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Input Devices The Almighty Buck Technology

Deposit Checks By iPhone 293

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the bad-day-to-be-a-bank-teller dept.
kaychoro writes to mention that at least one privately held bank is planning on removing a little bit more legwork for the consumer by allowing the electronic submission of paper checks via a new iPhone app. The app would allow users to take a picture of the front and back of the check and submit that to the depository. "Customers will not have to mail the check to the bank later; the deposit will be handled entirely electronically, and the bank suggests voiding the check and filing or discarding it. But to reduce the potential for fraud, only customers who are eligible for credit and have some type of insurance through USAA will be permitted to use the deposit feature. Mr. Peacock said that about 60 percent of the bank's customers qualify."
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Deposit Checks By iPhone

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  • Checks (Score:5, Funny)

    by arth1 (260657) on Monday August 10, 2009 @12:51PM (#29012491) Homepage Journal

    Some countries still use personal cheques? How quaint!

    • by SigILL (6475)

      Indeed, I've been able to do this for about 10 years already. I don't think I even have cheques anymore. Heck, I don't even think my *bank* has paper cheques anymore.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        A few years ago, when AdSense was brand spanking new, I cashed my first cheque.
        The cheque was for $210 or so, of which my bank kept a $50 processing fee.

        It also took them roughly five minutes to figure out how to handle a cheque.

        Luckily, subsequent cheques were a few thousand dollars each, so the $50 fee didn't hurt too much.
        I'd be amazed if there's a bank office here that handles more than one cheque per day.

        Location: obviously somewhere in Europe.

        • by vlm (69642)

          A few years ago, when AdSense was brand spanking new, I cashed my first cheque.
          The cheque was for $210 or so, of which my bank kept a $50 processing fee.

          Luckily, subsequent cheques were a few thousand dollars each

          I had no idea you could get that kind of loot from Adsense, and my first guess was you were referring to Zimbabwe dollars, where you get a trillion to one us $.

          Location: obviously somewhere in Europe.

        • by PCM2 (4486)

          Funnily enough, a few years ago I had something published in an Australian magazine. They offered to pay me by wiring the currency direct to my account. "Amazing," I thought. "Why don't more U.S. businesses operate this way?" They were paying me something in the neighborhood of $200 USD, and they said they would do the deposit in USD for me, so I wouldn't get screwed by any kind of exchange-rate shenanigans. But lo and behold, once the "currency" reached the U.S. "border," Citibank (which isn't even my bank

          • No you are wrong (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Archfeld (6757) * <treboreel@live.com> on Monday August 10, 2009 @03:13PM (#29014795) Journal

            Doing financial business in bits and bytes is ridiculously simple and easy, the cost is nearly nill, the banks are just robbing folks as usual. I worked for several years in a Global Funds Transfer department for a huge bank. GFT technology is OLD OLD OLD, think like telegraph/fax old, that is why it works to anywhere, in Mexico, or say Nigeria, or that little village in Tanzania. You just got screwed because the big banks OWN all the wires, and they have divided up the playing field so they seem to compete but don't really do so...

      • Re:Checks (Score:4, Informative)

        by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Monday August 10, 2009 @01:32PM (#29013249) Journal
        If you don't have 12 paper cheques around here, you can't get a lease. Need them to set up direct deposit of your pay, need them to set up direct deposit for your health insurance, need them for all sorts of things.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by xaxa (988988)

          In the UK for paying larger organisations regularly (possibly a varying amount) we use "Direct Debit". You put your bank account number on the form, post it to the company. The company takes the agreed amount of money on the agreed date. If there are any problems you can ask the bank to reverse it (and the company will e.g. send a paper bill). You can stop the payments at any time.
          It's the normal system for paying a phone bill, electricity, TV, membership fees, charity donations, etc.

          For regular payments th

    • by Jeng (926980)

      Here I was thinking that ONLY old people wrote checks.

