PayPal Check Depositing App Efficiently Turns Checks Into Thin Air

Instead of schlepping small checks she receives all the way to a local bank branch, Robin likes to use PayPal’s smartphone check-capturing service and deposit the funds in her PayPal account. That’s a pretty neat trick…at least until two checks went missing entirely in PayPal’s system, and no one can tell Robin where they went because the check-cashing services are handled by a third-party vendor, not PayPal itself.

I don’t like going to the bank.

I do like using check capture services on my phone to take pictures of checks and having them magically (though slowly, usually 7-10 days) appear in my account.

I don’t like that my bank, ING, has been slow to integrate check capture. “Coming soon” for a couple of years now, or at least it seems like it.

I do like that paypal has check capture. I often use it to deposit my random checks.

I don’t like that they’ve recently overhauled their mobile app. In their previous mobile app, you could see that you had uploaded a check, and that it was pending. Now, you upload a check, and you get no indication of whether you should be expecting money to magically appear in your account at some time in the future.

On March 21, I deposited two checks from the same payor. On March 22 or 23, I deposited an additional check, from a different payor.

One of the two March 21 checks showed up on March 27. Sweet! I figure that the other two checks will show up soon. But as the days tick by, no sign of the funds.

On April 9, I send paypal an email inquiry, asking them if they can tell me whether the checks are still pending. Within an hour or two, I get an email back in which they say this:

“Thanks for your email. We’ll do our best to get back to you within 24 hours. It might take a bit longer (depending on the question), but we try hard not to keep you waiting longer than 72 hours.”

Fair enough. I wait 72 hours, no response.

I call the line noted in their app for customer support, and waited about 10 minutes or so to talk to a live person.

I repeat my questions to the CSR, who’s plenty nice and courteous. I receive the following answers:

1. He can’t tell me whether the missing check info is still pending. Their checks are cashed by a third party vendor, and only show up in their system after they’ve been credited to my account.

2. He can search the third party’s system if I can give him a five digit transaction ID. He can’t tell me where the transaction ID appears in the app.

3. He can’t tell me if anyone is currently working on my previous inquiry.

4. He can’t tell me why I haven’t heard from anyone in the time frame specified by the email I received.

Like I said, he was plenty courteous. I told him (calmly and politely) that I don’t blame him personally for what his company hasn’t done, but I’m a pretty dissatisfied customer at this point.

I’ll deposit the checks at my local bank, I guess, and hope that Paypal doesn’t try to negotiate the checks at a later date. Don’t know what the consequences would be if Paypal does try to negotiate them.

That’s annoying. But at least Robin still has the paper checks after the originals were converted into ones and zeros and then sent into the ether.

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