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I Deposited a Check With My Phone

This article was written by in Banking. 5 comments.


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)
Wells Fargo No N/A
Citibank No N/A
PNC Bank No N/A
U.S. Bank No N/A
USAA Yes Android, iOS

Published or updated July 5, 2010. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Smithee formerly lived primarily on credit cards and the good will of his friends. He is a newbie to personal finance but quickly learning from his past mistakes. You can follow him on Twitter, where his user name is @SmitheeConsumer. View all articles by .

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Frankerson P

Very cool feature, but it’s a shame only a big bank like Chase offers it. Just a matter of time for credit unions to get there I suppose.

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avatar Phoich

Cool feature indeed…the ability to do this may actually make the Bank of America iphone app relevant. I find a majority of the finance iphone apps to be worthless or lacking connectivity to certain accounts.

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avatar Ace

Thanks for sharing this! I’m definitely going to try this with the next check I receive. It’s amazing how far we’ve come!

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avatar Larry Sherwood

Wells Fargo only has mobile deposits for commercial customers – nothing yet for non business accounts

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avatar rabadi

i have been trying to take a clear pic for about 1 hour with no luck, not sure if it’s my phune or the app. i have galaxy S.

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