      I'm amazed that only 60% of the check writing public are members of AARP.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by 644bd346996 (1012333)

        I'm pretty sure that the IRS and the various state treasuries still issue more checks each year than old people.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Markemp (562755)
        Renters generally still pay their rent with checks. That and the occasional random bill from a service company that you get through the mail. Checks still have their place, although I generally pay everything online these days.
        • by vlm (69642)

          That and the occasional random bill from a service company that you get through the mail.

          Skilled tradesmen generally like to get a check in their hands immediately after their work is complete.

          Often, a cash discount is available, depending on their level of fear of the IRS (the old fashioned scam, I usually charge $100 but if you let me write up a receipt for $50, I'll take $75 cash, and we'll both be happy and call it even, mm kay?)

        • by Mascot (120795)

          In the US, yes, but not so here. I can't remember as much as seeing one for at least 15 years.

          So, seen from the eyes of a nation where it has been all but a memory for nearly two decades, quaint is indeed a fitting term.

      • Re:Checks (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DAldredge (2353) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Monday August 10, 2009 @01:17PM (#29012959) Journal
        Some people like having a physical record that they paid something
      • by MBGMorden (803437)

        Everyone you do business with isn't likely to have a credit card machine handy. When I was taking flying lessons for example the instructor (just a local CFI who taught in his spare time) nor the aircraft owner I rented from (an 80+ year old man who rented out his plane for instruction to get a bit of extra income) could take a credit/debit card, but they took cash or checks just fine. Since toting around the check book still beat cash, checks it was.

        Having the checkbook also has come in handy at least tw

      • Did you try to read the entire summary in under 1 second or something.
    • by LanMan04 (790429)

      Some countries still use personal cheques? How quaint!

      Some people still spell check as "cheque"? How quaint!

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      Actually some companies a paper check (cheque) is actually CHEAPER than paying via Credit card or debit card.

      DTE energy here in Michigan charges you a FEE to pay electronically. I send the scumbags a paper check. They cant charge me more legally to pay that way, and it costs them more than accepting my electronic payment.

      it's that a lot of major companies are ran by idiots and morons that are either afraid of change or ragingly greedy and like to rape their customers at any turn.

      i'm betting on the latter.

  • State of the art (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mlgm (61962)

    Taking a picture of a paper check really sounds like state of the art in electronic banking :-).

    Living in Europe, the last time I used a check was maybe 10 years ago.

    • Re:State of the art (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Albanach (527650) on Monday August 10, 2009 @01:05PM (#29012739) Homepage

      Indeed. It's all a bit strange in the US. If you owe someone money you have to write a cheque. Apparently procedures arr so lax though that by having the account number and routing code, people can empty your bank account.

      There doesn't seem to be any reasonable way for ordinary bank customers to transfer money to customers of other banks. So in the UK with faster payments now in place at most banks, you can send money to someone else's account alost instantly. In the US, you write a cheque, put it in the post and wait. Then the recipient gets it and sits on it for a few weeks/months until they get to the bank and deposit it. In the meantime, you have to keep track of outstanding cheques in case someone sits on it for several months then sends you overdrawn.

      For most other functions, US banks ahve done a pretty reasonable job of getting things automated and electronic. Given the high cost of processing cheques, I'm at a complete loss as to why they still exist let alone are in day to day use.

      • by athakur999 (44340)

        Checks are still a good way for two individuals to exchange money. Neither the payer or the payee has to pay any service fees (something you can't say for credit card or debit card payments) and there is some protection for the buyer (something you can't say for cash - you can't tell your bank to stop payment on a $20 bill).

        Anyway, many banks in the US do allow you to transfer money electronically to accounts at other banks, but many of them charge fees for outgoing transfers. Electronic transfers to othe

        • by Kozz (7764)

          Checks are still a good way for two individuals to exchange money. Neither the payer or the payee has to pay any service fees ...

