Would You Scan Checks At Home For Deposit?

Banks have hesitated to adopt technology that would let us scan paper checks at home for deposit. The Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act allows banks to exchange electronic images instead of paper checks, but USAA, a credit union associated with the military, is currently the only bank to offer customers a check scanning option. Sure, it’s easy enough to stand on line for a teller or wait for an ATM, but we fear sunshine and people and prefer to stay indoors, thank you. Assuming it was free, is this something you would use if it was offered by your bank? Vote in our poll, after the jump.

Gawker Media polls require Javascript; if you’re viewing this in an RSS reader, click through to view in your Javascript-enabled web browser.

Scanning Your Money to the Bank [NYT]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Nick says:

    I’d probably wait a few months to make sure there were no major bugs in the system, and then go for it!

    Although, I think I get only about 4-5 checks per year (everything I do is electronic already).

  2. homerjay says:

    I run a small business out of my home and my local branch of my credit union isn’t close. Either I do my deposits infrequently when I’m going by the branch or I mail them in (they’ve been lost in the mail once, so that option is no longer on the table). If they implemented this, I’d love them even more.

  3. NoWin says:

    The bank I work for has offers this as a service for business customers (they just pay for the reader) for almost a year. There are system requirements (XP-Vista), and you must be running firewall and Aniti-Virus (no integration with Mac users yet, as it works along with a software interface for “pre-proofing” your deposits)

    Surprisingly, most business owners are uninterested. Why, is beyond me…

  4. ohiomensch says:

    National City Bank has been offering this service to its business customers for a couple of years now. It works really well and haven’t lost a check yet.

    I would use it if I had it available.

  5. Hawk07 says:

    I’ve used USAA’s system a few times, but it’s impractical if you have a large number of checks to deposit. Of course, if you need the money immediately, it’s well worth the hassle.

    Also, I do a lot of rebates and the checks come in all shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, the deposit @home with USAA isn’t compatible with all checks. It does most of them, but occasionally the weird sized ones won’t work and you have to deposit them by mail.

  6. PalmettoBooks says:

    I have been using deposit at home through USAA since they first introduced it. I have yet to come across any problems whatsoever and love that my check is deposited and ready for withdrawal immediately rather then waiting to send my check to them and waiting for it to clear. I have switched to USAA exclusively for banking due to the deposit at home.

  7. randombob says:

    It almost seems to me that it puts the burden of “work” related to putting the check into the account on the shoulders of the customer. That’s what the teller’s are for, thanks.

  8. humphrmi says:

    I’ve been doing everything EXCEPT deposits electronically for years. Bill payments, reconciliation, etc. I only go to my branch to make deposits, and then it’s usually because half a dozen odd checks have stacked up for months. Then I spend 30 minutes filling out those stupid ATM deposit envelopes. I’d love to skip that. I’m in.

  9. voltronguy says:

    The only thing I don’t like about it with USAA is the deposit limit of $5000. Those are the checks I don’t want to send through the mail and risk losing! I’m not sure if that is a limit in place by them, or some sort of banking regulation.

    The system is very easy to use, but like others have said it would take a while to deposit multiple checks.

  10. forgottenpassword says:

    Yeah I would if I had a scanner (or whatever you would need). I HATE my bank’s new ATMs that make you submit each check & jump thru a bunch of hoops. It takes twice as long now at the atm than the old way. The first time I used it … it ate my paycheck & basically shut down/rebooted. My check was lost somewhere in the machine. Had to go back to the bank when it opened to make sure they recieved it.

    I am considering using my work’s direct deposit because of my bank’s new fucked up atms.

  11. nequam says:

    @forgottenpassword: How come you don’t already use direct deposit?

  12. angelman says:

    It’s a mystery why this country still uses such antiquated things as cheques. Do banks not realise that in other less advanced countries cheques died out with the dodo? Money is now just a series of digits in a country there really is no reason to ever right a cheque. Everything should just be an electronic transfer. When I came to the US I was astonished to be presented with a book of cheques. Please move into the 20th Century and get rid of these paper nuisances!

  13. humphrmi says:

    @angelman: They presented you with a book of checks when you arrived in the US? Geez, I guess visitors get some great perks coming to the US!

  14. Thorny says:

    @angelman: My grandmother is antiquated, but we still use her for her delicious mashed potatoes. Some old things still have a purpose.

