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Deposit Checks By iPhone

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the bad-day-to-be-a-bank-teller dept.

Input Devices 293

kaychoro writes to mention that at least one privately held bank is planning on removing a little bit more legwork for the consumer by allowing the electronic submission of paper checks via a new iPhone app. The app would allow users to take a picture of the front and back of the check and submit that to the depository. "Customers will not have to mail the check to the bank later; the deposit will be handled entirely electronically, and the bank suggests voiding the check and filing or discarding it. But to reduce the potential for fraud, only customers who are eligible for credit and have some type of insurance through USAA will be permitted to use the deposit feature. Mr. Peacock said that about 60 percent of the bank's customers qualify."

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293 comments

Checks (5, Funny)

arth1 (260657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29012491)

Some countries still use personal cheques? How quaint!

Re:Checks (1)

SigILL (6475) | more than 4 years ago | (#29012509)

Indeed, I've been able to do this for about 10 years already. I don't think I even have cheques anymore. Heck, I don't even think my *bank* has paper cheques anymore.

Re:Checks (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29012601)

A few years ago, when AdSense was brand spanking new, I cashed my first cheque.
The cheque was for $210 or so, of which my bank kept a $50 processing fee.

It also took them roughly five minutes to figure out how to handle a cheque.

Luckily, subsequent cheques were a few thousand dollars each, so the $50 fee didn't hurt too much.
I'd be amazed if there's a bank office here that handles more than one cheque per day.

Location: obviously somewhere in Europe.

Re:Checks (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013325)

A few years ago, when AdSense was brand spanking new, I cashed my first cheque.
The cheque was for $210 or so, of which my bank kept a $50 processing fee.

Luckily, subsequent cheques were a few thousand dollars each

I had no idea you could get that kind of loot from Adsense, and my first guess was you were referring to Zimbabwe dollars, where you get a trillion to one us $.

Location: obviously somewhere in Europe.

Re:Checks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29012949)

Gah, my landlord takes cash or cheques *only*. It's the only reason I ever got a chequebook. When a payment is late I try to hint that this wouldn't have happened if they'd just let me pay online.

Re:Checks (3, Informative)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013249)

If you don't have 12 paper cheques around here, you can't get a lease. Need them to set up direct deposit of your pay, need them to set up direct deposit for your health insurance, need them for all sorts of things.

Re:Checks (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#29012629)

Here I was thinking that ONLY old people wrote checks.

I'm amazed that only 60% of the check writing public are members of AARP.

Re:Checks (2, Insightful)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 4 years ago | (#29012669)

I'm pretty sure that the IRS and the various state treasuries still issue more checks each year than old people.

Re:Checks (5, Funny)

spoilsportmotors (1251392) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013155)

Probably, considering that I couldn't get my state treasury to issue a single old person. Stupid economy.

Re:Checks (1)

sbeckstead (555647) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013539)

The mailing budget must be huge on those old people it is issuing. Cheaper to produce them the old fashioned way I bet.

Re:Checks (2, Interesting)

Markemp (562755) | more than 4 years ago | (#29012829)

Renters generally still pay their rent with checks. That and the occasional random bill from a service company that you get through the mail. Checks still have their place, although I generally pay everything online these days.

Re:Checks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29012853)

It's USAA not AARP. USAA = United States Auto Association.

Re:Checks (4, Insightful)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 4 years ago | (#29012959)

Some people like having a physical record that they paid something

Re:Checks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29013085)

You mean like a bank statement?

Bank disputes (4, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013169)

Some people like having a physical record that they paid something

You mean like a bank statement?

In that case, some people like having a physical record that they paid something that they can use in disputes with a bank.

Re:Checks (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013003)

In your country, do contractors and repair people carry plastic card terminals around with them?

Re:Checks (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013267)

In your country, do contractors and repair people carry plastic card terminals around with them?

No, but they take PayPal payments on their web sites.

Re:Checks (2, Informative)

arth1 (260657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013381)

In your country, do contractors and repair people carry plastic card terminals around with them?

No, they hand you a bill with a giro attached to it. You then either add your account number to the debit side of the giro, sign it and take it (or mail it) to your bank, or pay electronically to the account number listed on the credit side of the giro.

In either case, there's no artificial "hold" time (which is a lame excuse for excessive float) -- the recipient gets the money immediately, as the transfer is initiated from the payer, not the payee.

I believe the Scandinavian countries abolished cheques back in the early 90s (along with pagers and cassette tapes), and most of Europe is now cheque free.

Re:Checks (2, Informative)

teg (97890) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013503)

In your country, do contractors and repair people carry plastic card terminals around with them?

