Why I’m No Longer Afraid to Deposit Checks by Mobile Phone

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Your co-worker, your neighbor, the corner market owner. They all joined the modern world long ago.

For awhile I was reluctant, but I too have gotten hip to the new age.

Yes, I’ve started cashing checks through my smartphone


I resisted the convenience for two big reasons.

First, when the technology debuted, the time from upload to deposit was slow. At least, that was the case when ING Direct, now Capital One 360, first offered CheckMate in 2012.

The bank would make $100 per check available in my account the business day after I made the mobile deposit. The remaining balance on the deposited check became available a week later. And any check for more than $3,000 had to be deposited by mail.

I’m a freelancer writer, and a lot of my clients still pay me in paper checks.

That kind of time between the deposit and when the money became available is unacceptable.

Why jump through these hoops when I could just go to the bank a mile from my house, deposit a check through the ATM and get access to all of my money the next day?

It was the one big reasons I did not make ING Direct my primary bank.

Second, I worried about how secure banking through my phone was. Call me a Luddite, but creating a digital image and sending it into the ether made me uncomfortable, as did using any kind of financial app that would store my banking login information.


What’s Changed?

No Longer Afraid to Deposit Checks

The transaction is now considerably faster. I’ve deposited three checks through the Wells Fargo Mobile app, and all three hit my bank account in full the next business day.

The limit issue hasn’t been fixed, though.

Wells Fargo sets daily deposit limits based on each customer, and mine is $2,000 a day. (That limit is security feature to protect the banks from fraud.)

That’s not great, but if I need to deposit more than $2,000, I can still go to my bank and deposit the check through the ATM.

My security concerns were addressed with a little bit of research. The Wells Fargo app lets you save your username, but it’s not required to use the app. The app also uses 128-bit encryption for any sensitive information.

The pictures of the front and back of the check are not stored on my phone or in a cloud. They’re scans that are destroyed, just like they are taken at my ATM.

I also admit I’ve become less sensitive to these issues as I could have had my credit card information nabbed just by shopping at places like Home Depot or Target.

There’s also strength in numbers. According to a recent American Banker’s Association survey, more than 1 in 8 Americans have deposited a check from a mobile device in the past year.

Of those people, 80% do so at least once a month.

I’m more comfortable being part of that crowd versus an early adopter.

So while mobile deposit won’t be my only way to getting checks into my bank account, it’s a nice option. Cashing checks from my dining room table has never been easier.

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