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Businesses The Almighty Buck

Deposit Checks To Your Bank By Taking a Photo 494

Posted by kdawson
from the ready-for-my-closeup-mister-demille dept.
Pickens writes "The Mercury News reports that consumers will soon be able to deposit a check by snapping a photo of it with a cell phone and transmitting an encrypted copy to their bank. Although some critics contend paperless deposits are an attempt by the banking industry to eliminate 'float,' the standard one- or two-day waiting period between the time someone writes a check and the time the money is actually taken out of their account, actually remote-deposit capture started out as a way for big companies and financial institutions to process huge numbers of checks without having to ship them around the country. 'Our customers are becoming more and more tech-savvy,' said an SVP for mobile banking at Citibank. 'We're trying to support those people on the go.' Although the process adds a new wrinkle to concerns about fraud and the privacy of financial data, banks and the technology companies helping them say they have largely overcome these concerns. Another bank SVP said, 'For many institutions struggling to raise deposits and differentiate, this is an outstanding offering they can roll out inexpensively [note: interstitial]. It's a sticky product.'"
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Deposit Checks To Your Bank By Taking a Photo

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  • Checks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Tuesday March 16, 2010 @08:51AM (#31493950) Journal

    Or what if US just stops using inferior checks and just wires money like rest of the world? It's also possible to even push money in to credit cards directly, in addition to normal bank wires. Checks are insecure, inconvenient and pretty useless in today's electronic world. For non-electronical purposes you can just use cash.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Securityemo (1407943)
      Mod parent up - this suggestion, together with "tech-savy", sounds absolutely retarded when you're used to european instant wire transfers. Who runs the US banking system, stuffy 200-year old vampires?
    • Re:Checks (Score:5, Insightful)

      by realsilly (186931) on Tuesday March 16, 2010 @09:02AM (#31494078)

      Good God, push your money into to credit cards directly? Are you insane? Can you imagine the fees the credit card companies can and would likely impose?

      Your deposit is too small - FEE
      Your deposit is too big - FEE
      Your deposit is greater than your minimum payment we'll just apply your paycheck to what you owe us and here's a Fee for that service - FEE
      Your deposit is not every week - FEE
      We don't like who you work for, they are not in our network - FEE
      Your direct deposit bounced - FEE

      Ok so those are a little crazy, but if you look at what credit card companies employ already, those aren't that far off.

      • by sopssa (1498795) *

        Just saying it's possible. Wire transfer is the normal way and usually doesn't cost anything unless it's an international transfer.

        • Re:Checks (Score:4, Informative)

          by realsilly (186931) on Tuesday March 16, 2010 @09:11AM (#31494190)

          Wire transfers cost $25 a transfer here.

          • So it's no wonder you're trying to keep that cheque-zombie alive!

            $25 for transfering money from account to account? It's rather around 25ct over here! (ok, on average. It's usually more for buissness accounts, but less for personal accounts (usually you get a large enough number of free transactions))

            At most you pay around 1Eur if you dare using actual paper forms for the transactions.

          • by mikeraz (12065)
            But ACH - and it takes a banker to know the difference - is free and happens close to real time.
          • You mean if you want to give your friend $50 for something you owe him/gas money/share of the house bills etc it costs you $25 to transfer the money from your account to his? Or the same if you want to move money from one bank account to another account (held in a different bank) ?

            If this is the case, wow. To be fair I don't know your banking system and maybe where I am (the UK) the bankers make their money some other way but if the above is true, that's brutal. Most people here just transfer money around t

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by rapiddescent (572442)

              The US banking system is basically where we (UK) were in the 1980's. I even saw someone writing a check in a supermarket when I was in the US recently! I haven't written a cheque for many years and, in fact, APACS will be outlawing cheques here in 2012. The US banking system is much more fragmented in the USA and doesn't have the regulatory structure and capital guarantee that UK banks have to have. Some banks only span a few towns (although these are disappearing) and don't have a national presence. T

            • by Jenming (37265) on Tuesday March 16, 2010 @10:35AM (#31495428)

              Internet Banking and Wire Transfers are different things in the US. If I want to pay a bill or transfer money to another person in the US using Internet Banking I can do so for free. Either the money will be transfered electronically using ACH, intrabank transfer or my bank will just write and mail a check to the person.

