other cash or cards you’ll need to display publicly to make a purchase, if necessary.

You’ll also want to think about what you’re going to carry the money in. It might be a good idea to avoid holding the cash in a simple envelope, as thieves will have a keen eye for that. If you have a secure pocket inside a bag, or an internal pocket in your coat, that could be safer.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much cash can you pull out of a bank at once?

There are specific limits set for both ATM withdrawals and debit card purchases. However, if you are making a formal withdrawal at your bank with a cashier, you can choose to withdraw as much of your own money as you wish.

Just keep in mind that any withdrawal request over $10,000 will trigger an IRS report, and large withdrawals may take your bank several days to process.

Can I withdraw $20,000 from my bank?

Yes, you can withdraw $20,0000 from your bank account, as long as you have it. But depending on the nature of your account and your relationship with your bank, you’re likely to have to wait a few business days to receive that amount in cash.

Your bank may also have specific policies triggered by a large withdrawal like that, so you may have to answer further questions in order for the withdrawal to be approved. 

How much cash can you withdraw without getting reported to the IRS?

Withdrawal requests of $10,000 or more must be reported to the IRS for safety reasons. Banks also look for staggered withdrawals, so even two withdrawals of $5,000 over a few days may trigger a safety protocol.

Why would my bank ask me questions about withdrawing cash?

The Bank Secrecy Act obligates all banks to report any withdrawals of $10,000 or more to the IRS. To meet that obligation, a bank teller may have to ask a customer certain questions on the IRS form.

If a teller asks you questions about a large withdrawal, they’re simply doing their job. As long as you can provide clear answers, you won’t have any problem with your withdrawal.

Steven Brennan
Meet the author

Steven Brennan is a freelance writer specializing in finance and cryptocurrency. He has an MA in Literature from Maynooth University in Ireland, and lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and young daughter.