Dear Heloise: My friend lent me some money. I wanted to pay her back, but I wasn’t able to deposit cash into her checking account. What is this about?

— Lindsay N., Toledo, Ohio

Lindsay, this is a new trend, especially among the big national banks. Banks are looking to stop money laundering, and they also want to cut their expenses.

“Money laundering” means trying to hide the source of ill-gotten gains. The vast majority of transactions are legitimate, so this bank policy is a result of “a few bad apples.”  Also, having to count large sums of cash requires lots of manpower, which costs money.

Speak to the branch manager. Depositing a check or money order is still OK, or you can add yourself as a signer on the account, which requires the original account holder’s permission.

— Heloise

Send your tips and tricks to Heloise via email at