      • by Aladrin (926209)

        I pay my credit card by logging into my bank's site and clicking 'transfer funds'. It works just like a regular account, except that I can only push money to it, not draw from it.

        This was actually my only criteria for picking my existing bank. I never have to write a check or visit the bank, except the odd instance when I end up with a physical check from someone else. It says a ton of my time. And theirs.

        So yes, some banks might choose to go the fees route that you're outlined above, but at least 1 ban

      • by g0bshiTe (596213)
        You obviously don't bank with Wachovia.
      • by mikeraz (12065)
        As the employee of a large bank that makes ~30% of its income from credit card transaction and processing fees I say: Yeah! Bring it on!
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by apoc.famine (621563)
        You need a better credit card.

        I've got one from my credit union. There are no fees. The intrest rate (not that it often applies to me) is reasonable. I have my paycheck direct deposited, and have the option to automatically funnel some amount of money to my card every month. (Since I pay it off every month, I don't.) When I want to pay, it's three clicks and done.

        And there are no fees. For anything but overdrafts.

        Stop banking with criminals and thieves. It's stupid.
    • Re:Checks (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday March 16, 2010 @09:06AM (#31494116) Homepage

      That would mean forcing the banks to serve the customer instead of the shareholders.

      Are you INSANE???????

      customers are nothing but pests that must be tolerated.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by aicrules (819392)
        I haven't paid by anything other than electronic methods for years now...what bank is screwing you?
        • Re:Checks (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday March 16, 2010 @09:43AM (#31494546) Homepage

          All american ones.

          If I transfer cash to a friend it costs me $25.00 processing fee plus a $15.00 transaction fee.

          This is normal for american banks.

          Granted I could use a credit card and pay interest on that but why should I do that. credit cards are for credit NOT bill payment.

          I still write a check to pay my electric bill because the electric company charges an extra $3.50 for me to pay electronically.

          It's all about screwing the customer, banks love to do that here in the United states. Over in europe they are more restricted when it comes to screwing people.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by jollespm (641870)
            Might want to check out a credit union. They may not have as many ATM locations, but I get free bill pay, ATM fee reimbursement (I get the $2.00 back BoA charges to use their ATM!), and high interest checking from LGECCU. Any fees I do get charged like overdraft, are fairly reasonable compared to a big bank.

            The fact that companies charge you to make electronic payments is criminal. Luckily, Progressive is the only company I deal with that does that to me.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mdwh2 (535323)

          Although useful, and I do often do that myself, it's a long way of replacing cheques in all situations:

          What if I want to give someone money when I don't have an Internet connection? (Similarly with a wire - I can't believe that the OP of this thread thinks going into a bank is easier than just writing out a cheque, although maybe these things have different names in the UK to the US?)

          Or what if I don't have the security keypad device thing that my bank requires me to use? Or I don't have access to the stron

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by sopssa (1498795) *

            What if I want to give someone money when I don't have an Internet connection? (Similarly with a wire - I can't believe that the OP of this thread thinks going into a bank is easier than just writing out a cheque, although maybe these things have different names in the UK to the US?)

            Then you give him cash or tell him you transfer it from your bank account. Wire transfer (or it's closer to ACH I guess) everyone mostly does from Internet now a days. There's no need to go to bank just to transfer money (while it still of course is a possibility)

            Or what if I don't have the security keypad device thing that my bank requires me to use? Or I don't have access to the strong passwords on me at that moment? What if the bank introduces new security measures, and you can't access the website until then (yes, mad as it sounds, Barclays pulled this one on me, when they started requiring the aforementioned keypad device things).

            We use two level one-time pin lists. Other one is running one-time list to login to bank account, and the other one additional list to confirm payments. Secure and easy and there's no need to change it (and I can't understand why US banks don't use

      • Re:Checks (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AndrewNeo (979708) on Tuesday March 16, 2010 @09:24AM (#31494336) Homepage

        This is something I have never understood. Why on earth do normal people use banks when there are credit unions?

        • Re:Checks (Score:5, Interesting)

          by businessnerd (1009815) on Tuesday March 16, 2010 @01:02PM (#31497900)
          As someone who uses both a credit union and a bank, I recently had a discussion with the credit union about switching my checking over to the credit union. My first question was ATM availability and fees. This pretty much decided it. As someone who travels constantly for work, I need ATMs available without fees in most of the country. The credit union had plenty of ATMs where I live, but none outside of that area. While they offered 8 free transactions at out-of-network ATMs, that wasn't good enough for someone who travels weekly. On top of that, the actual ATM fee was higher than what my current bank charges. I don't get reimbursed for ATM fees, so this expense adds up very quickly.

