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Deposit Checks To Your Bank By Taking a Photo

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the ready-for-my-closeup-mister-demille dept.

Businesses 494

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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494 comments

Checks (5, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493950)

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:Checks (2, Insightful)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494072)

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 (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31494154)

You seem to have a pretty firm grasp of our banking system :D

Re:Checks (4, Insightful)

realsilly (186931) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Checks (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494128)

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 (3, Informative)

realsilly (186931) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494190)

Wire transfers cost $25 a transfer here.

Re:Checks (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494274)

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.

Re:Checks (1)

mikeraz (12065) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494308)

But ACH - and it takes a banker to know the difference - is free and happens close to real time.

Re:Checks (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494268)

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 bank is already doing it without the fees.

Oh, and as a bonus, that credit card is hooked to my overdraft protection. There's a fee when it happens, and I'm sure the interest on the amount is insane, but since it's for emergencies only, that's fine.

Re:Checks (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494272)

You obviously don't bank with Wachovia.

Re:Checks (1)

mikeraz (12065) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494292)

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:Checks (3, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494116)

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:Checks (2, Insightful)

aicrules (819392) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494244)

I haven't paid by anything other than electronic methods for years now...what bank is screwing you?

Re:Checks (5, Insightful)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494336)

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

Re:Checks (2, Insightful)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494124)

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...

Re:Checks (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31494202)

I'm a 35+ year old Swede ... ... and I've never, ever, written a check.

(I seem to vaguely recall my parents doing it when I was really young though)

The US is on top of technology as usual.

Re:Checks (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494234)

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 bank tellers).

Re:Checks (1)

bigdavex (155746) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494326)

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.

Re:Checks (1)

Skater (41976) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494410)

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.

Re:Checks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31494278)

What gets me is that not only do people in the US persist in using checks, they persist in spelling the name incorrectly.

Re:Checks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31494346)

Great Idea! You could fill out a piece of paper and take it to the bank to get them to wire your money! Or, and bear with me here, to eliminate the hassle of going to the bank, you could fill out that form and give it to the person to whom you'd be wiring the money! If only we had something like that...

Oh wait

[relevant captcha: eloquent]

Re:Checks (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31494366)

This, like almost all /. comments, reflects a lack of understanding about the country in which you live and vocabulary. A wire transfer is not the only way to transfer money between banks, individuals, or online. It is not a ubiquitous term, it is a specific form of transfer. Europe does rely more heavily on this, but this is because the EU has heavily regulated fees for Wire Transfers, thus making it cheap and popular.

In the US, wire transfers can cost up to $45, so no one uses them. Instead EFTS (Electronic Funds Transfer) is enormously popular in the US. You can pay almost anything online with a routing number and a bank number. I can, and do, pay all of my bills this way.

The only real difference between a Wire Transfer and an EFTS is that the Wire Transfer acts like a Cashier's Check and the EFTS acts like a Personal Check. This is important because a Cashier's Check is "guaranteed" by the bank. In a wire transfer, the bank, for lack of a better description, takes the money out of your account and gives it to another entity. In an EFTS transaction, the company receiving the money requests it from the bank, at which point the bank goes and checks to see if you have the money.

The difference is where the work is done. If you are doing the work of keeping track of your own money (running the risk of the bank finding insufficient funds) then you pay nothing and use EFTS. If the company you are going to pay doesn't trust you, or if you want to make sure this particular amount is going to go through, etc, the bank has to do some legwork. Historically, this legwork was considerable so there is a sizable fee. Today I admit this charge makes little sense unless you are dealing with particularly large amounts of money. Because the US is not a nanny state and forced banks to use particular payment or dispersment methods for low cost, the EFTS system grew more popular. Now that wire-transfer is almost exclusively used for large dollar amounts, it makes not sense to lower costs, and no one is forcing them.

In short, wire transfers are popular in Europe not because Europeans are more technologically savvy, but rather because there government stepped in an forced the market to offer it cheap or free. In the US a different, payer responsible, system was developed to offset bank costs and offer the same service for free. The other service still exists and elitists from other countries who can't do their own banking think that US citizen's still use checkbooks because they don't bother to learn how banking actually works.