          Well, that seems to be changing in some cases. In recent months, my wife has attempted to cash personal checks at the bank from which they were drawn. Since she does not also have an account there, they not only charge her a $1.50USD fee, but they insist on taking her thumbprint! It's definitely eliminated that bank from future services. Way to alienate your potential customers -- soak them with fees and make them feel like a criminal. Nice!

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by anegg (1390659)
            I believe that you can thank the FDIC "Know your customer" program for the hassle to which you refer. Prior to the 2001-09-11 destruction of the World Trade Center in New York, attempts to put the "Know your customer" program in place were being soundly rejected by the banks due to their effects on privacy. This program, by requiring all banks to somehow "know" everyone with whom they do business, and to report to the government any "suspicious" or "unusual" activity, acts to get information in to the gov
      • Canada is in the same boat. It is very annoying. I have corporate account and a personal account. To pay myself I have to write a cheque, to me, from the corporate account and deposit the cheque into my personal account via ATM then wait 2 days for it to clear.

        • You should be able to set up Interac payments for that, or at the very least, ask your bank to stop putting holds on your corporate cheques.
        • by Chirs (87576)

          I'm in Canada as well. It doesn't have to be like that.

          I use President's Choice Financial for my personal account, and I can add accounts at other institutions to my account list. This allows me to transfer money between accounts (even between different institutions) with zero fees. Transfers between institutions take a day to clear.

      • by TheSunborn (68004)

        There doesn't seem to be any reasonable way for ordinary bank customers to transfer money to customers of other banks

        Really? That sound insane. Here in Danmark I can just walk down to the ATM enter a target account and transfer the money that way(It's even free I think). It will even print a slip, with the transfer details so I can prove that I did transfer money.

        Or I could use this fancy new internet bank thing, which allow me to view all my accounts, and transfer money to anyone with a bank account in EU. And it's all free(Well atleast internal in denmark, it might cost a bit to transfer to other countries), because its

      • My bank here has a link to a number of companies many of which are companies that I have bills with. I can put in a "bill" to my bank and it will retrieve the bill and when I prompt the system to do so it will submit a payment electronically, free of charge. It might take a couple days, but it takes less than a check in the mail. If the company I send the payment to doesn't have a link to my bank, my system automatically simply cuts a paper check for me.

        How does the UK system differ?

        • by Albanach (527650) on Monday August 10, 2009 @02:40PM (#29014327) Homepage

          How does the UK system differ?

          Almost every customer bill in the UK is paid by Direct Debit. The organisation automatically draws the money straight from your bank account. I know some firms in the US will do this, but the UK version has some important safeguards, absent from the US system.

          For variable amounts, (like your electricity bill) the organisation has to give you fourteen days notice before making the deduction from your account.

          You can cancel the Direct Debit at any time.

          Banks vet organisations heavily before they are allowed to initiate Direct Debits. I've been through this process, and it is quite a thorough auditing.

          Customers are protected by the Direct Debit Guarantee [bacs.co.uk]. Every bank that allows customers to have Direct Debits has to adhere to this. In effect it says if the organisation made a mistake, debiting the wrong amount, or on the wrong date, you tell the bank and the bank will immediately refund the money plus any charges incurred as a result, recouping from the company.

          It's this guarantee that has made it so successful, for customers who don't have to worry about making payments, it all happens automatically. And for companies the big advantage is cost. To collect a direct debit costs pennies and the system can be entirely automated. The savings in bank charges are substantial and in staff time are enourmous.

          If you move to a different bank, you need to sign one form and all your direct debits should be moved to your new account. You don't need to contact any of your suppliers.

          • by Richy_T (111409)

            These are fairly important differences. In the UK, I had direct debits set up for all my bills but since moving to the States, I pay all my bills manually even though I'm occasionally late and incur late fees. Basically when you set up automatic payments here, you're giving the company full access to your account and if they overcharge or empty your account, the bank is under no obligation to rectify the situation and there's no real mechanism in place to "Cancel" the access. It's a potential nightmare.