          The other factor was online banking. The credit union's web site is terrible and their online bill pay tools even worse. I pay all of my bills online and even send checks to individuals via the online bill pay (saves the cost of both checks and stamps). Not having decent tools for this is a deal breaker. Granted, the credit union is not all bad. They gave me a very competitive rate on an auto loan, but then at the same time, paying that loan is not as easy as it was when I had a loan with Volkswagen Credit. I hear a lot of people touting the superiority of credit unions over banks, but I have yet to see any evidence of this for my own banking needs.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ircmaxell (1117387)
      Agreed. And with the direct photo taking of checks, you are removing one of the layers of security that they have (the security paper they are printed on)... I wonder how much of an increase in check photoshoping, err I mean forging we'll see...
    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      Anything that would give me an excuse to tell the handful of throwbacks who still insist on paying me with a check that they can't do that anymore would be fine with me. I still have to drive down to the bank every time I deal with anyone over fifty (who seem, with rare exception, genetically INCAPABLE of understanding even the simplest paypal transaction). I hate to think of all the gas I've wasted in the last few years on these people, when the U.S. could move to a much better system (sorry unemployed ban
      • by bigdavex (155746)

        I still have to drive down to the bank every time I deal with anyone over fifty (who seem, with rare exception, genetically INCAPABLE of understanding even the simplest paypal transaction). I hate to think of all the gas I've wasted in the last few years on these people, when the U.S. could move to a much better system (sorry unemployed bank tellers).

        You could mail your deposits to the bank instead of driving.

      • by Skater (41976)
        I use online bill payment for most things, but there is one check I write every month for the electric bill, because the company's online bill payment setup is horrendous, so I don't want to use it. If they ever ask me why, I'll explain the problems with their site and that I use plenty of other sites without a problem.
    • There seem to be different kinds of electronic transfers, but what's referred to as a "wire transfer" by the bank industry can be pretty expensive. It seems like both sides of the transaction get charged for those, the sender gets charged $15 and the recipient gets charged $15. I've had worse too, especially for international transfers, my end cost me $40 on a recent one.

      I do use some kind of electronic bill payment system, I don't know what the technical term is for it, at least it doesn't cost so bloody

    • You can do a wire transfer in the USA... if you pay the additional $25 fee from the bank! I don't understand this policy - I would guess it requires many more resources and expenses to process a paper check.

      I'm quite surprised people still use checks, however I'm stuck using them for one specific case. I only use a check to pay my rent because the company that runs my apartment charges a $5 fee for electronic rent payments which I refuse to pay.
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Checks are insecure, inconvenient and pretty useless in today's electronic world? Are you daft? Nothing is more secure than a check, debit cards are too convenient, and checks serve me well. In fact, I only use checks and cash since an experience a few years ago.

      Some checks and my debit card were stolen by someone who had watched me type in the PIN number, and drained my checking account. The signature on the checks were obvious forgeries, and the bank made good on them. The debit card withdrawals, however,

      • The debit card withdrawals, however, I had to eat, since if someone has your PIN they are automatically authorized to use the card. Even withdrawls made after I reported it stolen!

        It seems very unusual that they’d honour transactions made after the card was reported stolen... or even process them. That reeks of gross incompetence; the card should have been electronically canceled immediately; the first ATM they stuck the stolen card in should have just eaten the card. If you could prove that you reported it stolen before the transactions, they would have to refund your money. No question.

        In any case, the first thing I’d do on a stolen debit card, after hearing of your exp

    • by Urza9814 (883915)

      I've never actually _written_ a check, but I've had to deposit tons of them. For most things I prefer to use cash, and if I don't have the cash on me I use my debit card. But checks have the advantage that they can be sent safely through the mail. Also, checks don't require knowing an account number or anything. For example, my university mails out a check if you get any charges refunded. Which is great. There really is no other option there, short of requiring every student give out their bank information

    • by hacker (14635)

      Checks are insecure, inconvenient and pretty useless in today's electronic world. For non-electronical purposes you can just use cash.

      And what happens when systems go down? Power goes out? Electronic transactions are blocked/denied/lost for any reason? What then?