No, you get the bill and pay with giro [wikipedia.org] . These are almost exclusively handled electronically these days - although earlier mailing them in was common. Or delivering them to the bank. Cheques haven't been used here in Norway since the early eighties. Some delivery services (packages, pizza, ...) have portable terminals, though.

Funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29012499)

What would REALLY be a laugh would be if Apple deletes this app from the App Store. If they do that the way they normally do, it will be without explanation and without appeal. I'd like to see how it turns out if they try that against someone with clout like a bank.

App Store Approval Process? (1)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 4 years ago | (#29012589)

What would REALLY be a laugh would be if Apple deletes this app from the App Store. If they do that the way they normally do, it will be without explanation and without appeal. I'd like to see how it turns out if they try that against someone with clout like a bank.

I'd be interested to watch the progress. The Bank of America app flew right through apparently. Now only if theirs was more useful, I'd use it.

Re:Funny (4, Informative)

Amouth (879122) | more than 4 years ago | (#29012923)

USAA is a hell of alot larger than just a bank..

This concept isn't new - I'm a USAA member.. (USAA member ship is restricted to Armed Forces and their Dependants (used to be Only Officers int he Armed Forces)) From the start several years ago (8-9) when they opened the Banking part of USAA they allowed Check deposit via a Scanner or via Fax.

the idea of using an IPhone app is no big deal as it's a decent res camera.. and they already have the check image processing software in place (to handle the fax and scans)..

I've never used them for banking.. BUT for insurance.. they are by far the best i've ever seen

Re:Funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29013065)

USAA is a hell of alot larger than just a bank..

This concept isn't new - I'm a USAA member.. (USAA member ship is restricted to Armed Forces and their Dependants (used to be Only Officers int he Armed Forces)) From the start several years ago (8-9) when they opened the Banking part of USAA they allowed Check deposit via a Scanner or via Fax.

the idea of using an IPhone app is no big deal as it's a decent res camera.. and they already have the check image processing software in place (to handle the fax and scans)..

I've never used them for banking.. BUT for insurance.. they are by far the best i've ever seen

actually, anyone can have an account with USAA, but some of the features (like electronic check deposit) are available to service members only.

Re:Funny (1)

locnar42 (591631) | more than 4 years ago | (#29012963)

Normally I wouldn't say that a bank has a lot of clout, but considering that USAA happens to be "the" bank of the United States military...

Re:Funny (1)

sbeckstead (555647) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013589)

A bank has very little clout with Apple. Unless they hold a significant amount of Apple stock or Apple loans (which Apple has almost none).

Interesting... (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29012523)

I was involved in a conversion to "Check Imaging" (take a picture of all of the checks, so you don't have to physically sort all of the originals into customer statements) back in the 90's. Now some banks are going a step past that and having the customer take the image.

I wonder how much "reverse fraud" is possible with this? I take a picture of a $1000 check, and the person who wrote the check says "hey, wait a minute! I only wrote that check for $100, the person who cashed it faked that image!"

I think if I ever cashed checks that way, I'd keep the originals in my firebox for a couple of months so I could produce the original check if there were any questions.

Re:Interesting... (2, Interesting)

jandrese (485) | more than 4 years ago | (#29012819)

My guess is when the other guys calls his bank to complain, they call your bank, and then your bank asks you to present the check as proof. They then analyze the check for forgery and throw you in jail if they find any. Pretty similar to what they do to people who write in numbers on checks currently and try to change the value line.

Re:Interesting... (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013335)

I imagine so. That's why I'd file the original safely away until well after it has cleared, rather than voiding and/or destroying it immediately.

Re:Interesting... (2, Insightful)

rm999 (775449) | more than 4 years ago | (#29012943)

"I wonder how much "reverse fraud" is possible with this? I take a picture of a $1000 check, and the person who wrote the check says 'hey, wait a minute! I only wrote that check for $100, the person who cashed it faked that image!'"

I'm confused, in your scenario who is committing the crime? I see problems either way. If it is the person who wrote the check, there is still an image of the check. So if the check says "One thousand dollars" on it, he's out of luck - he can't claim it said 100.

If the person who is scanning the check modifies it, not only is he committing a crime, he is risking his credit rating. It's easy to get caught too - I think about half the people I know who write checks have carbon copies of their checks, and almost all businesses have electronics copies. Anyway, it's possible to modify checks as it is, that crime is nothing new.

Re:Interesting... (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013417)

Right, I was referring to the following scenario:

You write me a check for $1000. I cash it, as is, for the agreed-upon $1000 face value. I wait a couple of weeks for the check to clear, then destroy the check.

When your statement arrives, you call your bank, feigning offense, and claim that the check was for $100 and that I've obviously altered the check or the image before submitting it. Since I destroyed the original check, I have no way of proving that you wrote the check for $1000 originally.

