Confessions of a Bank Teller: Bank Teller Secrets

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Bank teller secrets

A few years ago, I worked as a teller at a bank. It was my first real job after college, so I didn’t know exactly what to expect. Being a bank teller was an interesting experience, to say the least (especially being there during a bank robbery). It was a busy job, depending on the time of the month. Some of the teller duties were not fun. After a while, I knew working in a bank wasn’t for me, so I eventually found another job. I saw quite a few things as a teller.

In today’s post, I will share some bank teller secrets. They are some things that I’m sure a lot of bank tellers can probably relate to.

Bank Teller Secrets

They don’t really want to ask you EVERY TIME you come to the branch to sign up for a credit card or new account

Chances are, if you go to a bank branch, you will be asked by a teller why don’t you have a credit card or savings account with them. As a teller, I didn’t mind asking my customers that question the first time I saw or met them, but nobody wants to be bugged every time they go into a branch. Tellers receive bonuses depending on how many new accounts they can get opened. The bonuses were cool, but I’m not the type to keep bugging someone. Depending on the branch, the manager will ask the tellers to ask every customer because they also get bonuses. That was one of the teller’s duties that I did not like. If a teller is asking you to sign up for an account, politely tell them no.

Tellers really enjoy counting your wet money

Counting wet money was the worst. It was so tough trying to separate the bills from one another. Wet money is just so nasty. Thankfully I didn’t have to count that much-wet money. Tellers don’t even want to know how it got wet. They just want to finish the deposit as soon as possible. Wet money makes the transaction take a little longer than usual as well. If your money is wet, please allow it to dry before you deposit it.

Tellers enjoy smelling the marijuana stench on your money

Nothing says, “wow, what a great job I have,” more than counting a $1500 deposit that smells like a pound of weed. I had a few deposits like that when I worked at a bank branch in the West End area of Atlanta. I’m not sure if the customer who made the deposit sold drugs, but he should not let his money smell like that. That’s a quick way for you to be on the bank management’s radar. Tellers are supposed to tell their managers about anything that seems suspicious. If your money has a smell to it, you can deposit it in the bank ATM.

Don’t get mad at the teller because they won’t take your unwrapped coins

I’m not 100% if this is a rule for every bank, but at the ones that I worked at, we weren’t allowed to accept coins unless they were wrapped up. Sometimes, customers tried to deposit money in jugs only to be turned away because it wasn’t wrapped. If you have coins that you need to deposit, they should be wrapped. Having a teller deal with unwrapped coins is not something I’d want to do. Counting each coin would take a while, which could lower customer service if the bank branch was crowded. It would also take forever to get your banking needs taken care of if we had to count coins like that.

Tellers are not supposed to accept tips, but thanks

I had a few customers who only came to me. There were a few times when I received a tip. As a teller, you’re not supposed to accept tips. I kept the tips that I received. It felt good to be rewarded for having good service. That extra money always came in handy.

Coming to the branches drive-thru window 2 minutes after closing won’t get you service

Banks close at a certain time each day. On Fridays and Saturdays, one or two customers always came to the branch a couple of minutes after it closed. Most banks are open from 9-5. That is more than enough time for you to get there. Banging or requesting a bank canister won’t get you any service. The tellers have already balanced their drawers or are in the process of doing so. That was one of the most important teller duties that we had. We weren’t going to stop that to help someone who came to the branch after we were closed. The good thing for those customers is that the ATM was open 24/7. They could make deposits or withdrawals in their checking or savings accounts.

Tellers enjoy you getting mad at us because you spent too much money

I can’t tell you how many customers would get frustrated because they spent more money than they had. As a teller, I was shocked early on because I didn’t realize so few people kept transaction registers for their accounts. It was sad because so many customers didn’t understand the process of keeping up with deposits and withdrawals. It’s not our fault that you spent your money. Customers have to be accountable for their finances. Overdraft protection and using your debit card a few times per week can help you.

As you can see, my time at the bank was fascinating. I was happy to start working a real job after college, but I was even more pleased to find a better one. Some of these bank teller secrets should help customers out a lot. I learned a lot after working at a bank for almost two years.  I even moved my money from large banks after the experience. I knew doing business with big banks wasn’t for me anymore. I have several accounts with credit unions and an emergency account with Capital One. They have several types of account bonuses that you can receive.

If you are looking for a credit union in Atlanta, I recommend Delta Community. They treat you like a person and not just a number. For more information, check them out here.

Have any of you ever worked in a bank before? Do you have any confessions?





  1. Wet money sounds so disgusting! ugh!! If I were a bank teller, I would probably enjoy talking with regulars and looking into everyone’s account to see how they managed their money because I’m nosy like that.