      No, no, I'm afraid paper money (currency, checks, notes) will be here to stay, for many, many decades to come.

  • Cheques? (Score:3, Funny)

    by unixcrab (1080985) on Tuesday March 16, 2010 @08:51AM (#31493966)
    Those are those paper thingies that nobody seems to accept these days aren't they?
    • I wonder if my iPhone will be able to get a good enough picture of the giant check I'll get when I finally win the lottery?
  • by Pojut (1027544) on Tuesday March 16, 2010 @08:54AM (#31493984) Homepage

    Just what I want on my cell phone...a picture of a piece of paper that has my checking account number and bank routing number on it. ::eye roll::

    • by Lev13than (581686) on Tuesday March 16, 2010 @08:58AM (#31494020) Homepage
      Just what I want on my cell phone...a picture of a piece of paper that has my checking account number and bank routing number on it. ::eye roll::

      Everyone you have ever given a cheque to already has your account number, bank routing number and home address. Despite the little lock watermark and "micro-printing", cheques are 100% non-secure and should be treated as such. At least the iPhone has a four-digit password to protect it...
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Pojut (1027544)

        I have a checkbook that I got from my bank when I opened my first checking account when I turned 16 (almost 10 years ago)...and every one of those checks are still attatched to their little booklets:-)

      • by OzPeter (195038)

        Everyone you have ever given a cheque to already has your account number, bank routing number and home address. Despite the little lock watermark and "micro-printing", cheques are 100% non-secure and should be treated as such. At least the iPhone has a four-digit password to protect it...

        Its not that the checks are currently not secure - its the element of collecting the data electronically and punting the information around additional networks.

        • by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday March 16, 2010 @09:10AM (#31494172) Homepage

          checks are supposed to have magnetic ink for the MICR code on the bottom.. Problem is that buying a drum of magnetic toner to print fake checks is trivial. and with scumbag companies like quicken selling blank check paper to anyone, you have a super easy way of faking checks with a $30.00 used laser printer and a $100.00 thowaway computer.

          Shit scan someone signature and you can completely fake the check in gimp without effort.

          Paper checks needed to be done away with 50 years ago, the greedy banks simple dont want to do wire transfers for free to each other, they love being able to rape their customers with those made-up fees.

      • by knarf (34928)

        iPhone?

        Why on earth did you have to mention that thing in your posting?

        If this continues I suggest a corollary to Godwin's law: mention anything fruity out of context and you're out of the game.

    • by OzPeter (195038)

      Just what I want on my cell phone...a picture of a piece of paper that has my checking account number and bank routing number on it. ::eye roll::

      You forgot about the second pic of the back side of the check that also has your signature on it - nothing could ever go wrong with that, even thought TFA assures that the images will be encrypted when sent.

    • by jittles (1613415) on Tuesday March 16, 2010 @09:06AM (#31494114)
      USAA Bank app for the iPhone already lets you do this. You don't actually save the image to your phone, it is stored in RAM and then immediately transmitted over the air to the bank servers (hopefully encrypted but who knows?).
  • Checks! (Score:5, Funny)

    by OzPeter (195038) on Tuesday March 16, 2010 @08:54AM (#31493986)

    Another technology where the US is the world leader!

    Go USA! Go USA!

  • by Not-a-Neg (743469) * on Tuesday March 16, 2010 @08:56AM (#31494006)

    USAA has offered "Deposit@Home" for years. Instead of taking a photo you can just scan the check and upload it. The only problem is they require you to have a credit card with them as well to qualify for the service. Hopefully, if other banks offer this service for free than USAA will change that policy. I hate having to mail in checks and sit around for two weeks waiting for them to deposit it.

    • I hate having to mail in checks and sit around for two weeks waiting for them to deposit it.

      Typically if you make the deposit at an ATM or branch location it doesn’t take nearly as long. I can’t imagine why I’d want to mail a check for deposit.

      US Bank, on the other hand, puts a 5 or 7 day hold on all checks over $5,000, which is stupid and I hate it.

      • by Pojut (1027544)

        All of the ATMs that the bank I belong to operates (Chevy Chase bank...somewhat local bank here in Maryland) can accept straight up cash or a signed check without needing to put it in an envelope...the money is available in your account right then and there (unless it's a Sunday and you are depositing a check...if you deposit cash in one of their ATMs, even on Sunday, it's available instantly.)

