This past weekend was my first chance to try to deposit a check without going to the bank, and it was fantastic. I was always ambivalent about the fact that Chase Bank swallowed up the friendly Washington Mutual, but now I’m a little glad, since they’re among the first of the enormous banks to bring this service to their customers.
Previously, assuming that direct deposit wasn’t an option, or that the people who owed you money didn’t want to make a deposit straight into your account, or set you up online as a “Bill Payee,” assuming they had some reason to resort to the charming and antiquated paper method, there was only one way for you to get that money into your bank. Ultimately, someone was going to have to drive it over there.
However, we’ve now evolved a little bit more. A couple of days ago I picked up a payment at the post office, sat in my car and ripped open the envelope, logged into my Chase account from the ol’ iPhone and let them know I was depositing a check by taking a picture of the front and the back of it. It’s basically the same process their modern ATMs are doing: scanning for relevant details like the amount, routing and account numbers. Since 2004, a scanned image of a check is as authoritative as the check itself, so this seems like a natural evolution of the Check 21 Act.
A few seconds later, of course, I announced my triumph through Twitter, and a friend was quick to point out that his bank, USAA, has had that for months, and a different friend told me his bank allows that with all smartphones. I did some research for the nation’s biggest banks and tried to find remote deposit ability for the iOS (new name for the iPhone OS, because it also runs on the iPad and iPod Touch), Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone platforms. Here are the results:
|Name of Bank||Mobile deposits?||Platform(s)|
|Bank of America||No||N/A|
|Chase||Yes||iOS (but you’ll need a camera)|