            Anot

      • I'm at a complete loss as to why they still exist let alone are in day to day use.

        Lack of an established better system, issues with carrying large amounts of cash, and the high cost of credit card processing fees.

      • Of course it wouldn't send you overdrawn if you did your recording properly in the first place. All things being all electronic facilitates is faster fraud and screwups. At least with a system that still has a bit of slinkyness to it you can catch big errors before they bankrupt a company.
        • by Albanach (527650)

          At least with a system that still has a bit of slinkyness to it you can catch big errors before they bankrupt a company.

          Sometimes I wonder how countries outside the United States survive what with all these newfangled modern ways they're adopting. Their companies must be going bankrupt left, right and centre.

      • I use Bank of America's online banking system, which has a facility for electronic payment of bills. As a result, I don't write checks for any of my monthly bills anymore (which essentially means I don't use checks at all).

        Bank of America will allow you to set up any mailing address for automatic payment, so I can even use it to pay my landlord (who doesn't have his own arrangement with the bank like most utilities do). The caveat is that it takes 5-7 days for the payment to be processed into his account, b

    • Then let me ask how you would handle the following situation (one of the few in which I use checks):

      * I have a friend who watches my son during the day.
      * I need to pay this person every two weeks.
      * I need proof that I've paid this person for a given time period so no disputes arise.
      * Being as this person only watches my child (apart from hers) she is not a "business" per se and thus doesn't accept credit cards.

      I am honestly not being snarky or combative, but if checks are truly a thing of the past in some p

      • You didn't state where you are, but in Canada, Paypal now allows fee free person to person transfers when funded by a bank account. Takes a few days to clear though.

        Or you could also use Interac direct money transfers if you both use one of the participating banks. If the recipient doesn't use a participating bank, I think Interac actually mails them a cheque.

      • Yeah, what did they do before checks? The person receiving cash wrote a receipt. This is all the proof you need (although potentially as much trouble as writing a check).
      • by vlm (69642)

        * I have a friend who watches my son during the day.
        * I need to pay this person every two weeks.
        * I need proof that I've paid this person for a given time period so no disputes arise.
        * Being as this person only watches my child (apart from hers) she is not a "business" per se and thus doesn't accept credit cards.

        I am honestly not being snarky or combative, but if checks are truly a thing of the past in some places I would like to see what they've been replaced with.

        This isn't very complicated. Signed receipt. I, the undersigned, aka "AdamWeeden's Friend", acknowledge than I received $20 cash on date X for baby sitting little AdamWeeden Jr. for the two week period of Y to Z. "AdamWeedens friend" signs the receipt, you keep the receipt in your file cabinet.

        A signed hash file of a receipt would probably work just as well, although they are obviously opening themselves to a known plaintext attack.

        Technically, the IRS would be interested in this transaction, but in prac

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by GvG (776789)
        Over here (Europe) I'd just tell my bank (electronically) to transfer some amount from my account to hers. Banks don't charge you for that here. Actually, since this is a recurring payment I'd set it up once as a recurring payment and be done with it.
      • by Mascot (120795)

        I would log into my online bank, add an automatic payment for every two weeks to the person's account number, and check the "mail me a paper receipt for the transaction" box. A few days after each payment, I'd get the receipt of the transfer from the bank in my mailbox.

        Granted, I'd never actually check that box. The only realistic reason for a dispute would be that I did not pay or the recipient did not notice the incoming cash on their statement. Should that happen I can always log in and pull up the past

  • Not entirely new (Score:5, Informative)

    by 644bd346996 (1012333) on Monday August 10, 2009 @12:58PM (#29012623)

    USAA has allowed customers to scan and electronically deposit checks for quite a while. The only new thing here is the iPhone app. Still, it's pretty cool, especially compared to mailing checks in. (For those who don't know, USAA doesn't have physical branches. They were established by and for members of the military, and they've pretty much always been pioneers of remote banking, first by mail and phone, and now over the internet.)