Which is why I'd be sure to keep the original check in my grimy paws if I ever decided to use an application like this. :)

Re:Interesting... (1)

hax0r_this (1073148) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013497)

If it is the person who wrote the check, there is still an image of the check.

Right, but the person who wrote the check is claiming the image is faked. They can intentionally not keep a carbon copy, or better yet just make sure the last 0 doesn't go on the carbon copy. The only evidence the bank has of a check for $1,000 is an easily faked image submitted by the customer. Everything else says it was a check for $100.

Of course the same thing applies to a real check...

Re:Interesting... (2, Informative)

Otto (17870) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013121)

USAA and a few other banks have been doing this for ages.

I know that USAA in particular already has a system that lets users scan checks themselves with a PC and a scanner, and then can deposit the check via email or the website or what have you, simply by sending the image file to them.

So the only thing interesting here is really a) they're going to do it via an iPhone app, and b) the iPhone picture quality is now considered good enough for this sort of thing.

Oh God Make It Stop (-1, Offtopic)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#29012549)

When I voted for Obama, I voted for change. Not the kind that jingles in the purse pocket of the 90 year old lady standing in front of me at the Piggly Wiggly searching for her checkbook in her handbag. I understand that we probably can't leave these grannies without their paper checks, but at some point, probably during the Obama administration, a bunch of them will die off. We should use that as an opportunity to do away with checks completely.

Electronic bank transfer is where it's at. Paperless society. Swipe and go at the grocery store.

Please Mr. Obama, implement real change. Get rid of checks.

Re:Oh God Make It Stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29012575)

When I voted for Obama, I voted for change. Not the kind that jingles in the purse pocket of the 90 year old lady standing in front of me at the Piggly Wiggly searching for her checkbook in her handbag. I understand that we probably can't leave these grannies without their paper checks, but at some point, probably during the Obama administration, a bunch of them will die off. We should use that as an opportunity to do away with checks completely.

Electronic bank transfer is where it's at. Paperless society. Swipe and go at the grocery store.

Please Mr. Obama, implement real change. Get rid of checks.

you're aware that the US government can't abolish checks, right?

Re:Oh God Make It Stop (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29012987)

When I voted for Obama, I voted for change. Not the kind that jingles in the purse pocket of the 90 year old lady standing in front of me at the Piggly Wiggly searching for her checkbook in her handbag. I understand that we probably can't leave these grannies without their paper checks, but at some point, probably during the Obama administration, a bunch of them will die off. We should use that as an opportunity to do away with checks completely.

Electronic bank transfer is where it's at. Paperless society. Swipe and go at the grocery store.

Please Mr. Obama, implement real change. Get rid of checks.

you're aware that the US government can't abolish checks, right?

They don't have the Constitutional authority for the War on (some) Drugs (particularly the asset forfeiture laws) or the bank bailouts or the Federal Reserve or warrentless wiretaps or detaining citizens without charges and due process or collusion with ATT either. Those were stopped by a lack of authority, right?

Re:Oh God Make It Stop (1)

Guse (1283076) | more than 4 years ago | (#29012659)

*This* is why you voted for Obama? I'm not sure this is the kind of change he had in mind... I think he was talking about more the "government as usual" type of change, not "I'll make your every fantasy come true" kind (although, admittedly, he did all but say that during the campaign). Me? I don't want a paperless society. I prefer to pay in cash for things (no, not a check card) and use the credit card only when I have no choice. I use checks to pay for services for the house like appliance repair, contractors, etc. I like it this way and can't see any reason to switch. Heck, I'd make the argument that my way of doing it is *less* prone to fraud than all electronic. You use your check card and leave my cash and checks alone.

Re:Oh God Make It Stop (5, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#29012695)

*This* is why you voted for Obama?

This and the unicorns.

Re:Oh God Make It Stop (2, Informative)

Guse (1283076) | more than 4 years ago | (#29012847)

Those were an important platform.

I have to admit that my sarcasmometer was registering at 50/50. I couldn't figure out if you were being facetious or not. This leads me to believe you were, so I'm sorry.

P.S. Why did Chrome's spell-checker accept "sarcasmometer"? Does this exist? Can I get one?

Re:Oh God Make It Stop (1)

rednip (186217) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013091)

*This* is why you voted for Obama?

Actually, scanning checks locally has been a feature for a number of people who accept checks for a number of years now, but hey why not take any opportunity to whine about Obama. No really, please do, as in the end your just betting against the American worker.

Re:Oh God Make It Stop (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#29012849)

Take the checks away from the old ladies and they'll still be wasting the line's time digging through their purse full of change and coupons or arguing with the cashier about being charged 27 cents more because they read the wrong price tag.