    1. Wet money was the worst! I’m glad those days are behind me.

  2. I live in a small town and there is a small bank with maybe 10 branches now. I’ve always banked there, they don’t bug you about opening more accounts, they’re very polite. I used to take buckets of change when I was young that they would run through a change counter/wrapper. There’s no monthly fees for any account even if you have $50 in an account – I think there was a $20 minimum.
    Then a friend took me to a Chase bank in Chicago and holey shit, eye opening experience, why would anyone bank at a place like that! There was rows of loan officers standing outside their cubical in this hall path you had to walk through to get to the bank teller counter. They were like sharks begging for you to take out a loan or open an account and they charge a lot of people a monthly fee just to just bank there. If that’s what major banks are like, I’ll stick with my hometown bank, I didn’t feel welcome at all.
    Thanks for sharing your experience, sounds like it was eye opening for you to see how most people managed their money.

    1. I don’t blame you for sticking with your hometown bank. Feeling welcome is one of the reasons I chose to bank with a Credit Union.

    2. Whoa! I didn’t know Chase Bank was like that.

  3. Hi Jason,

    I used to work for a bank as a customer service rep in its credit card division. At the end of every call, we had to offer certain “add-ons” that supposedly helped credit card customers. My personal favorites (too bad there isn’t a “sarcasm” font) were:

    The insurance that would pay a customer’s monthly bill for up to a year if the customer found themselves unexpectedly unemployed or disabled. One customer told me that it took him a year of arguing with the provider before regular payments were made.

    Membership to a service that allowed customers to look at their credit reports and credit scores as often as they wanted to. What they were not told was that every time they checked their credit scores, it appeared as a “hit” on their credit reports; which adversely impacted their credit scores.

    My personal favorite: home equity loans. Customers who met certain criteria could apply for a home equity loan. Most of the customers who took advantage of that service had over $10,000 in credit card debt on their cards with us. They’d use the loan to pay off their cards, and then call us back 6-months later to make payment arrangements because they maxed their credit cards again.

    Just goes to show that the customer service rep may have your best interests in mind, but s/he is hobbled by the bank’s policies that are looking out for their best interests. Usually the two are mutually exclusive.

    1. I understand being hobbled by the banks policies. That’s why I’m glad I got out!

    2. Yep. So true.

  4. I used to always be embarrassed to go to the bank teller when I had a low balance. I would try to only go when my balance was high. So silly of me to care what other people think of me not knowing my entire financial situation.

    1. Yeah, that was a little silly 🙂 . No reason to be worried about what people think.

    2. Right. Exactly how I feel, too, Aliyyah!!

  5. Lol, this was a fun read.

    Wet money? I never thought that would be an issue. I feel like if my money was wet, I would just let it dry before I went to the bank. Would customers explain why it was wet?

    I’ve never worked in a bank because it just seemed like it would be super-boring most of the time.

    1. It was a boring job, well, at least, to me it was. I never asked why it was wet, but I had my ideas.

  6. Very cool, Jason. I always wonder about what people are thinking, and this gives good insights into what a typical bank teller may be thinking. I can’t believe people try to deposit wet money! Unbelievable!

    1. Wet money was one of the worst parts.

  7. Hilarious. I truly enjoyed this post & I’ll keep my money in a dry place (as I have been). lol

  8. I’ve never had to work in a bank–I don’t think I’d be very good at the job and would certainly be lousy at the sales side of it.

    Yuck to wet money! You hit a nerve with everyone with that experience.

  9. Jason, I started my working career in a bank (mid ’60s) and was known as a ‘floater’ which meant I learned to do a bit of everything. For a while I was a teller but can’t say I ran into the same kind of problem back then and for a good reason.
    This was before ATM’s, Credit/debit cards, Wet or stinky money. The worst thing in my experience was customers’ bad breath. I had one very friendly fellow who used to come in every week and he reeked to the point I could actually feel myself turning green. That was the worst.
    From your description all I can say – Thank goodness I’m not a teller today.

    1. That must have been a horrible smell if you felt like you were turning. Honestly, I’m glad I’m not a teller anymore myself.

    2. Unfortunately, he may have/had Halitosis or TMAU.

  10. Thanks for this fun look at what the bank transaction seems like from the other side of the glass. When you have a job like bank teller you have to spend a lot of it holding your tongue and not really saying what you think. I can only imagine what you might have said in some of these situations had you been free to do so.

    1. We had to hold in so much. That’s one of the reasons I’m not there anymore.

  11. With ATMs and online banking, I can hardly remember the last time I dealt with a human being in a bank! Hmm, thinking back, my impression is “nice, helpful people.” But then I guess I was a nice customer–no smelly money, no mountains of pennies, no yelling to take out frustration, etc. I don’t think I’d like the job. Thanks for an enjoyable post.

  12. Your experience in the Atlanta area with a lot of money that smelled like weed is a humorous, if uncomfortable, one. You’re right to warn some of the readers who may not be aware of the protocols at banks these days.

  13. What a delightful insight into the secret thoughts of a bank teller! I’ll surely be remembering these things the next time I visit my bank teller. Thank you for sharing such an entertaining post!

  14. thanks for sharing

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