        • by Brandee07 (964634)

          The problem lies when you move away from MD, where there aren't Chevy Chases. You can withdraw from any ATM (for a fee), but have fun trying to deposit a check to your Chevy Chase account at a WaMu ATM. In this case, your only options are to switch banks or to mail in your checks.

          So, I gladly welcome the ability to scan checks in. Right now, USAA is the only bank I know of doing it, and they only have one branch, but service military personnel and families all across the country. My bank, SECU, has a total

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by vekrander (1400525)

        The only reason for mailing here is that USAA doesn't have physical branches in every state but is still available there. Of course to remedy that you can deposit@home with a scanner as I have for two years without any issues. Also, they credit your account instantly as well. Then when you need to go to an ATM and you get charged fees for using one that isn't in your banks network, they pay fee on your behalf. Overall, I would rate them very successful as far as doing everything I used to do at my physi

    • by mahsah (1340539)

      Some credit unions offer this service as well; I'm using Alliant Credit union's eDepositplus and its working great. You just need to donate to a PTA or certain charities to join, not hard at all.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by japhering (564929)

      USAA has offered "Deposit@Home" for years. Instead of taking a photo you can just scan the check and upload it. The only problem is they require you to have a credit card with them as well to qualify for the service. Hopefully, if other banks offer this service for free than USAA will change that policy. I hate having to mail in checks and sit around for two weeks waiting for them to deposit it.

      USAA has been offering services via cell phone including check deposits for better than a year now. Everything yo

  • by TheDawgLives (546565) <http://www...suckitdown...org> on Tuesday March 16, 2010 @08:57AM (#31494012) Homepage Journal
    I've been doing this for months using USAA's iPhone app. When I showed my mom, she went out and got an iPhone and started using it. Before that I used their deposit@home service to scan checks on my computer. Beats driving to the bank just to deposit a check.
  • by yog (19073) * on Tuesday March 16, 2010 @08:58AM (#31494028) Homepage Journal

    USAA lets me scan a check for instant deposit using a Windows browser, a Java applet and an attached scanner.

    I'm a Linux kind of guy and, sadly, I have not found a way to make it work on my Ubuntu and Suse systems. But, it works great with my Windows laptop and it's simply the next best thing to direct deposit.

    Obviously, a good secure app for smartphones (hopefully one is coming soon for Android but they've only announced for iPhone so far) will be a step beyond the scanner approach.

    I kind of like the idea that someone hands me a check, and by the time they have closed their briefcase I have already made the deposit. No more canceling. It would be interesting to see if they can determine whether the check is good or not, and send instant feedback.

    The next step is going to be depositing cash. I would love to be able to quickly scan my cash into my account, and then tear up the paper money (honors system). Hmm; gotta think that one through a bit more.

    • by loafula (1080631)
      USAA has both an iPhone and Android app. The android app requires OS version 1.6, so it won't run on an Eris unless you upgrade to 2.1 with the leaked firmware. I don't have the link handy, but it's somewhere in here http://androidforums.com/htc-droid-eris/ [androidforums.com]
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by spvo (955716)
      Almost all the checks I cash are rebates, which USAA's applet can't handle, so I have to mail everything in anyway. But I did manage to get it working with linux. All I had to do was change my useragent string (useragent plug-in) to firefox on a mac and it will just prompt you to upload the jpeg image of your check.
  • I hate cheques! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bsDaemon (87307) on Tuesday March 16, 2010 @08:58AM (#31494030)
    First off, why would people be critical of eliminating float?! This is the worst part of using cheques -- sort of like making a "credit" purchase on a debit card. If I'm paying someone, I want them to take the money out of my account NOW so that my balance updates immediately. Of course, no one really takes cheques anyway except for leasing offices and the like -- people who know where you live without a shadow of a doubt. I only ever write cheques for my leasing office, which is why I'm still on the same box I've had since I was 18... which reminds me, I sort of need to get some more.
    • "sort of like making a "credit" purchase on a debit card"

      But isn't it harder to dispute a debit charge since the money is long gone by the time you notice the errant charge? With credit you can look over the charges before you pay and dispute anything suspicious.

      • by bsDaemon (87307)
        why can't we just have a better form of authenticating purchases and skip the whole waiting period?
    • by Lev13than (581686)
      First off, why would people be critical of eliminating float?!