Instead ask for an end to bonuses for store managers (and other corporate trough-feeders) as rewards for keeping payrolls low. Then the people in line will have another line to checkout when some tremulous, bitchy old bag cries and moans and makes the cashier call somebody else to go check the warehouse for more Depends [depend.com] . And 40 people won't have to be fistfucked through 2 lines during peak hours.

Surprisingly enough, my experience in retail has taught me that the best, most polite customers are Hispanics and blacks. The worst customers are stinky, filthy Indians and Arabs who will load up shopping carts full of shit and either leave them in the store or toss out items 1 by 1 when they get all the way to the damn check-out line. Asians and Jews are awful because they are pushy, picky assholes with chalkboard-screech voices. I had to deal with a kike schvitzing about how the menorahs in my store were made in China. Cripples are also assholes, but they are that way because God hates assholes and punishes them accordingly. And old people, of course, are always no fun.

Re:Oh God Make It Stop (1)

Tanispyre (690330) | more than 4 years ago | (#29012947)

Keep Cheques. Get rid of Cash. Nothing erks me more that "cash only" establishments. If you are too cheap to buy a card reader than you should take my cheque. Cash is for crooks and tax evaders.

Re:Oh God Make It Stop (3, Informative)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013005)

That and people who want to buy things as anonymously as possible, cash is still the only real anonymous payment method left.

As per cash only places, they may very well be cash only to avoid having to pay sales tax, which in certain places in the world(ie Europe), ends up being a lot of money.

Re:Oh God Make It Stop (0, Troll)

Tanispyre (690330) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013127)

Like I said. Cash only is the realm of crooks and tax evaders

Re:Oh God Make It Stop (1)

Markemp (562755) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013425)

And the government doesn't want the competition?

Not all sales are performed at establishments (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013245)

Nothing erks me more that "cash only" establishments. If you are too cheap to buy a card reader than you should take my cheque. Cash is for crooks and tax evaders.

Not all sales are performed at "establishments". For instance, an individual holding a yard sale might not make enough to cover the cost of a merchant account and terminal.

Re:Oh God Make It Stop (4, Informative)

An Ominous Cow Erred (28892) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013377)

"Cash only" establishments are just trying to get by.

They're not evading taxes, they're avoiding the service charge that Visa/Mastercard charges them on every transaction. In most businesses profit margins are very small, and the extra 5%-10% that the credit card companies skim off the transaction (particularly on small purchased) can eat up the entire profit.

Many businesses depend on cash customers because they make zero profit on credit card customers -- they just accept credit cards to increase their volume so to bring overall costs down, and hope and pray that they get enough cash customers to make a profit.

You know that "cash back" that credit card companies give you on each purchase? They're just giving you a cut of the money that they're wringing out of the merchant.

Re:Oh God Make It Stop (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013527)

Keep Cheques. Get rid of Cash. Nothing erks me more that "cash only" establishments. If you are too cheap to buy a card reader than you should take my cheque.

There is some risk involved in taking a check. Assuming the piece of paper is in fact legitimate, one has no way of knowing if the account has enough funds or if the account is even open. There is much less risk when using cash or electronic payments.

Plus, retailers that want to reduce the risk of fraud will require customers to present valid government issued photo identification when paying with a check - and this is very time consuming for cashiers to verify. It is especially annoying when people use checks in the express checkout lane.

Re:Oh God Make It Stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29013613)

I've noticed that "cash only" places seem to be a lot cheaper than ones that take CC. For me - it's worth it.

Re:Oh God Make It Stop (1)

ksheff (2406) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013535)

Cash has a place. Do you write a check to a kid to mow your lawn, buy something at a yard sale, or when giving a random tip? Cash can be easy to manage too if one is using the 'envelope system' for household budgeting - you can't accidentally spend more than you've decided at the outset because when the envelope is empty, you're done for that pay period. This is important if one has a spouse that as the "I have a checkbook/debit card, so that means I can buy w/o thinking" mindset.

If the 'cash only' businesses are too cheap to pay for a card reader and the associated transaction charges, they are also probably too cheap to want to pay bank charges for check deposits. Although there are some costs to taking cash (employee theft and possibly a need for an armored car pickup for bank deposits), it's easy to quickly set up shop (ex: flea markets). Some cash only businesses take advantage of some people who prefer cards by installing ATMs at their location and get a cut of the ATM fees.

Re:Oh God Make It Stop (1)

oh_bugger (906574) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013345)

I LOVE Piggly Wiggly!

State of the art (2, Interesting)

mlgm (61962) | more than 4 years ago | (#29012593)

Taking a picture of a paper check really sounds like state of the art in electronic banking :-).

Living in Europe, the last time I used a check was maybe 10 years ago.