    Like checks have the purpose of getting pulled out of that lady’s purse in line at the checkout when she gets the total of her bill, and not a second before. So we all stand there and wait while she writes it out.

  15. Copper says:

    I’ve used USAA’s Deposit@Home before and it’s convenient. I like the idea, but I don’t regularly have my scanner set up so what I usually do is deposit checks/cash into my account at Bank of America and transfer the money. I use BoA for my car payment which is automatically withdrawn and as a teller. That’s it.

  16. liljimmynorton says:

    I would love it if ING picked this up for their electric orange accounts. The only reason I have another bank account now it so I can deposit the checks I get every once and awhile.

  17. smitty1123 says:

    Between direct deposit and debit cards, I get maybe 2 or 3 checks a year. So hitting the bank a couple of times a year isn’t really a big deal for me.

  18. forgottenpassword says:


    Because i have been a bit mistrustful of it & dont like change. Also My bank is conveniently close & I often need to withdraw a twenty every other week or so anyway.

    The only thing that isnt convenient are the new pain-in-the-ass atms.

  19. bohemian says:

    Do other people’s banks do their electronic bill paying service by still printing out paper checks and mailing them out for you?

    I thought other banks did some sort of direct to electronic transfer of the money? Maybe our bank is just antiquated?

    I could see the USAA deposit from home scanner being great if you ran a business from home. Otherwise we get everything as direct deposit.

  20. cyborg5001 says:

    Being in the military, 600 miles from my nearest branch, I would love to be able to scan my checks. I could have gotten USAA and had the feature years ago, but I didn’t want the hassle of changing banks. But now that this is a possibility, I am excited. I won’t have to wait for my bank to get my check, lose it, find it, and then deposit it for me(the average time from me dropping a check in the mail to getting the deposit has been 8 business days. :( )

    I know all of my coworkers with out of state banks will be happy when this feature hits thier banks too.

  21. GhettoGodfather says:

    I think its an outstanding feature. I have used USAA’s deposit@home many times (I’m active duty military overseas) and it has worked perfectly every time. By the way, it’s free and prety simple to use (folow the directions with your scanner at home). You also need to consider that USAA doesn’t have many branch offices (there’s the one in San Antonio and maybe a couple others). If you use USAA for banking (very competive banking practices), it is a lot easier making deposits this way as opposed to mailing the check in or depositing it into a local bank and making the transfer. Its also worth noting that with the Deposit@Home, the funds are available immediately instead of having to wait a day or two when depositing a check at your local teller. I would think the majority of people (consumers, not businesses) aren’t depositing many checks on regular basis (think Direct Deposit)… so think in terms of what is your time worth? Calculate the time to drive to the bank, wait in line, conduct your deposit, and drive home. Then of course there’s the money saved by the bank for the reduced foot traffic at the branch office. Other banks should folow the lead on this.

  22. cmhbob says:

    We’re customers of USAA, and have been using the Deposit@Home for a while now. My employer is small enough that direct deposit isn’t an option, so for the 12 checks we get each year there, plus a number of other checks each quarter, it’s great.

    The $5k limit? :shrug: I wish I made enough money for that to be an issue. :)

  23. punkrawka says:

    I hate to nit-pick, but isn’t an online poll about whether or not you’d like an additional online activity inherently biased?

  24. UniKyrn says:

    @randombob: It’s probably a bit of both, the bank wanting to offer a feature that others don’t, and yes, offloading more of their costs on you.

    My concern would be for the scammer who got an account with a bank offering this kind of service, who also had a machine that could print checks with valid magnetic ink encoding. They get your banks routing number and your account number, fake a check from you to them and feed it into the deposit machine. You’re out the money and involved in a fight to prove the signature on the fake check isn’t yours. They of course deposited a few thousand worth of fake checks in their account, cleaned it out and are long gone by the time you discover what’s happened.

  25. radnauseum says:
  26. snoop-blog says:

    i’m far too much of a paranoid indiviual to use this service electively. i would only use this if i had to. there are some things i just prefer to do in person. money transactions are one of them.