      Float is a critical feature for the one segment that still relies on paper cheques - small business. Many, many small businesses would go bankrupt if they lost the ability to float their suppliers' payments. If you eliminate float on the way in (require payment via cash/debit/credit) this can easily equate to an interest-free loan worth several thousand dollars. Canada is a lot further ahead than the the US in the elimination of paper cheques
  • by badger.foo (447981) <peter@bsdly.net> on Tuesday March 16, 2010 @09:01AM (#31494068) Homepage
    In Europe, checks are rare if not extinct, for something like the last 10 years at least. Direct transfers (IBAN) or similar just work and most people here do their banking mainly online anyhow.

    Most likely you could talk your bank here into issuing a check for you if you ask them nicely, but it would almost certainly be more expensive than a straight electronic transfer.

    On the other hand, somebody likely had fun and made a modest amount of money developing that check scannin app, so the effort I guess is not totally wasted.

    • by Brandee07 (964634)

      Checks are largely dead in the US as well, at least for personal use. I write exactly one check a month, for rent, and that's because I rent from a nice old lady, not a business, and nice old ladies rarely have merchant accounts set up to receive credit card payments.

      However, in my work at a small business that does a lot of work for other small businesses, perhaps 90% of the invoices we send out are paid by check.

  • The bankers say they want to eliminate "float" while using the float scam on their customers. They do all their internal transactions electronically, yet when you deposit a check it is the next day or longer before your money is available. Meanwhile they're collecting interest on YOUR money.

    I deposited my tax return this year, and was not able to access the funds later that afternoon, although they were profiting. I had to wait until the next day to get my money; meanwhile they collected interest.

    The banker

    • by jimicus (737525)

      The bankers call "float" a scam, are all bankers scam artists?

      I think events of the last couple of years make the answer to that fairly obvious.

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      The bankers call "float" a scam, are all bankers scam artists?

      without a doubt, yes. That is one solid fact of life, rule 1 about life. NEVER EVER trust your bank, always look at them with distrust. The ONLY person you can trust with your money is you.

  • by tomalpha (746163) * on Tuesday March 16, 2010 @09:05AM (#31494108)

    I mean this as a genuine question: why is the US so far behind Europe in this?

    I haven't seen a cheque in years. Is it too expensive to move everyone over to electronic transfers (surely it's cheaper to get rid of cheque processing)? Too difficult to change the habits of a large population quickly? Concerns about fraud? Plain unwillingness to change? It can't be the recent banking crisis because we had that too...

    • by cyn1c77 (928549) on Tuesday March 16, 2010 @09:10AM (#31494164)

      I mean this as a genuine question: why is the US so far behind Europe in this?

      I have an answer for you in the form of another question: Is the US actually ahead of Europe in any aspect of life?

      (And I am asking that as an American.)

      • by Deag (250823)

        Actually existing as a country.

        Often when people say in Europe they mean their corner of it, or one country. Often the comparison is the US system against the best of > 30 different ones.

      • by Pro777 (90089) on Tuesday March 16, 2010 @09:55AM (#31494712)

        There is definitely one. Free public bathrooms.

    • > I mean this as a genuine question: why is the US so far behind Europe in
      > this?

      Because the USA was far ahead of adopting cheques to begin with.

      Wire transfers are readily available here but I rarely use them. Why should I?

      • I really don't understand this.

        Everybody used to use cheques here (UK) but they are now almost completely replaced by plastic and bank transfers.

        Why? Because people prefer carrying plastic than cheque books. Because people hate having to pay them in. Because cheques bounce. Because banks charge businesses to both write and receive cheques. Because there is a greater chance of fraud. Because it takes around three days for the money to arrive in your account and even then it is not guaranteed to have cleared.

    • Another poster stated fees of $25 for transfering money.

      I'd stick to sending those clumsy paper forms too...

    • In Canada one can do Interac email transfers for amounts up to $999.99. Actually there is no limit, but hit $1000 and the bank 'loss prevention department' may freeze your account. This service has been available for many years. I also pay all my bills online, except for rent - that is the only service that wants cheques. Then of course, there is also Paypal... In the USA, similar services should be available, but they are always technologically behind the curve. Somehow Amerikins always think that th
    • I don't know about Europe, but in the US banks eat the cost for someone vacuuming out a personal account. Businesses are on their own, however. See Krebs on Security [krebsonsecurity.com] for fun details.