Re:State of the art (0)

Shados (741919) | more than 4 years ago | (#29012685)

Europe or not, changes little, if you thought you were so far ahead in technology (at least for this). The only times I've used checks myself in the last 2 decades is to setup direct deposit with an employer (I could just give them my numbers, but I had the check laying around), and when I had to pay rent to a landlord that still does things old school.

But there's lots of market segments that will require paper trail for certain types of transfers, so even in europe, there's a lot of checks going around, just not between individuals.

Re:State of the art (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29013279)

I call bullshit.
I haven't seen a European check since the 1980's, and have had to deal with payments in half the countries of the EU. Every payment that needs a paper trail is done through a bank transfer, usually with an IBAN-numbered account if done internationally.

Re:State of the art (3, Interesting)

Albanach (527650) | more than 4 years ago | (#29012739)

Indeed. It's all a bit strange in the US. If you owe someone money you have to write a cheque. Apparently procedures arr so lax though that by having the account number and routing code, people can empty your bank account.

There doesn't seem to be any reasonable way for ordinary bank customers to transfer money to customers of other banks. So in the UK with faster payments now in place at most banks, you can send money to someone else's account alost instantly. In the US, you write a cheque, put it in the post and wait. Then the recipient gets it and sits on it for a few weeks/months until they get to the bank and deposit it. In the meantime, you have to keep track of outstanding cheques in case someone sits on it for several months then sends you overdrawn.

For most other functions, US banks ahve done a pretty reasonable job of getting things automated and electronic. Given the high cost of processing cheques, I'm at a complete loss as to why they still exist let alone are in day to day use.

Re:State of the art (1)

athakur999 (44340) | more than 4 years ago | (#29012973)

Checks are still a good way for two individuals to exchange money. Neither the payer or the payee has to pay any service fees (something you can't say for credit card or debit card payments) and there is some protection for the buyer (something you can't say for cash - you can't tell your bank to stop payment on a $20 bill).

Anyway, many banks in the US do allow you to transfer money electronically to accounts at other banks, but many of them charge fees for outgoing transfers. Electronic transfers to other accounts at the same bank are usually free.

In the retail world, many stores will convert checks to electronic transfers anyway. You write the check and they scan it at the point of sale and draw the money immediately.

Re:State of the art (1)

Kozz (7764) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013307)

Checks are still a good way for two individuals to exchange money. Neither the payer or the payee has to pay any service fees ...

Well, that seems to be changing in some cases. In recent months, my wife has attempted to cash personal checks at the bank from which they were drawn. Since she does not also have an account there, they not only charge her a $1.50USD fee, but they insist on taking her thumbprint! It's definitely eliminated that bank from future services. Way to alienate your potential customers -- soak them with fees and make them feel like a criminal. Nice!

Re:State of the art (1)

Neil Watson (60859) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013021)

Canada is in the same boat. It is very annoying. I have corporate account and a personal account. To pay myself I have to write a cheque, to me, from the corporate account and deposit the cheque into my personal account via ATM then wait 2 days for it to clear.

Re:State of the art (1)

GNU(slash)Nickname (761984) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013639)

You should be able to set up Interac payments for that, or at the very least, ask your bank to stop putting holds on your corporate cheques.

Re:State of the art (1)

TheSunborn (68004) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013499)

There doesn't seem to be any reasonable way for ordinary bank customers to transfer money to customers of other banks

Really? That sound insane. Here in Danmark I can just walk down to the ATM enter a target account and transfer the money that way(It's even free I think). It will even print a slip, with the transfer details so I can prove that I did transfer money.

Or I could use this fancy new internet bank thing, which allow me to view all my accounts, and transfer money to anyone with a bank account in EU. And it's all free(Well atleast internal in denmark, it might cost a bit to transfer to other countries), because its so much cheaper for the bank when I use the internet, compared to me having to walk down to the branch building and talking to them in person. (And they even support Both Linux and MacOS)

Re:State of the art (1)

AdamWeeden (678591) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013097)

Then let me ask how you would handle the following situation (one of the few in which I use checks):

* I have a friend who watches my son during the day.
* I need to pay this person every two weeks.
* I need proof that I've paid this person for a given time period so no disputes arise.
* Being as this person only watches my child (apart from hers) she is not a "business" per se and thus doesn't accept credit cards.

I am honestly not being snarky or combative, but if checks are truly a thing of the past in some places I would like to see what they've been replaced with.

Re:State of the art (0, Redundant)

mandark1967 (630856) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013331)

A Money Order should suffice as long as you retain your copy.

Re:State of the art (1)

Markemp (562755) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013487)

And that is sooo much more convenient than keeping a checkbook around.

Re:State of the art (1)

GNU(slash)Nickname (761984) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013581)

A Money Order should suffice as long as you retain your copy.

I'm not the OP, but what a PITA that would be.