  27. Paulyshoreis.dead says:

    Another USAA member chiming in. I now live very far from USAA so making a physical deposit is no go. So, I do have the free envelopes to make mail deposits but they can take 5 days sometimes. So, I use the deposit@home service on the rare occasion I get a check. One problem is that money orders and some check with heavy amounts of “security” feautures on them will not scan. And if my check is over 5k, I won’t mind spending the $10 to overnight it. I see people every day at work that loose untold interest and safety because they won’t spend a couple extra bucks having the money wired or FedEx’d.

    While it can be very frustrating to scan the checks I still won’t give up my account at USAA. I’ve never had the same bad experiences and “gotcha” fees that I’ve had from every other bank in the universe. I love USAA and couldn’t imagine changing.

    Something that is exceedingly funny since I actually work for another financial institution and don’t have anything other than the required account with nothing in it.

  28. VA_White says:

    I also love USAA’s Deposit @ Home. When we lived overseas, my kids would get birthday checks sent to Portugal from their grandmother who lived in Texas. Which we would have to immediately mail back to San Antonio for deposit into their accounts. Dumb!

    Now when the kids get their birthday checks I scan them in and deposit them right into their USAA savings accounts.

    It’s really convenient. I don’t understand why someone would not want this.

  29. IssaGoodDay says:

    I would most definitely use this feature. I am extremely busy during regular business hours, and even though the bank is a 10 minute walk away, find myself able to make it to the bank so rarely that I often have checks for a month or two before I get around to depositing them. Doing so from home would be TREMENDOUSLY helpful.

  30. DrGirlfriend says:

    My credit union is not close to my home, and a bit of walk from work. I don’t mind walking, really, but I only get a half hour for lunch and that kind of kills my lunch half-hour. I would love to have the option to scan checks at home for deposit.

  31. ruppmeister says:

    @VA_White: I have done the same thing for my childs birthday checks. Her great grandparents still use checks when the send money and I use USAA deposit@home to do these transactions. I feel much safer logining into a secure website, which I already do to check balences and transfer money around, and scan a check in. For me, it is either using the scanner and getting the deposit right away or sending through the mail and taking near a week for the deposit and having the chance of getting lost.

  32. SpenceMan01 says:

    What I want is (essentially) an at-home ATM. My wife, however, would probably argue against it. She’s the saver, I’m the spender. The electronic deposit would be useful for her paychecks, though.

  33. mantari says:

    Sure, I’d adopt it. But at, perhaps, four checks a year, it’d be a waste.

  34. wring says:

    @angelman: Russian, I presume?

  35. wring says:

    @punkrawka: LOL srsly

  36. siskamariesophie says:

    My husband and I are USAA customers and have been using this feature for a while. It’s great but there is a $2500 limit which can be inconvenient.

  37. asphix20 says:

    Personally, I don’t have a problem going to the bank, waiting in line and doing things the old way.

    Actually… Part of me prefers it. It wasn’t until just recently (the last 8 or so months) that I set up direct deposit with the place I’ve been employed for almost 4 years.

    Anything that keeps us off (lowering our carbon output) I see as a good thing. Sadly, I think this will just give people more time to drive their 12 miles per gallon SUV’s to the mall thats 15-30 miles away. *sigh*

  38. Omi says:

         Give me one real check, a copy of the Catch Me If You Can book, and an hour with photoshop and I can turn out perfect counterfit checks for you.


         There’s a few more secure ways to bring banking into the future that’ve been around for awhile. They’re called direct deposit, and paypal.

  39. dreamcatcher2 says:

    I have to drive 20 minutes out of my way to the closest credit union service center that will take my deposits… so for me, this is a definite YES.

  40. linoth says:

    Foreseeable problem. MICR ink for the main-stream HP inkjet printers is readily available. And I can’t clearly remember if it can be found for laser printers. So you can presumably print a rather convincing check with any routing and account numbers you want.

    For those unfamiliar with MICR, it’s Magnetic Ink Character Recognition, and it’s what all of those numbers at the bottom of your checks are handled with. It’s what keeps you from taking a black pen and fudging a number or two.

    Simple check forgery from the comfort of your own home. That’s just great. And in a dispute over whether it was a real check or not, you can complain that you’ve “already thrown it out and where’s your damn money?” I just don’t see this working out well.

  41. William C Bonner says:

    My credit union [www.advancial.org] was advertising this on their web site when I connected up today.

    iDeposit: Sign up inside cuAnywhere to start virtually depositing checks.

