Don’t Be An Ass: Rules For Using Bank Drive-Up Services

It may seem like a task that is becoming less necessary with each passing day.  More businesses are equipped to accept payments via credit and debit cards.  Individuals have the same ability thanks to services like PayPal and Popmoney.  Some banks are even allow you to deposit checks electronically via smartphones and tablets.  Still, going to the bank is a required errand for many people.  If you are one of them, you need to be aware of the rules that govern the use of the drive-up service provided by your bank.


It may not seem like a big deal, but the purpose of the drive-up lanes is to speed up the banking process and provide those with simple transactions a break from having to wait on line inside for the full-service tellers.  It is a way for banks to provide a better customer experience.  It begins, however, with the customers themselves, and their ability to follow the rules that are in place to allow the banks to offer the experience they wish to provide.


Drive-up is only for customers

If you aren’t a customer of the bank, don’t bother going to the drive-up. All you will accomplish is wasting your time as well as that of the teller and the people around you. It doesn’t matter that the check you are trying to cash is drawn on an account held there, it just isn’t going to happen. When cashing a check that is presented by anyone other than the account holder, the signature needs to be verified, which takes time and defeats the purpose of having express lanes if that needs to be done.

It’s common for many people to not have a bank account, and many such people go to their employers bank to cash their checks.  If you are part of this group, don’t even bother driving around, just go park the car and right inside.


Have your transaction ready

This is another major rule for keeping the drive-up lanes flowing smoothly.  After all, it is called “drive-up” and “park here while gathering your transaction and filling out your paperwork” banking.  It’s also not called “send us an empty canister and ask for deposit slips because you aren’t prepared” banking.  When you show up to the bank, you need to already have all of your stuff done and ready to go.  The teller may not be permitted to tell you “no” when you ask for something to prepare the transaction or make you go leave if you are sitting there unprepared, but the customers behind you most certainly will! 

So if you are taking money back from transactions, send your identification with everything the first time.  If you are withdrawing money, make sure the form is signed.  If you are depositing money, make sure the slip is fill out completely and that the totals are accurately calculated.  And, if you are unsure if your transaction can be done there, don’t even waste anyone’s time to begin with–go inside from the beginning.



Only basic transactions are accepted

Don’t drive up to the bank looking to purchase a cashiers check, travelers checks, open or close an account, or do anything more than a simple deposit or withdrawal.  The reason certain transactions are not permitted in the drive-up is the time it takes to process them.  Most banks don’t provide much more than a cash drawer to the drive-up tellers, which means that they would have to start leaving their post in order to get certain transactions done, which is not what they are supposed to do.

And please, please, please don’t argue with the teller about how you have a kid in the car with you, or how you need to get back to work, or whatever else you want to try to get them to break the rules for you.  In the time you spent waiting to get to the front of the line, then arguing you probably could have gone inside, done what you needed to, and been on your way already.


Limit your transactions please

Sure, banks are more technologically advanced these days, and the time it takes to process a transaction is much shorter than in days gone by.  Does that mean you should carpool to the bank and send over transactions for the five people inside the car?  Heck no!  There is a purpose behind the limit to the number of transactions.  Simply because the processing time is shorter, the teller has to be able to move between the lanes efficiently, and if they are stuck handling your five transactions, that means the other lanes are idling while the traffic build up behind them.

Again, if you need to transact on several accounts, or for different customers, head directly inside.  


Don’t think that you are so special that the rules don’t apply to because you have a self-inflated ego, or because you may have a certain amount of money in the bank, or whatever other cockamamie excuse you can come with.  Even if there isn’t a lot of traffic at that particular point in time, you never know what the next moment will bring. 


Remember, speed and volume are the main objectives of the drive-up lanes.  If you can’t abide by the rules of this area, then just go inside.  Nobody wants to sit in their car, delaying the rest of their plans while you fumble around looking for a pen or trying to calculate the deposit amount on your ticket.  Not only is it annoying, it’s really discourteous to your fellow bank patrons, and you never know who you may piss off in the process.