To write a cheque, I reach into my desk drawer, scribble on the paper, and hand it over. To get a money order, I need to physically go to a bank (or the post office), hand over cash to get the money order, AND pay a fee for the privilege. No thanks.

Re:State of the art (1)

GNU(slash)Nickname (761984) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013541)

You didn't state where you are, but in Canada, Paypal now allows fee free person to person transfers when funded by a bank account. Takes a few days to clear though.

Or you could also use Interac direct money transfers if you both use one of the participating banks. If the recipient doesn't use a participating bank, I think Interac actually mails them a cheque.

Re:State of the art (1)

trentblase (717954) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013551)

Yeah, what did they do before checks? The person receiving cash wrote a receipt. This is all the proof you need (although potentially as much trouble as writing a check).

Re:State of the art (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013567)

* I have a friend who watches my son during the day.
* I need to pay this person every two weeks.
* I need proof that I've paid this person for a given time period so no disputes arise.
* Being as this person only watches my child (apart from hers) she is not a "business" per se and thus doesn't accept credit cards.

I am honestly not being snarky or combative, but if checks are truly a thing of the past in some places I would like to see what they've been replaced with.

This isn't very complicated. Signed receipt. I, the undersigned, aka "AdamWeeden's Friend", acknowledge than I received $20 cash on date X for baby sitting little AdamWeeden Jr. for the two week period of Y to Z. "AdamWeedens friend" signs the receipt, you keep the receipt in your file cabinet.

A signed hash file of a receipt would probably work just as well, although they are obviously opening themselves to a known plaintext attack.

Technically, the IRS would be interested in this transaction, but in practice probably not. None the less, I would be very careful to leave language like "employed by" out of the receipt. If something happened to your friend (slipped on a banana peel thrown by little AdamWeeden Jr and broke a bone or something) your insurance company would probably be highly agitated by the whole situation. Neither problem area is much affected by check vs receipt, of course.

Not entirely new (5, Informative)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 4 years ago | (#29012623)

USAA has allowed customers to scan and electronically deposit checks for quite a while. The only new thing here is the iPhone app. Still, it's pretty cool, especially compared to mailing checks in. (For those who don't know, USAA doesn't have physical branches. They were established by and for members of the military, and they've pretty much always been pioneers of remote banking, first by mail and phone, and now over the internet.)

Re:Not entirely new (1)

FoxFireX (44087) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013193)

Actually, they do have physical branches. Well, branch. Just down the road in from me in San Antonio. Massive building on their campus along I-10. I still prefer scanning my checks in electronically, though, rather than remembering to take them there personally. Usually a bit of a line at their two ATMs.

Neat idea, but... (0)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29012631)

Well, the only problem here is that when you write a check, there isn't an electronic record authorizing the release of funds. Which means it's entirely up to the debited account-holder to verify that the amounts are correct. This depends entirely on OCR. Even with a 99.99% accuracy rate, it's going to read some of those numbers wrong and some of those errors will not be detected for days, weeks, or even a month. I'm betting they didn't change their terms of use though to give the debited account-holder more than 48 hours to report fraud (pretty standard), meaning the bank is compromising the security of all of its account-holders and expressly disclaiming liability for this -- all in the name of convenience. If that's true, I'd consider not banking there anymore; They've bypassed most of the safeguards electronic and paper checks ensure -- namely the accuracy of information and longer audit trail.

Disclaimer: I haven't verified their terms of use. I could be wrong.

Re:Neat idea, but... (1)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 4 years ago | (#29012769)

So, you're saying you wouldn't do your banking with USAA because they're willing to trust that you, as their customer, won't attempt check fraud? Regardless of the fact that I use USAA, I prefer my bank to think I'm more trustworthy about depositing checks than, say, a grocery store.

Re:Neat idea, but... (4, Informative)

DarkSarin (651985) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013045)

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

You don't seem to know much about USAA...

They are, if nothing else, extremely cautious about that sort of thing from my experience. I bank with them (as well as have my auto insurance through them). I wouldn't switch away for some imagined slight. Not after having dealt with the HELL that other banks put you through if there is some sort of customer service needed. USAA is by far and away the BEST customer service bank I have EVER dealt with. Bar none. Nope, I'm not switching banks.

I've been using their deposit@home service for a while now, and it's great. This is just a minor evolution of that (camera instead of scanner), and I don't see much to make me think it's a huge difference.

Re:Neat idea, but... (1)

gordyf (23004) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013099)

You enter the amount of the check when you upload the image. It may also perform OCR, but it doesn't rely upon it.

Oh the humanity (1)

barocco (1168573) | more than 4 years ago | (#29012645)

The sheer number of intricacies involved that are up for exploits just blow my mind, not to mention the faint awkward idea in the back of my head about uploading a picture of Knuth's reward cheque...