    I’m not sure that I like the idea of virtually depositing checks, but I do like the idea of being able to deposit checks from home, at totally odd hours.

  42. thatgirlinnewyork says:

    @angelman: Amen to that. As a freelancer, I have my share of payments via cheques that are subject to several days scrutiny by my bank, who can claim that “they’re from out of town”, so while the money goes into the bank upon their scan, I don’t get mine for another 7 days. Add to that the wasteful filling out of deposit forms, filling out the same information on a deposit envelope, then toggling through an ATM menu to deposit it makes ours the most antiquated banking system in the western world.

  43. Michael @ Paperweight Blog says:

    would I scan my checks at home? heck yeah. no walking to the bank for me, since the closest town with a bank is 12 miles away. and that way i don’t have to worry about finding a time when i’m in town and i’m not working and the bank’s open. . .

  44. acherusia says:

    This is the thing that would get me to switch to online banking. I love the idea of online banking, and the biggest thing that’s stopped me from going that way is depositing checks, as I tend to get just enough checks that it isn’t quite worth going that way. I’d be surprised if, after USAA, the first banks using this weren’t the big online ones.

  45. angelman says:

    In the UK if I want to pay the plumber say all I need do is get the equivalent of his check routing number and account number (same info as is on a cheque here) and then log on to the bank website, enter the details and press transfer. You can do the same here the key difference is that in the UK its free.. here it’s not. I was blown away by the “bill pay” service here where you enter all information on the website all high tech and 21st century and that gets turned into a paper cheque mailed to the recipient who then has to take that to the bank where they scan it into the system where it gets turned back into numbers in a computer again.. talk about waste of time…

  46. adam3819 says:

    I’ve used the USAA system since it came out (~2years ago). I have to admit I don’t get a lot of check but it is very helpful. The best thing is that the deposit happens instantly, alot faster than mailing them in like I used to have to. USAA only has one bank (in San Antonio) but has the best online, phone service I’ve ever seen. I’ve rarely been on hold for more than a few minutes and can allows understand what is said.

  47. Aphex242 says:

    Schwab, are you listening? DO WANT.

  48. ihateauditions says:

    Commerce offers this to their business customers under the name RapidDeposit, and has done so for a while.

    I’m a big fan, since it means I can retain the physical checks in case of dispute, instead of having only the scanned image that would be available if I deposited at the bank.

    I’ve tried the USAA stuff on my personal account, but never got it to work with my scanner.

  49. bdude says:

    People still use cheques in america?

  50. Bill says:

    @Linoth: MICR is readily available for laser as well. The whole check system is highly vulnerable to forgery anyway, but it works with USAA because on the whole, people associated with the military are reasonable trustworthy.

    I like the system because I handle a handful of checks per year and would prefer to just deposit the checks and shred them without having to make a trip to the branch to wait in line or fill out a form.

  51. Aphex242 says:

    @bdude: Yes, rarely. Where do you live, Tomorrowland?

  52. RenardRouge says:

    @angelman: Make electronic payment processing cost less for merchants, and you might get more support from business (especially small ones who don’t have as great a volume of transactions and pay higher fees)

  53. DrGirlfriend says:

    (sarcasm) zomg Americans are such rubes with their checks!!!! snarf! (/sarcasm)

    I don’t run into check-writing or receiving very often, but I do sometimes. I pay all my bills online except rent. I don’t know of any landlord or management company that lets you pay rent electronically. So for that, I do have to write a check. If my parents want to send me money for my birthday or whatever, they do so with a check since they’re not really up on the PayPal thing. My hairdresser gets dinged with credit card fees every time a customer pays with a card, so if I don’t have enough cash on me I pay with a check. So, Bdude, yes, people in America do still use checks.

  54. Trai_Dep says:

    Just so I have this straight. Buy a $400 scanner so that Americans won’t have to walk to a freaken’ ATM?

    Jeezus, no wonder we’re a nation of lardbutts.

  55. rg says:

    stand “on” line? Do you mean wait online, or stand “in” line? Is there an actual “line” that you stand on when waiting? What kind of language is that?! Dayum yankeh!

  56. Me - now with more humidity says:

    USAA isn’t the only one. A bank here in Jacksonville, FL offers it, too.