This is similar to how England does overdraft. Overdraft is almost ubiquitously used in England. it took me a while to understand that you can just overdraw our account in England and pay interest to the bank. In short, everyone has a credit card who has a bank account. Everyone has a line of credit because mismanagement of accounts is so big a problem the bank just cashed in on it.

You may find it silly that I sometimes still write checks (like for my landlord who lives upstairs). That's fine. I find it silly that your entire country seems to be unable to manage basic home economics. We'll call it even.

Re:Checks (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494378)

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 much, I don't know if there is a transfer fee. But it's not for everything in my opinion, I've paid for cars using a paper check. Other irregular payments seem more convenient to just pay up with a paper check.

Re:Checks (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494416)

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.

9 out of 10 Nigerian 419 scammers agree!

Re:Checks (1)

lowrydr310 (830514) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494418)

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.

Re:Checks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31494460)

So in a European country, how does one transfer money to someone without getting their account information? Many in the US have no bank account at all.

Re:Checks (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494466)

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, 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!

That's the last time I used a debit card; no more debit cards for me. Meanwhile, the credit cards had so munch interest and fees, even paying the bills on time, that I got rid of them, too.

You can have my checkbook when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers -- Oh wait, no, you can have it. I can get more checks and the ones you stole won't hurt me a bit, unlike electronic transactions.

Cheques? (3, Funny)

unixcrab (1080985) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493966)

Those are those paper thingies that nobody seems to accept these days aren't they?

Re:Cheques? (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494058)

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?

Oh yeah, great idea (5, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493984)

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::

Re:Oh yeah, great idea (4, Interesting)

Lev13than (581686) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494020)

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:Oh yeah, great idea (2, Interesting)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494074)

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:-)

Re:Oh yeah, great idea (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494082)

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.

Re:Oh yeah, great idea (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494172)

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.

Re:Oh yeah, great idea (1)

knarf (34928) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494126)

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.

Re:Oh yeah, great idea (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494038)

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.

Re:Oh yeah, great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31494152)

What?? And here all this time I've been endorsing my screen.

Re:Oh yeah, great idea (1)

xaosflux (917784) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494398)

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.

Easy enough, don't sign it..."FOR DEPOSIT ONLY" is pretty much universally accepted, you should never have to actually sign your check unless you are exchanging it for cash or transfering it to someone else.

Re:Oh yeah, great idea (4, Informative)

jittles (1613415) | more than 4 years ago | (#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! (5, Funny)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493986)

Another technology where the US is the world leader!

Go USA! Go USA!

Re:Checks! (2, Funny)

dunezone (899268) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494236)

Please the chant is...

USA! USA! USA!

Obviously you are traitor, commie, or even worse a socialist.

Re:Checks! (4, Funny)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494290)

Obviously you are traitor, commie, or even worse a socialist.

If by that you mean foreigner, then you are correct.

USAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31494004)

You have been able to do this with USAA for a while now. Snap a photo with your iPhone, and the money is in your account instantly.

USAA has been doing this for years (5, Informative)

Not-a-Neg (743469) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:USAA has been doing this for years (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494046)

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.

Re:USAA has been doing this for years (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494098)

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.)

Re:USAA has been doing this for years (1)

Brandee07 (964634) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494282)

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 of six branches, none of which are near my home or work, so I have to make a dedicated trip to go deposit a check. If I was eligible to join USAA, I would in a heartbeat. As it is, I have to hope SECU will think about implementing it.

Re:USAA has been doing this for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31494208)

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.

You're certainly not familiar w/ USAA then. USAA is for service members or their families only, thus, doesn't have many branches and operations are designed to provide great remote services. They're very good if you qualify to become a member.

Re:USAA has been doing this for years (2, Interesting)

vekrander (1400525) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494296)

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 physical bank, except the convenience is better. Now why would someone use a bank that they can't physically go to? Personally, I do it for the customer service. I'm not sure exactly how their banking branch is, but their insurance branch is owned by the policy holders, which I also am a member of and the service there is what convinced me to use them as my financial institution. Either way, they've proved to me that there are many less reasons to need a physical bank now.

