My credit union recently did what it calls a major upgrade of its systems; as a typical apathetic consumer I haven't looked into what that means. Here is the most conspicuous change (other than the bland new logo).

Before, when I had a check to deposit I'd give the teller my ATM card along with the check. Now the teller says no, I don't want to see your card, what's your name?

My name is unique (I seem to be the only Anton Sherwood on the Net!), but I asked what they do when John Smith comes in; they disambiguate using “security questions”. I get asked whether this is for the account in my name alone or for the joint account, which is annoying enough when they could have told that from the card.

Is this new policy widespread? Is it required by new (or expected) USA regulation? Does it improve security or efficiency somehow?

  • 2
    My bank usually just requires my account number to deposit. Does this happen with just one teller or all of them? They may just prefer to search for your account using your name rather than the account number. Or they search by name first and then ask for the account number if there is more than one.
    – Nosjack
    Commented Oct 11, 2018 at 17:54
  • @Nosjack, it has happened at three branches. Commented Oct 13, 2018 at 23:06
  • I had forgotten this question, until someone upvoted it today! Life went back to normal in a few months. Commented Jun 24, 2021 at 0:20

1 Answer 1


There are a few relevant points to consider here:

  1. When making a deposit, security isn't really a high priority. All that matters is that the name on the check matches the name on the account. Many times I have deposited checks made out to other people into their account on their behalf. (I might as well be a robot dropping off a deposit.) Security matters most when you are making a withdrawal (including some cash back on a deposit). Most banks require some form of ID for withdrawals unless the teller knows you. Even answering security questions correctly should typically not be sufficient for withdrawing money without proper ID.
  2. A debit card oftentimes has multiple accounts linked to it, so if you linked your joint account to your card you'd be asked "which account" even if presenting the card.
  3. The norm at all the banks I've used is to deposit to an account number (this is what you write on the deposit slip). I suspect your credit union is choosing to use the name as the default mechanism for differentiating accounts just to make it feel more personal. Credit Unions are known for a more personalized approach to banking. It's debatable whether or not they achieve that goal, but they certainly strive to appear that way.
  • 1
    regarding 2.: the banks tend to link your name and accounts with all other accounts you have authority to, even if they are completely unrelated. I am elected treasurer for multiple unrelated organizations, and the bank considers them all 'my accounts' and mixes them annoyingly up.
    – Aganju
    Commented Oct 12, 2018 at 0:22
  • the question at hand seems to be "Is this new policy widespread?"
    – Fattie
    Commented Oct 13, 2018 at 23:02
  • @Fattie - My statement "the norm at all the banks I've used is to deposit to an account number" is the best I can provide here. I've never been told to provide a name instead of an account number, but I always know the account number. I'm sure they could look up info by my name if I asked them to, but the banks I use are national so I suspect they'd rather search by SSN instead. Perhaps local banks and credit unions might regularly search by name, but I doubt preferring to search by name is widespread.
    – TTT
    Commented Oct 13, 2018 at 23:08

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