  57. Trai_Dep says:

    (above expatriate & Grizzly Adams excepted, ‘natch)

  58. ralphie99 says:

    I love the USAA Deposit@Home, and I use it regularly. Even with direct deposit, I still receive a fair number of checks each year, and being able to immediately deposit them and immediately have access to the money is a HUGE benefit.

    Of course, if banks would just set up an easier way to allow interbank Electronics Funds Transfers, checks wouldn’t be necessary, but every time I’ve tried a direct ETF, it’s a huge hassle that involves faxing them official requests, paying a transfer fee, etc. If someone has money to give me, they can just write me a check and it’s in my account in a matter of minutes, thanks to USAA’s Deposit@Home.

    The only problem with USAA’s system is that I have to use the IE browser, it doesn’t seem to work right with firefox. But I can live with that. Oh, and the five thousand per day limit is a minor pain, I agree, but I should be so lucky to be receiving so many large checks…

  59. Addison says:

    Capital One is offering it to their small biz customers now.

  60. Mr. Gunn says:

    humphrmi: Hear, Hear! Deposits are the only reason I go to the bank anymore. Now, if ING Direct were to start offering this, I would gleefully cancel my local branch account, and I’d make sure to cancel with the bastard that refused to credit me for the ridiculous overdraft fees that one time 3 years ago.

  61. lovelygirl says:

    Um, how much would this in-home scanning technology cost?

  62. Bill says:

    @lovelygirl: I paid $40 for my scanner on eBay and USAA provides the service for free.

    @trai_dep: When the nearest ATM for my bank is 600 miles away, yes.

  63. Anonymous says:

    Sure why not save me some time. of course id try a sample one a couple times for 40 bucks and then if i see after couple times id do full deposits lol.

  64. VA_White says:

    @trai_dep said:Just so I have this straight. Buy a $400 scanner so that Americans won’t have to walk to a freaken’ ATM?

    Jeezus, no wonder we’re a nation of lardbutts.

    There are more reasons to need this service than laziness. When we were stationed overseas, there were no ATMs accessible to deposit checks. USAA and many other online banks do not have physical branches, the checks clear instantly meaning there is no hold on funds deposited this way, and there is no chance your deposit could get lost.

  65. SaveMeJeebus says:

    I have been using this ever since it came out and have not had a problem. I don’t see why people say that this shifts the burden onto the customer… as of right now, don’t you drive to the bank, wait in line, and then possibly wait a couple days for it to appear? Even if you mail it in you still use a stamp and have to wait at least 3 days. USAA still does the postage-paid deposit envelopes for those that think a couple minutes of time uploading checks is a colossal pain in the ass.

  66. synergy says:

    I haven’t used a check in nearly 4 years and I can’t think of the last time I cashed one myself. Probably something from my husband’s grandmother which actually was a money order, not a check.

  67. Anonymous says:

    Checks are too easy to fake. In general this is not a service that should be rolled out to the general public. Load up a TrueType MICR font on my windows PC and I’m good to go to print a check on anyone’s account.

    For overseas customers of US banks who’ve opened accounts stateside and then gone abroad, it might be useful. It’s incredibly easy to transfer money OUT of
    the USA through the local ATM machines but depositing it BACK is quite another story.

    Bank by mail? US citizens take for granted a postal system that is efficient and doesn’t lose/steal things. In a lot of countries postal correspondence to an American bank is going to simply evaporate in transit with the contents somehow being misused.

    That leaves FedEx and DHL – oh and Western Union or wire transfers. All of those are prohibitively expensive for an expat who earns their income overseas yet maintains US-based credit card accounts. SO easy to spend it, but making that payment is SO difficult.

    However, in most foreign capitals its possible to buy a US check usually drawn on a New York account. It’s far cheaper than Western Union in most cases and you could conceivably buy your US check with local currency the same day as you scan and deposit it with your American bank. 3-5 days later it clears and you pay your stateside bills.

    Banks should carefully vet and identify customers who get access to this service. Imagine the FLOOD of scanned checks emanating from Nigeria…

  68. krunk4ever says:

    @randombob: That’s like saying printing postage online should always be done at the post office since they do the weighing and calculating how much you have to pay, yet it’s so inefficient people are WILLING to pay to print postage online and then just drop it off in the mail.