Re:USAA has been doing this for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31494310)

It would be very hard to deposit it at an ATM or Branch office USAA is branchless banking.

Re:USAA has been doing this for years (1)

viking099 (70446) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494132)

I believe USAA also has an app for the iPhone and Android systems where you can snap a photo and upload it.

I've been using Deposit@Home for a while now and it's awesome.

Re:USAA has been doing this for years (1, Redundant)

DarkSarin (651985) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494340)

They do.

I've been using Deposit@Home for a few years now. I'm not sure if you have to have a credit card through them or not to make it work, but it is a very slick process.

I was confused why this is news--the USAA iPhone app was featured on /. when it first became public information. Other banks are just slow I guess....

Re:USAA has been doing this for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31494166)

They also have an iPhone app that lets you deposit checks using the phone's camera.

If you can't join USAA (2, Informative)

mahsah (1340539) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494168)

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:USAA has been doing this for years (2, Interesting)

japhering (564929) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494180)

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 you can do via computer and the web you can do via cell phone

Re:USAA has been doing this for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31494354)

I have been using USAA for years...the Deposit@Home is great and the just rolled out the Deposit@Mobile iPhone App, I don't need a credit card to use either though. But it all comes down to how secure you feel taking a picture of a check to have it deposited. As far as eliminating the float, I like the fact that funds are available to me the day after I make a deposit. In all honestly, this is probably the direction we should be going if we won't be wiring money like the rest of the world.

meh, should have used USAA (3, Informative)

TheDawgLives (546565) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494012)

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.

Scanning a check exists now (4, Informative)

yog (19073) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494028)

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.

Re:Scanning a check exists now (0, Offtopic)

viscro (1733046) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494052)

We have USAA and they are awesome. Always pleasant to speak with on the phone and always on the cutting edge of things like this.

Re:Scanning a check exists now (0, Redundant)

Hyppy (74366) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494160)

They also have had an iPhone app for quite a while to do this. I've been using it for about 6 months.

Re:Scanning a check exists now (1)

loafula (1080631) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494212)

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:Scanning a check exists now (2, Informative)

spvo (955716) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494324)

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! (4, Interesting)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:I hate cheques! (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494426)

"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.

1000 years of darkness ending now? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31494042)

it's about time.

& never a better time to consult with/trust in your creators. the lights are coming up now as never before. the creators' wwwildly popular, newclear powered planet/population rescue initiative/mandate is working perfectly. no surprise there.

It must be at least 10 years ago (2, Insightful)

badger.foo (447981) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494068)

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.

Re:It must be at least 10 years ago (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494130)

A lot of Americans don't trust banks, so they get paid by check, and then pay to cash it.

Electronic transfers aren't going to help them much.

(Just to be clear, I use direct deposit and think they are insane)

Re:It must be at least 10 years ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31494224)

I've never used a check (I'm only 36 years old) so I may not understand the system fully.

But if they don't trust the bank, how could they trust the check? Isn't the checks value totally dependent on the bank vouching for it?

Re:It must be at least 10 years ago (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494266)

Their employer won't pay them in cash, so they don't really have much of a choice.

Re:It must be at least 10 years ago (1)

Brandee07 (964634) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494344)

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.

Floating dowm profit river (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494096)

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

Re:Floating dowm profit river (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31494238)

banks are not there to serve you.
It's not a scam, it's how banks WORK.

Re:Floating dowm profit river (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494250)

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.

Why not all electronic? No really, why not? (2, Interesting)

tomalpha (746163) | more than 4 years ago | (#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...

Re:Why not all electronic? No really, why not? (3, Insightful)

cyn1c77 (928549) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.)

Re:Why not all electronic? No really, why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31494394)

You got Baconnaise, instant win right there.

Re:Why not all electronic? No really, why not? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494194)

> 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?