Save the trees! (for profit, of course) (1)

javacowboy (222023) | more than 4 years ago | (#29012737)

Processing paper is expensive. Banks realize this, which is why they've been promoting ATMs, online banking, reducing hours for brick and mortar branches and reducing the availability of human bank tellers.

Unfortunately for the banks, many individuals and businesses still do business via paper checks. This is one means for the destination bank to save paper processing costs at their end. It's interesting that they've decided to do this by means of an iPhone app.

Re:Save the trees! (for profit, of course) (1)

Skater (41976) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013087)

Unfortunately for the banks, many individuals and businesses still do business via paper checks.

Well, then the banks can make it easier and cheaper to do transfers between accounts. My fiancee and I live together, and every month she writes a check to me to help offset the bills and all that. I certainly don't want to trust Paypal (or pay their fees), so our options are to write a check or hand over several hundred in cash.

Re:Save the trees! (for profit, of course) (1)

javacowboy (222023) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013445)

I'm in the same situation as you (well, ok, I just got engaged this weekend :) ) and I transfer money to my fiancee every month to pay my share of the monthly expenses. My bank, the CIBC, allows me to do a free email money transfer to her. All I need to do is click the link, fill in a question and answer, and click submit. She gets an email, answers the question correctly, and clicks submit to accept the transfer. Of course, it's a Canadian bank operating in Canada, but from what I understand, all the large Canadian banks allow you to do this free of charge. It saves me the cost of getting a new checkbook.

I use it to cash rent checks (1)

Markemp (562755) | more than 4 years ago | (#29012799)

Well, their Deposit@Home feature, which allows you to use a scanner to scan them in. Only works in Internet Exploder 32 bit version, which is annoying. But USAA is by far the best bank out there, frequently topping Four Seasons for the best customer service available. I don't have an iPhone, but this is a natural extension to their Depost@Home feature.

Re:I use it to cash rent checks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29012971)

Are you sure? I use Firefox without problems for Deposit@Home...

Re:I use it to cash rent checks (1)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 4 years ago | (#29012995)

I've never had any trouble using Deposit@Home with dozens of versions of Firefox and Safari on my Mac, though I'll admit I've never tried it under Windows. It looks to me like the Windows version tries to interface directly with the scanner, whereas the Mac version is just a Java applet that lets you upload 200dpi grayscale jpeg images. That would explain a failure to work with 64-bit IE.

Re:I use it to cash rent checks (1)

DarkSarin (651985) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013069)

Huh? I use it with firefox all the time....you must have something wacky going on. I haven't tried it with IE64 bit since I loaded win7-64bit. I'll give it a shot tonight....

USAA is unique in its banking (5, Informative)

Tanispyre (690330) | more than 4 years ago | (#29012861)

USAA (United Serviceman Automobile Association) is not your normal bank that has offices all over where you can make a deposit. It is a banking service available to military personnel and their dependents. It has always been set up so that servicemen deployed around the world can access their accounts. Before they wrote the iPhone app, members could scan their cheques and email them to the bank for credit, this is just an extension of that service, nothing new.

Re:USAA is unique in its banking (3, Informative)

cosmicpossum (554246) | more than 4 years ago | (#29012939)

United SERVICES Automobile Association

Re:USAA is unique in its banking (1)

Tanispyre (690330) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013013)

Thanks, You are right.

Re:USAA is unique in its banking (2, Informative)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013625)

You're both right:

The name is United SERVICES Automobile Association. It is an inter-insurance exchange under Texas law.

The business is insurance and financial services for Army service personnel and their dependents. Army officer & NCO personnel are insured by USAA proper, enlisted, dependants, and other "associate members" by subsidiaries. So if you have to "have some sort of insurance from USAA" (itself) and "approximately 60% of USAA's customers qualify" it means you are a current or former US army OFFICER or NCO.

Because of their unusual customer base, USAA is at much less risk for fraud on the part of the customers than other financial institutions.

They're also less risk of things like missed or late payments: Military officers are used to being punctual, accurate, and responsible when it comes to keeping their commitments: Their lives and those of their subordinates, friends, and countrymen often depend on it, as does their continued employment and career advancement - being this way is their JOB. That translates into drastically lower interest rates on loans and insurance and higher rates on savings. (Doesn't hurt that the "bank"(s) are a federal thrift and a credit union, either.)

Re:USAA is unique in its banking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29013203)

Actually, Alliant Credit Union [alliantcreditunion.org] allows scanning checks for deposit as well. You just scan it in and then keep it in your own file for 90 days in case any issues arise.

Another reason to hack an IPhone. (0)

Ouchie (1386333) | more than 4 years ago | (#29012867)

I can already hear the script kiddies cracking their knuckles in anticipation of this one.