    You have to consider the time you waste to go to the bank and you have to do it within bank hours, which usually close quite early and they only open 1/2 days on Saturday and is closed on Sunday. Same thing with the post office.

  69. I can’t say I would use it. I’m far too broke to forsee a time when I wouldn’t need to get the initial $100 available upon cashing a check anytime soon.

  70. SadSam says:

    Wachovia just started offering this service. I plan to try it out soon.

  71. CaptainSemantics says:

    @SadSam: Really? Do you know if they have anything about in on the website? I couldn’t find it after a cursory glance, but if this exists I would be super-happy.

  72. CaptainSemantics says:

    @CaptainSemantics: Wow, I am an idiot. It was right there on the homepage. It helps to look at the right side of the screen, too. lol

  73. gingerCE says:

    Hmm–I don’t have a problem going into the bank to make a deposit. Even with only checking accounts like Electric Orange (which I have been considering) I’d deposit a check into my local free checking bank and transfer the funds online (for free)–much safer than mailing.

    I do know someone who refuses to do direct deposit. Ten years ago or so he signed up for it when it became available at his work–they messed up the first transaction–and he quickly unenrolled. That was enough for him to keep doing the paper check route all this time–and he gets paid weekly.

    For me, my bank is in the same shopping center as my grocery store, my post office etc . . . it’s very convenient and easy for me to stop by the bank. My bank also offers a good interest rate on savings, it’s free, but if I moved then I can understand having to switch again.

  74. gingerCE says:

    @krunk4ever: That depends, like I wrote my bank is in the same shopping center as my grocery store and post office.

    There’s another bank in the same shopping center (not mine but I know people who use it) that offers free checking, is open til 7pm M-F and is open on Sat and Sunday til 3pm.

    These hours do not appear to be at every branch, but it’s nice to know there’s banks/branches that are realizing that people need better hours.

  75. mstevens says:

    USAA is a federal bank, not a credit union.

  76. christoj879 says:

    My bank offers it, but for $50/month for my business account. Not worth it.

  77. GoghUA says:

    I’ve been doing this since USAA rolled it out and I love it! I’ve deposited personal checks, paychecks, crazy shaped refund checks from Staples, and many more.
    The only problems I have ever had with it were when people have signed their names through the check routing numbers. If this is the case, the system recognizes the problem directs you to mail the check in for deposit. Of course since USAA rocks, you can just use the free prepaid envelopes. I make sure to keep a few on hand just incase.

    If you are eligible for USAA and aren’t taking advantage of the banking, insurance, and many other services that they offer, then you are wasting money.

  78. dxr says:

    Just an FYI, I’ve been using the USAA deposit at home service since it started working with Macs, and the 5k limit isn’t set in stone. I had some checks that were slightly over, and I just called and they raised my limit to 10k. The new limit showed up on the account before I hung up with customer service.

  79. Aphex242 says:

    @mstevens: Excellent point. The actual name is “USAA Federal Savings Bank”.

  80. nrwfos says:

    I like the idea of it. My daughter has a USAA account and when I need to give her money (I am homebound) it helps that she can deposit a check that way. My credit union is in another state so making deposits are difficult (I definitely don’t send them in the mail.) So I have a local savings account from which I can EFT money to the credit union when I need to. Fortunately, we don’t get checks ourselves very often. We do have auto-deposit for DH’s paychecks and I can’t imagine not having that since the mail is so unreliable. I do have to use checks for some things. Like – donations to the local volunteer EMT and fire stations. There are other times (usually one time situations) where credit cards and EFT’s don’t work.

  81. nrwfos says:

    @nrwfos: Edit – the other big reason that I have to have a savings account is that our FLEX medical card sends us checks for the times we can’t use the FLEX card and they re-emburse us. That is really annoying to my husband. They don’t seem to have an automatic deposit option.

  82. MercuryPDX says:

    @randombob: And, what in most cases you bank is charging you for. :)

    The few instances where I need to deposit a check (Gifts, rebates, etc.) it’s not so hard to add a visit to the ATM after grocery shopping, renting a movie, or what have you.

    Like the article states: “Some people will look at it as a great innovation, others as a solution to a problem they don’t have.” Count me in the latter.

  83. Trai_Dep says:

    It seems like a good solution to fix a select group of customers. From the article, I thought they were thinking of rolling it out to everyone, which doesn’t make a lot of sense. So, yay, free market!

