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What Happens When a Bank Teller Comes Up Short?

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Being a teller at a busy bank can be stressful, which is why tellers sometimes make mistakes. If you find that your cash drawer is out of balance, don't worry. Review your work and you may be able to locate your error.

Recount Your Cash

Recount your cash drawer. Make sure that new bills aren't sticking together. Check your strapped cash. If you were in a rush, you could have easily used the wrong strap. In this case, you may be short a few hundred dollars. Also check your rolled coins. One may be hidden somewhere that you aren't aware of.

Alert Management

Tell your head teller that your cash drawer is short or over. Inform him of the amount of the overage or shortage and have him recount it. He may find your mistake. The financial institution you work for probably has a policy that requires your head teller to alert upper management if your cash drawer is substantially out of balance. Paperwork will probably need to be completed documenting the incident. You may be subject to disciplinary action if this is a repeated offense.

Job Loss

If the error is not found and the amount of the overage or shortage exceeds the predetermined threshold, you may be fired. Take your time when handling money from your cash drawer. It is better to be slow than unemployed.


Meka Jones, from Cherokee, Ala., began writing in 2009. She is a faculty member at Shelton State Community College and has written for "Shoals Woman Magazine" and various online publications. Jones is pursuing a Ph.D. in exercise physiology at the University of Alabama and holds Master of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in physical education from the University of North Alabama.

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