by Andrew Zumwalt, M.S., Associate State Specialist, Personal Financial Planning, University of Missouri Extension
What is it?
Some financial institutions are now allowing remote mobile check deposit. Customers of these institutions can use their smartphone to deposit checks into their accounts anytime and anywhere.
What are the advantages?
Consumers can deposit checks from anywhere with their smartphone and internet access. This avoids the need to visit a bank or ATM.
What is required?
- A bank that allows mobile check deposit
- A smartphone
- An app (usually free) from your bank installed on your smartphone
- A check made out to you and endorsed by you
How does it work?
The smartphone app uses the smartphone’s camera to capture the front and back of an endorsed check. The app sends the images to the bank, which then processes the check normally.
What kind of smartphone can I use?
Generally, apps are developed for either the iPhone or Android devices. This may expand in the future to include Windows phones.
What should I do with the check I cashed with the smartphone app?
Follow the instructions given by your bank. Typically banks will ask that you mark the check as being electronically deposited (either by writing “electronically deposited” on the check or by putting a sticky note on the check). Banks will also ask that you hold onto the check for a short period of time (14-30 days) until the check clears with no errors (example: check bounces). After that period of time, shred or otherwise securely dispose of the check.
How should I endorse my checks?
Follow the instructions given by your bank. Often, banks will require your signature, followed by the phrase “For Deposit Only” and your account number. However, in order to ensure that your check is deposited quickly, follow your bank’s procedure.
If you are endorsing and cashing a large number of checks or you have trouble remembering the instructions, you may want to consider ordering a small custom stamp with the endorsement information required by your bank (without your signature). This reduces the chance for error.
What happens if I make an error endorsing the check?
Your bank will have its own policies, but most banks will require that you either visit a physical branch to deposit the check or that you mail the check to the bank.
What if I don’t have a bank account?
While not available currently, consumers who use prepaid debit cards may soon have the ability to cash checks with their smartphones and have the money deposited onto their prepaid debit cards.
What else can I do with the app on my smartphone?
Often, the bank apps allow customers to pay bills, check balances, and transfer money between accounts. If your bank is associated with a brokerage, you may also be able to place trades.
Please note that these are the policies of individual banks and may not represent the policies of your bank. They are also open to change at any time. They are listed here as possible resources and are not meant to show preference for certain banks.