  84. enm4r says:

    @NoWin: Surprisingly, most business owners are uninterested. Why, is beyond me…

    I find that hard to believe, because I’m also in banking and constantly setting up this service for clients. Granted, if you work with very small businesses the special scanners and fees might not be worth it, but in general, this is a pretty standard product for larger businesses. Anything to decrease the float time…

    And my only complaint with the USAA service thus far has been rebate checks. Because a lot of rebate checks have blank backs, it doesn’t like that and wont let you submit them. I think of the 5 checks I get a year, that would disqualify 1 or 2 of them.

  85. SacraBos says:

    I business I do work for has started doing this. They have a little scanner/MICR reader. They get enough checks to make it worthwhile, but I think it would be cost prohibitive for home use or businesses that have a low check volume.

  86. SacraBos says:

    @Omi: There’s a little more to it than ust the scan. There is the MICR (Magnetic Ink Character Recognition) – those numbers on the bottom of the check aren’t printed with just any ordinary blank ink. The scanners use both optical and magnetic to read the check.

  87. ersatzkat says:

    I’m actually implementing this for business customers at the bank I work for right now. Banks work with a vendor to provide the scanners and the software or web interface to their customers. Most of those remote deposit vendors are actively looking at the best way to offer/price this service for the individual market, and most banks who offer remote deposit to business customers are under a lot of pressure from the retail bank to figure it out, too. The biggest obstacle to consumer implementation is cost. To use a really good scanner with a really good track record of accurate OCR is expensive – in our case, a single-feed scanner (appropriate for most consumers) costs about $500, and a batch-feed scanner costs about $1100.

    There is no regulatory “deposit limit” for remote deposits. If your bank is imposing a limit, it’s based on a set of rules they came up with themselves to mitigate risk, but the risks are vague at best. We require a user name and password that we control, as well as a password generating token to access the service. You can only deposit into accounts that we define in the system and have verified, and our fraud/security folks automatically eyeball any deposit over a certain limit regardless of the deposit channel. You cannot add a new account for deposits in the service, nor can you create an additional user in the service. Really, the big risk as we see it is user error, i.e., accidentally depositing a check via the branch or an ATM that you’ve already scanned via the service, and there’s no way (at our bank) to be able to tell that’s happening until the check is returned. We address this by signing a legal agreement with our business customers stating that any shenanigans (accidental OR fraudulent) are completely and totally their responsibility, so as to encourage adherence to best practices and security.

  88. sam1am says:

    I own a business and cur myself a salary check every two weeks. Since USAA is my bank (btw, not a credit union…) I simply drew a check in photoshop and I send them the image whenever I want to get paid. The whole process takes me about 30 seconds and my deposit is available immediately.

    USAA is an absolutely incredible bank and I highly recommend it to anyone who can get in.

    They also have great customer service, free financial advisors, they fully refund ATM charges, and they accommodate you in whatever way possible.

  89. Hawk07 says:


    I feel like every time there is an article about USAA here, people start posting all these great stories and how we should all join if eligible.

    Yes, USAA has great products and great service. Their CSR reps are top notch and they take rudeness complaints very seriously. However, their products are not necessarily the cheapest. It does pay to shop around.

    In my family’s case, we switched our auto insurance (after 28 or so continuous years with USAA) to another provider you see on TV and we save roughly $800 a year and get MORE coverage than USAA’s rates. When we switched USAA would not match the rate. They were friendly about it, so I’ll give them that. Also, we have zero accidents, zero tickets, and pay all bills on time. IOW, the PERFECT insurance customer. I have several good buddies that are officers right now, and I tell them this same bit of info. Shop around and don’t buy into the USAA is by far the cheapest lie.

    Also, USAA’s mutual funds expense ratio hovers just above 1% (usually 1.05% plus or minus .01%). Most of their competitors (i.e. Vanguard, Fidelity, Merril Lynch, etc.) have expense ratios from 0.55% to 0.75%.

    USAA is a world class company to be a member of and work for. However, I feel like some of their products are competitive and better than industry average, however others are below industry average. It’s kind of like a retail store which attracts you with the ads and hopes you end up buying other goods which are the real bread & butter of their operation.

