The Ins and Outs of Online Check Deposits


Your smartphone camera does more than take selfies. It can also be used to snap pictures of paper checks for mobile deposit, a method of banking that is growing in popularity in America. Per a Federal Reserve survey, 38 percent of U.S. banking consumers have made deposits with their smartphones, and that number is only likely to grow as the technology and safety of use does. If you’ve never deposited a check using your smartphone before, it’s quite simple, safe and convenient.

Available and delayed funds

Though the idea of taking a snapshot of your check might suggest immediate access, using this method does not guarantee your money for instant use. According to Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and its Expedited Funds Availability Acts, only the first $200 of a mobile deposit must be made available on the next business day. Any amount above the $200 threshold is typically available to you within two business days. Some financial institutions offer same-day deposits, but others still may take longer to deposit the full amount of a check or checks into your account.

While waiting for your money to become available, the time between deposit and access is for the best. While federal-issued checks and wire transfers can get into your account more quickly, personal check deposits require a thorough quality check by your financial institution to help protect you against fraud. Check the terms of your financial institution for a better idea of the timeline you can expect. Using money that is not yet in your account due to deposit complications will likely mean having to pay fees and additional costs.

An extra step

In order to better ensure the safety of using mobile deposit, the Federal Reserve Banks recently established a new endorsement requirement. Accord to the FRB, any check that is to be deposited via mobile device must have the phrase “for mobile deposit only” written beneath the signature line on the back of the check. The objective is to minimize fraud and the prevalence of accidental double depositing, protecting you and the financial institution in the process. Some financial institutions may require you to add “at (institution name)” or “for (institution name) mobile deposit only,” so it’s best to check the terms and requirements of your mobile deposit program first.”

Hang on before trashing

After you make the deposit, keep the paper check handy for two weeks in case of problems with your transaction. Inscribe the date and “mobile deposit” on the check so that you don’t make the mistake of attempting to deposit it twice, which can lead to you having to pay a fee. When the two weeks have passed, shred the paper check to protect your private information. If you want to hold onto them for longer just in case, make sure that you keep them somewhere secure like a fireproof safe or lockbox.

Mobile check deposit means never having to run to the ATM to put money in your account again, which is in and of itself a great convenience. Knowing how to use the system and process safely and correctly further ensures fewer headaches and less hassle. Download your financial institution’s official app and follow up in-person with a representative to make sure that you understand all of the ins and outs of online check deposit.

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