Re:Another reason to hack an IPhone. (2, Informative)

Markemp (562755) | more than 4 years ago | (#29012997)

You need an account at USAA to make a deposit. You need to be in the military or one of their dependents to open an account. You can only deposit to that account with this app. It's not like there are a lot of holes to the process.

Re:Another reason to hack an IPhone. (1)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013071)

You also need some kind of loan with USAA (it can be a credit card) so that they can instantly debit your account to return the money if a check turns out to be fraudulent.

Why iPhone Specific? (1)

s31523 (926314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013137)

Seems like any camera phone should be able to snap a picture of a check and send it to the appropriate online location. In any case, sounds like a whole lot of risk for something that, at least in my current situation, is not very common. The last time I deposited a check was months ago.

Re:Why iPhone Specific? (1)

Markemp (562755) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013253)

Some of us deposit many checks on a regular basis. It's either this or mail them in (at least USAA provides postage paid, pre-addressed envelopes for this free of charge as well). Or if you went to another bank, you could go to an ATM or a local branch, but then you have to log off of Warcraft for long enough to drive/walk somewhere, and who *knows* what kind of loot you might have missed out on! Besides, that Hodir rep doesn't farm itself. ;-)

Re:Why iPhone Specific? (1)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013265)

Why iPhone specific? Because the iPhone is the single most popular smartphone for personal use, and is much easier to develop and deliver apps for than most other camera phones. Eventually, USAA might make a similar app for the Pre or some Blackberries, but the market of potential users is probably too small to justify the expense.

Re:Why iPhone Specific? (2, Insightful)

GeckoAddict (1154537) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013601)

According to this wiki entry [wikipedia.org] , Apple has roughly 10.7% of the market share of smartphones, while Symbian has 47%, Blackberry has 19.5%, Windows Mobile has 12.4%, and hell, even linux has almost 9%. So to say that the iPhone is is the single most popular is a bit of a stretch (even with the qualifier 'for personal use').

Arguing ease of development shouldn't really be a factor, because all they're really doing it saving a picture and sending it... it can't be that hard with any of the APIs (ridiculously easy with Win Mobile, for example) . But I think arguing that there's no market for potential users could be a bad argument.

Re:Why iPhone Specific? (1)

sottitron (923868) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013327)

Its probably iPhone specific because the distribution system isn't open and so it is very difficult to trick someone into installing a hacked app onto their phone.

HMMMM WVUFCU already did this (1)

abuthemagician (880680) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013197)

West Virgina United Credit Union already has this app deployed...

iFraud (1)

iveygman (1303733) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013201)

Check fraud? Yep, there's an app for that. Need to know how to plead for a lesser sentence? There's an app for that too. Only on the iPhone 3GS.

Been waiting for something like this from USAA (1)

spagthorpe (111133) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013231)

USAA already lets customers deposit checks by scanning them on their computers. Has for years. Very nice feature....if you have a scanner. Now that I'm only using a netbook, I don't have that luxury now.

USAA was also very quick to embrace the iPhone, and came out with a very nice dedicated app a while ago. In addition to letting you check balances, transfer funds and pay bills, it has a ATM locator (location based app), accident checklist with notepad, loan calculator, roadside assistance button (also location based), rental car locator, insurance card access, etc. Someone there is clearly thinking about things. It doesn't surprise me at all they are pushing the envelope a bit.

USAA has different customer needs. (3, Informative)

bigattichouse (527527) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013393)

I'm a USAA member, and I know for a fact that many USAA members have needs above and beyond a "normal bank" customer. Imagine trying to buy a new car in Florida when you are deployed to Iraq. Think of how difficult it is to have both of your signatures on one sheet of paper... its not a big example, but it is the kind of thing you run into. Think about this, I once worked in an on-base video rental store - we had a guy rent a movie and then get orders that night to deploy... the computer just kept racking up late fees, even automatically reporting to his CO (also deployed) - we cleared it up after a month or two, once someone noticed. Military situations are just plain different.

I can think of one problem (1)

furby076 (1461805) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013519)

You deposit a check using this method
You lose the check (normally not a big deal)
Person contests every writing you the check
Now you can't prove the person wrote you a check

People lose things all the time. There are dishonest people who will try and welsh on funds they are supposed to pay. Couple that with the billions of transactions that happen on any given year and you get a recipe for some problems.

This new method should include the option/requirement to scan the check in.

Nothing really new here (1)

MojoRilla (591502) | more than 4 years ago | (#29013557)

USAA already allowed check deposits by scanner [usaa.com] , so this really isn't anything new. But mix anything with IPhone and it makes the Slashdot homepage. Sigh.

Much like Itchy and Scratchy Land, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29013611)

I see no way that this system could possib-lie go wrong.

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