  90. taka2k7 says:

    I for one, welcome our new USAA overlords!

    (I usually try to deposit my check online, but I have problems with firefox and some add-ons). IE7 works most of the time.)

  91. Yes! Computers are rad and control all our money anyways. Why not let them eat it while the money is more fresh? Gnom Gnom Gnom. Then I can setup alerts that say “You haven’t fed me a check in a while, why don’t you make more money?”

  92. bdude says:

    @aphex242 & @drgirlfriend: Wow, in Australia the main use for cheques is when paying large amounts of money in person – my bank charges me $7.50 for a cheque. Most people either withdraw at an ATM or use EFTPOS.

  93. Ghede says:

    Voted maybe. I’m not sure how secure that would be. If it were anything other than money, I would be saying Yes. When money gets involved, risk increases exponentially for new technology.

    Bad code for a word-processor? At most it ruins my computer and I go to a back-up. Bad code for a scanned check transfer? I lose all my money and have to deal with bureaucrat after bureaucrat to get my money back.

    I’ll try it after it has been implemented for a few years.

  94. groverexploder says:

    Ermm.. Why do it at home?

    Roughly 25% of the ATM branches here in Hong Kong already have check and cash deposit machines.

    But who needs checks anyway – let’s all push for direct deposit!

  95. halftank says:

    USAA Deposit@Home works great in Safari/Mac. I use Firefox primarily so it’s a small hassle, but I can live w/it.

  96. Red_Eye says:

    My credit union only exists in California, I currently live in Georgia, I can deposit at Co-Op atms but would much prefer the ability to scan at home.

  97. ryan_marsh says:

    I’m a USAA customer and I LOVE scanning my checks. I haven’t been to a bank in almost a year now. This is just one more reason why I love USAA.

  98. missbheave (is not convinced) says:

    YES! Never having to fill out those deposit slips (cause I don’t want to buy new checks just to get more personalized deposit slips) would be amazing.

  99. FLConsumer says:

    I wish we’d just skip the checks entirely and go electronic like the rest of the world has done already. It’d also be nice to get away from the excessive 2-3% transaction fees the credit card co’s charge for each transaction as well.

  100. FLConsumer says:

    @missbehave: Not sure about your bank, but Wachovia offers books of pre-printed deposit slips. Have a pile of ’em here.

  101. Aphex242 says:

    @bdude: That’s interesting. Checks aren’t commonly used here but unless you have some kind of direct deposit thing set up with an employer, it’s how you get paid. It’s also generally the only way to pay rent at most apartments, among other things. There are no fees for using a check.

  102. qwickone says:

    @NoWin: I work for a large bank too and we have had this for over a year with little success. And I work with large commercial clients. They’re all government contractors though and the government pays electronically these days. All of the companies I work with get only a few checks a week, so the price of the scanner (a few hundred $$) is not worth it.

  103. aaronw1 says:

    Just wanted to point out that USAA is not only for military members, it’s also for other comissioned officers (my father got it because he used to be in the US Foreign Service).

  104. badfad says:

    This really is an awesome service and just one of the reasons I love that company. If only they’d rework their Java applet for Macs and make it work like it does on a Windows machine. Then the world would be a better place!

  105. badfad says:

    Oh, and it is a wonderful feeling having a bank actually trust its customers!

  106. howiecaesar says:

    I bank (among other things)with USAA and have been using the Scan Check program for a while and have never had a problem. The program requires that the scanner be plugged directly into the computer (i.e. no network data centers, etc.) and it pulls the image directly from the scanner – no uploading images – good for security.
    I’ve been with USAA for several years. Their customer service is the best of any company (of any industry) I’ve ever dealt with – I’ve no doubt any problems with the Scan Check would be easily resolved.

  107. lowcajones says:

    save your postage. scan your checks.

  108. KevinReyn says:

    USAA Member here and Deposit@Home Roxxor!!
    I love it, love it, love it.

    Wait did I say I love it? Ok well I love it.

    I trust USAA 100% They have proven that they have protection safeguards in place to ID and terminate fraudulent activity. I was iniitally denied use of my CC when traveling for business because the charge at the hotel was “outside your normal usage profile” One call, a confirmation it was be and I was back up and running.

    Solid company, honorable mission, if your lucky enough to be eligable you would be a fool to not work with them.