If you hate going to the bank to deposit checks, you may now have the opportunity to avoid the trip. A handful of banks have recently launched or plan to announce services that will allow you to use your home computer to scan checks and upload them via their websites.
The technology isn’t just for customers of brick and mortar banks – it’s also targeted at customers of online banks who have historically needed to mail deposits to their financial institutions. By uploading an image of their check via the web instead, customers will no longer have to worry about it being lost in the mail or wait days for their bank to receive it.
Depositing paper checks electronically first became a possibility in 2003 with the passage of the Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act which allowed a digital image of a check to substitute for an original one. Soon after, many banks launched services allowing businesses to deposit checks via the web, but it wasn’t until September 2006 that there were any options for consumers.
It was then that USAA, a large branchless bank limited to U.S. military families, developed a service known as Deposit@Home. The program was the first to allow consumers to deposit checks from their computer using their own scanner.
According to a USAA spokesperson, about a quarter of all of their deposited checks now come through the system and the service has been very popular among its members. One customer we spoke with went so far as to describe the service as "awesome," adding that he dropped his local bank when USAA launched the service because it allowed him to convert a check into available cash immediately without going to a branch.
Depositing Checks Online Has Arrived
Unfortunately, because USAA is only available to select people, most consumers haven’t had access to the service. Over the past year, a handful of innovative community or specialty financial institutions like military-focused First Command Bank and Florida-based Summit Bank have launched similar services. However, for the vast majority of consumers, there is still not a way for them to join a bank that allows them to deposit checks via their computers.
That’s all about to change, as Florida-based EverBank is about to start offering the service in the next few weeks. EverBank started as a community-based bank, but over the past few years has branched out and now is one of the leading online banks offering accounts nationwide via the web.
According to EverBank President Frank Trotter, the bank is planning to launch a pilot version of its Online Check Deposit service in August for a few of its existing customers who have their FreeNet Checking or Yield Pledge Money Market accounts.
Trotter said that if all goes well with the pilot, they hope to allow all of their customers to apply for the program early this fall and that they are planning to offer the service for free to consumers. He said the technology behind the system is through the Xpress Deposit product of financial IT firm Fidelity National Information Services.
The Technology Behind Depositing Checks Online
Fidelity is also the tech provider for First Command Bank and Summit Bank, along with 13 other community banks that have all launched online check deposits for consumers over the past 12 months. According to Matthew Bowen, SVP of Payment Services at the company, they currently cover about 3,000 active depositors across those banks, who make about 1 to 2 check deposits per month on average.
He said that although the numbers are still small (less than 1% of the deposit dollars of businesses customers using online check deposits), so far the feedback has been very good, with consumer support calls extremely low. In addition he said there’s been a growing interest in the technology from both community and national banks and that they have several banks under contract who will announce they’re launching the product soon.
In addition to these banks, others will be launching online check deposits in the near future, according to Julie Nixon, Public Relations Manager for competing IT firm FiServ. She said the company is working with several banks to offer online check deposits and that they expect at least one will be announcing the service with them in a few weeks. (Update on Aug 12, 2009 - FiServ just announced their first client: Golden 1 Credit Union)
Big Banks Slow To Adopt Technology
Unfortunately, for those consumers who are hoping their banks are on that list, they may still have to wait a while to deposit checks online. We contacted a few of the larger financial institutions, and heard back from Bank of America and Schwab. Both said that while they’re exploring the technology, neither has any plans to offer the service in the immediate future.
Nevertheless, Frank Hall, the EVP/COO of Summit Bank, said he believes that online check deposits are the future and that consumers want it. And while the big banks aren’t offering the service, it gives smaller banks like his a point of differentiation.
"[The service] gives you a branch in every household in the United States," said Hall. "Why will you need brick and mortar?"
As we hear of more banks that offer this service to consumers we’ll add the information to BankFox to keep a running list. (Last Updated -- Aug 13, 2009)
Banks offering consumers online check deposits:
Credit Unions offering consumers online check deposits:
Banks soon to offer consumers online check deposits:
Alliant Credit Union also offers this service and most anyone can find a way to join (via PTA, etc).