Re:Why not all electronic? No really, why not? (1)

eastlight_jim (1070084) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494312)

Because you can pay a credit card bill (one of many examples) instantly from your own PC with no need to send a letter or wait five days for it to clear.

I make tens of transactions a month this way. It would cost me a small fortune in stamps if I sent a cheque every time.

Re:Why not all electronic? No really, why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31494360)

convenience, no wait time etc. Why should you use a cheque?

Re:Why not all electronic? No really, why not? (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494362)

Another poster stated fees of $25 for transfering money.

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

USAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31494112)

Been doing this with USAA for months now with their iPhone app....

Wake me when (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31494134)

I can take a photo of a $20 note and deposit that in my bank account.

Been using it for 6mos (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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!

Photoshop? (1)

FireofEvil (1637185) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494148)

How do they solve the photoshop problem?

Re:Photoshop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31494298)

These solutions are back-of-envelope:

Serial numbers: One time pad style number matching. Each chequebook has a set of serial numbers known to the bank and to the chequebook. Mismatch = invalid.

Signatures: Approved signatures...

Writing and numbers: Make the scan a high-enough resolution so the guilloche or some other pattern can be discerned. As with the serial numbers they can be made unique. Messing around with the writing will likely lead to errors in the pattern.

Re:Photoshop? (1)

WyrdOne (96731) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494356)

Simple, funds really aren't in your account till money is transferred from the check writers account. If you, the consumer, is accepting a check it's your legal obligation to trust the person writing it.

Checks are a form of "I trust that you have the money in your account and it will be transferred from your financial institution to mine in a timely manner." If you don't trust the person writing you a check, don't accept it and only accept cash.

old news (0)

loafula (1080631) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494178)

I've been doing this on my ipone for months

Checks are "old school" (5, Funny)

oddaddresstrap (702574) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494186)

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

Re:Checks are "old school" (1)

Theoboley (1226542) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494318)

You'd have to take a picture of a handwritten note stating "I Promise I will come in and give this to you" as well.

Yuo fail 1t! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31494192)

aal parties it's for the project. their parting for successful FREEBSD SHOWED mistake of electing ASSOCIATION OF been many, not the BUWLA, or BSD has been my only bulk of the FreeBSD (I always bring my users all over the

so i was at the newsstand (0, Redundant)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494198)

and this guy whips out this fat roll of cash and drops a $100 to pay for a 25 cent newspaper. while the attendant was yelling at the guy that he couldn't take anything that large, i whipped out my iPhone and snapped a quick pic of the guy's cash wad, and 25 seconds later i had $5,230 in my checking account! woohoo!

Last time I used a check (1)

Zedrick (764028) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494230)

...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? (4, Informative)

horatio (127595) | more than 4 years ago | (#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 (3, Interesting)

self assembled struc (62483) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494248)

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.

Interesting stopgap (1)

ErichTheRed (39327) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494254)

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 them in the US? In the current banking system, giving out your account number for wire transfers isn't secure. I think Europe has figured out a way to do EFTs securely (chip and pin cards? PIN-based wire transfers?) Here in the US, I think a lot of people don't think of wire transfers as a way to settle "normal" debts. The image that comes to my mind is of secret numbered Swiss bank accounts and multi-million dollar transactions, and I'm all for getting rid of checks. Plus, wire transfers in the current banking system cost a lot of money to perform. You have to find an easy, safe way, including authentication of both parties, to transfer funds that is just as easy as writing someone a check.

Banks probably love this too. They have to process even fewer paper checks, and there will no longer be an excuse to have as many bank branches.

Pentagon Federal Credit Union (3, Informative)

WyrdOne (96731) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.)

The news isn't about the check scanning (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494382)

It is about the cryptographic signing. Finally banks understand that cryptography offer better proofs than hand signatures ! It was about *ucking time !

Say hello to mega fraud... (1)

JRHelgeson (576325) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494390)

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...

security? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31494408)

So, what security measures keep this from getting abused like any other system?

At least when someone forges a paper check, there is a chance of getting fingerprints off of it.

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