    • by tgd (2822)

      I write checks for two things: paying my water bill, and paying for heating oil. Both are a pain in the ass, but cities in the US are crushed for money these days, and upgrading IT infrastructure loses. The oil companies, it seems, don't want to take the 2% hit in the cost of the oil.

      The only time I ever receive a check is when a friend is paying me back, and frankly there just isn't any other good option other than the near crooks at Paypal.

      There have been banks accepting home deposits of checks for a good

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 16, 2010 @09:08AM (#31494140)

    I have had this option with usaa.com for almost a year now, and it's GREAT. As for the photo, it is NOT saved in your phone, ever. Once the bank accepts the images, it instructs you to write VOID on the check and shredd it. Quite nice to be able to drop a check in within minutes of receiving it, and use it too!

  • by oddaddresstrap (702574) on Tuesday March 16, 2010 @09:11AM (#31494186)

    I hardly ever use checks these days. Can I just take a picture of some cash and deposit it instead?

  • ...or even SAW one, was in 1997. And that was in the 19th century country Ireland. I really didn't think anybody still used checks.
  • old news? (Score:5, Informative)

    by horatio (127595) on Tuesday March 16, 2010 @09:17AM (#31494242)
    You can already do this at USAA Bank. My sister has had this option for a few years now. USAA has recently added the ability to snap a photo and make a deposit from your iPhone.
  • Digital Credit Union (Score:4, Interesting)

    by self assembled struc (62483) on Tuesday March 16, 2010 @09:17AM (#31494248) Homepage

    Not only do you get some sort of possible bizzare nerd cred for using DEC's old credit union, but just like USAA, you've been able to deposit via check for about 3 years now. Sure DCU has no snazzy iPhone app, but, damned if i've ever lived near one of their banks in my lifetime.

  • As much as this raises privacy concerns, it's a good step towards eliminating paper check processing. Everyone knows checks are pretty much things of the past - most people in the current generation pay all their commercial bills with electronic paymens. Only person-to-person debt settlements or gifts are done through checks by anyone under 35 or so. Remote deposit capture has been around in large businesses forever, and is even more prevalent with Check 21 now.

    Checks are old-fashioned, but what can replace

    • Uhmm, you don't have something like Interac Email funds transfer in the USA? You probaby do have it, but just don't know about it.
  • by WyrdOne (96731) on Tuesday March 16, 2010 @09:24AM (#31494342)

    We are in the process of rolling out this same sort of program at our company as well (as I've been building about a dozen servers to support it). We've had the ability to deposit by mail for ages and this is the next logical step.

    With most of our userbase being military and deployed to locations where they cannot access any branch services at all. Our userbase has become tech savvy enough to support a system like this. The largest impediment to implementing a system like this has been having the tech easy enough to use a "non-geek" can perform the tasks necessary without needing a large amount of training.

    To those saying "What if I want to deposit counterfit checks". Well several systems are in place to prevent or at least mitigate that damage. You are only allowed to deposit up to a certain amount via the system (and have funds immediately accessible), the checks are processed real-time and won't be accepted without several validity checks passing and the account money is being collected from also happens as close to real-time as possible. Remember, just cause you deposit a check doesn't mean it can't bounce, that money is not truely in your account until funds are transferred from the check writers account. If you have those funds available for use immediately, it's because your financial institution trusts you to now deposit bad checks.

    The the comment above about "great, just what I want, images of checks on my phone". The application itself handles taking the photo and no local copy is retained on the phone after the process is completed. (The image of the check is still available on the company's servers for review just like if you mailed in checks or deposited them via our branches.)

  • It is about the cryptographic signing. Finally banks understand that cryptography offer better proofs than hand signatures ! It was about *ucking time !
  • Say that company X issues a check to a Mr. Victor Timothy, who we'll refer to is VicTim, for short.
    So, all I need to do is take a photo of VicTim's check, and I photo-deposit it into my account, Then VicTim deposits the paper check into his account, it gets rejected for already having been processed, and it is left to him to fight it out with the company and his bank?

    My how crime has evolved...

  • Our customers are becoming more and more tech-savvy

    Then why the hell are they still using checks?

    This is like adding a tow package to the front of your car so you can pull it with a team of sled dogs.

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