  • by Tanispyre (690330) on Monday August 10, 2009 @01:12PM (#29012861)
    USAA (United Serviceman Automobile Association) is not your normal bank that has offices all over where you can make a deposit. It is a banking service available to military personnel and their dependents. It has always been set up so that servicemen deployed around the world can access their accounts. Before they wrote the iPhone app, members could scan their cheques and email them to the bank for credit, this is just an extension of that service, nothing new.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by cosmicpossum (554246)
      United SERVICES Automobile Association
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        You're both right:

        The name is United SERVICES Automobile Association. It is an inter-insurance exchange under Texas law.

        The business is insurance and financial services for Army service personnel and their dependents. Army officer & NCO personnel are insured by USAA proper, enlisted, dependants, and other "associate members" by subsidiaries. So if you have to "have some sort of insurance from USAA" (itself) and "approximately 60% of USAA's customers qualify" it means you are a current or former US ar

  • Seems like any camera phone should be able to snap a picture of a check and send it to the appropriate online location. In any case, sounds like a whole lot of risk for something that, at least in my current situation, is not very common. The last time I deposited a check was months ago.
  • USAA already lets customers deposit checks by scanning them on their computers. Has for years. Very nice feature....if you have a scanner. Now that I'm only using a netbook, I don't have that luxury now.

    USAA was also very quick to embrace the iPhone, and came out with a very nice dedicated app a while ago. In addition to letting you check balances, transfer funds and pay bills, it has a ATM locator (location based app), accident checklist with notepad, loan calculator, roadside assistance button (also l

    • USAA already lets customers deposit checks by scanning them on their computers. Has for years. Very nice feature....if you have a scanner. Now that I'm only using a netbook, I don't have that luxury now.

      Take picture with cellphone.
      Email to yourself.
      Convert image to required format (jpg? pdf? tif?).
      Send to USAA.

      Not sure if this would satisfy their requirements... But I've been doing this for docs when I'm on the road without access to a scanner for a few years now. It's a little sloppy (hard to get proper

  • by bigattichouse (527527) on Monday August 10, 2009 @01:40PM (#29013393) Homepage
    I'm a USAA member, and I know for a fact that many USAA members have needs above and beyond a "normal bank" customer. Imagine trying to buy a new car in Florida when you are deployed to Iraq. Think of how difficult it is to have both of your signatures on one sheet of paper... its not a big example, but it is the kind of thing you run into. Think about this, I once worked in an on-base video rental store - we had a guy rent a movie and then get orders that night to deploy... the computer just kept racking up late fees, even automatically reporting to his CO (also deployed) - we cleared it up after a month or two, once someone noticed. Military situations are just plain different.
  • You deposit a check using this method
    You lose the check (normally not a big deal)
    Person contests every writing you the check
    Now you can't prove the person wrote you a check

    People lose things all the time. There are dishonest people who will try and welsh on funds they are supposed to pay. Couple that with the billions of transactions that happen on any given year and you get a recipe for some problems.

    This new method should include the option/requirement to scan the check in.
  • USAA already allowed check deposits by scanner [usaa.com], so this really isn't anything new. But mix anything with IPhone and it makes the Slashdot homepage. Sigh.
  • Can I take a picture of my bills to deposit them?

  • The last two checks I wrote (and the only two in some time) were to municipal taxing authorities. The State finally got around to being able to do ACHs recently, and the IRS has been able to take your money that way for a while (as opposed to the more traditional way of sending goons over to take your kids' piggybanks).

    Some companies (like my property management company) which really ought to be able to do better still take only paper checks. I enter the payment into my electronic bill paying application.

  • by holophrastic (221104) on Monday August 10, 2009 @03:58PM (#29015397)

    So, cheques: a piece of paper laced with security techniques to dodge copying/photographing/duplicating/forging is going to be accepted in photographed form? That seems more than idiotic.

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