Posted by chris_clyde -- Jul 23, 2009 10:15 AM
I am a USAA member and use deposit@home. And it IS awesome. :) I don't understand why more banks haven't adopted this tactic. Seems like a win-win for everyone.
Posted by cannmcm! -- Jul 23, 2009 1:50 PM
Thanks for the informative article. Any chance you can let us know the names of more of the 13 community banks you say are offering this service now?
Posted by jeremy -- Jul 26, 2009 7:47 AM
Thanks for the comments! We've added Alliant to the list, and also DCU, another credit union that recently started offering online check deposits for consumers.
We also found a relatively new bank - Texas Security Bank - that offers the service for consumers so we've added them to the list as well.
Fidelity said that they're not allowed to disclose the names of the other 13 banks that are currently using their service - and some of them are not publicly promoting the product because they're only offering it to select customers - but we'll keep adding banks to the list as we hear of them.
Posted by BankFoxStaff -- Jul 29, 2009 9:48 AM
Thank you. I signed up with DCU.ORG in order to get this service. (Everyone should be able to sign up.) The sign up process was very easy on-line, and they have been responsive through e-mail and live chat. I plan to keep my current checking account as my main account for now - and use the DCU account to deposit and transfer my funds.
Posted by jeremy -- Jul 29, 2009 7:13 PM
I was about ready to switch from Everbank to another that offered this product. I guess i'll wait and see if they open it up, the website doesn't mention it at all.
Posted by tippyca -- Sep 22, 2009 10:48 PM
I moved recently, and my current bank no longer has convenient branches. I was looking to switch, and a friend of mine recommended USAA because of Deposit@Home.
So, I signed up for membership. I then found out that while USAA allows anyone to sign up for an account or a credit card, they only make Deposit@Home available to those who are eligible for their insurance policies -- i.e. veterans, active duty military, or immediate family of veterans or active duty military. Therefore, I do not qualify, so I did not open an account.
USAA is a branchless bank. They do allow deposit by mail, however, I'm uncomfortable with sending endorsed checks through the mail. This leaves Western Union, who would take their cut of any deposit.
Just thought I'd put this information out there, since I found out AFTER signing up for membership.
Posted by instrumentofjoy -- Nov 12, 2009 3:58 PM
If a bank is not accepting electronic version of a check, then I would switch the bank that you are using. In this competitive field today it is easy to find a bank that will allow you to deposit using Remote Deposit Capture(RDC). You can do this with your pre-existing check scanner and the bank will sweep the funds into any account you want. A good site for more specific information on RDC is http://www.remotedepositcaptureonline.com
Posted by s.girard15 -- Aug 2, 2010 2:42 PM
PenFed Credit Union has Deposit Anywhere (check scan edition) that allows use of any scanner to deposit checks to member accounts of up to $5000 per member per day. It's a great service! PenFed credit union is for military and federal civil service employees (hence the name PenFed, for Pentagon Federal). But anyone can qualify for PenFed credit union membership by joining the National Military Family Association, which does not actually require any military affiliation -- just some concern for military well-being is enough. And you don't even have to stay a member of that organization after joining PenFed.
Posted by CHarris360 -- Oct 8, 2010 1:16 AM
Bank of America offers a bank-supplied scanner and service to commercial clients - all rather clunky and primitive considering the possibilities. Here's hoping someone there is a bit more forward thinking, and that they'll soon offer home-scanned deposit service to their personal banking customers.
Posted by unsubscribe -- Oct 10, 2010 6:29 PM
Bellwether Community Credit Union in NH also offers this service. It's really cool, because you don't have to leave home to deposit checks. Home scanner, internet connection..that's about all you need! Considering what gas prices are right now, and how cold it is outside, staying home in my pjs and getting my banking done is a great time saving option!
Posted by terrie.mavros -- Jan 7, 2011 11:10 AM
Posted by nickrock95 -- Feb 12, 2011 3:22 AM
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