Do you still even visit your bank’s physical location?  If you do, do you ever get frustrated at the lack of courtesy shown by people who break these common rules?  Are you one of those who are guilty of breaking any of these rules?

  • Jeffrey Trull

    The rule should just be: when in doubt, don’t use the drive-up. People are just lazy, of course, and don’t want to get out of their cars.

    • Eric J. Nisall – DollarVersity

      Yeah, tell me about it.  But, your rule is a common sense one, and that is something many people are not brought up with it would seem.

  • Jeffrey Trull

    The rule should just be: when in doubt, don’t use the drive-up. People are just lazy, of course, and don’t want to get out of their cars.

  • From Shopping to Saving

    Haha that sucks. I would be irritated too. I use Chase and we have drive-up ATMs so live teller is not there. I haven’t had any problems and usually there is no one in front of me or in back of me. I also deposit most of my checks through my phone so it makes life a lot easier.
    When I have questions I actually park my car and get my ass down (does anyone do that anymore?)

    • Eric J. Nisall – DollarVersity

      Unfortunately, my job banks at Wells Fargo, and they don’t offer depositing of checks through imaging.  And, my bosses don’t want to pay the fee for the desktop check scanning service, so I’m kind of stuck.  For my own business, and me personally, I use electronic payments as much as possible or run to the ATM for check deposits.

  • Modest Money

    Sounds like a lot of people mess up this system.  Here in Canada, banks just don’t have drive up services.  In this city I think there is only 1 or 2 banks that even have a drive up ATM.  I’d be choked though if I was in a rush and everyone using the express lane was causing all kinds of problems.  It’s like people who use the express lane at the grocery store and then spend 5 minutes digging through their purchase to get the exact change or ask all kinds of questions.

    • Eric J. Nisall – DollarVersity

      The sad thing is that many banks have similar, if not the same set, and they are generally posted too.  Most have the drive-up ATM, but those are never a problem.  The grocery store is another one.  The employees aren’t allowed to tell those people to go to a regular lane either.  It’s like there are rules to help speed things along, but if people ignore them “oh well”.

  • Money Beagle

    I tend to go in when I have something that requires a person, simply because I want the confirmation that things went the way I expect them to.  

    • Eric J. Nisall – DollarVersity

      For my own business or personal stuff, I don’t need to deal with a teller (for the most part).  
      I honestly don’t even remember the last time I had to go inside.   For my job, I have to use the commercial lane but still have to deal with the idiocy that some people seem to live by.

  • Smartwealth

    I always wonder why it takes some people that are in front of me at the drive through so much time to do what they have to do.  Then I try to time myself afterwards to make sure I’m not going crazy.  I also feel the same way about self checkout at the supermarket.  If you cannot handle it, move out the way.

    • Eric J. Nisall – DollarVersity

      Usually the first thing I look at is whether the transporter door is open or closed.  If it’s closed then I usually chalk any delays up to the teller.  If the door is open, then I assume the customer is sitting in the car writing up the transaction.  The self-checkout I only experience at home depot, but that’s not normally an issue when I happen to be there.  guess I can consider myself lucky to that end.

  • Kevin M

    The drive up window USED to be for speed, now it’s more about people not wanting to get out of their cars.  The transactions have become more complex as a result.  It’s often faster to go inside and do it old school.

    This is happening across the board–fast food drive ups, ATM machines, even in supermarket check outs and on the roads and highways.  Everyone is on their cell phone and other electronic gadgetry, and when combined with the “it’s all about me” mindset, anyone behind in line will wait longer than ever.

    • Eric J. Nisall – DollarVersity

      That’s precisely why I like having all of my stuff set up to be done electronically Kevin.  This way, I don’t waste my personal time waiting for the ill-prepared or self-involved.  I don’t carry cash, so the ATM thing doesn’t affect me as much, although I do use it to deposit money if it isn’t an electronic payment. 

      The complexities I can deal with without much effort–that’s just the way things are nowadays.  It’s the self-centered attitudes and ignorance of rules that get to me more than anything.  That and the fact that bank and store employees aren’t really supposed to say anything to those types of customers, even if it is called for.