What to Know About Mobile Check Depositing

For decades, the only way to deposit a check into a bank account was to physically go and wait in a long line at the local bank. In the meantime, losing or damaging the check, forgetting about it or simply getting too busy to go to the bank before it closed could cause problems and delays.

Now, the rise of smartphones and mobile banking has streamlined this process and made it more convenient. Before using a new technology like mobile check depositing, however, it is important to understand it.


The largest draw of mobile check depositing is its convenience. Many banks allow their customers to snap photos of both the front and back of the paper check and remotely deposit it, eliminating the need to stop by the bank within business hours.


That convenience comes at a small cost — a delay between snapping a picture of that check and the money officially landing in the account. According to Consumer Reports, this delay is due to the bank holding the check. Thankfully, the delay is subject to federal regulations, which mandate that the first $200 of the deposit must be available in the account for withdrawal or check writing by the next business day. Usually, the full amount is available for checks the next business day, and for withdrawal the day after that.

This, however, does not hold true for all banks. For example, Consumer Reports specifically points out one branch-less bank which uses a loophole in the law to hold checks for up to 10 days.

Other limits

Of course, without a person involved on the bank’s behalf, the risk of fraud goes up. For this reason, as The Balance points out, most banks set limits on the deposits.

Often, banks will impose a maximum deposit limit. This limit could apply to amounts deposited at one time, during a day or during a single month, and often will include an upper amount limit. Luckily, these limits often stretch into the thousands of dollars per month, and some banks may even offer lighter limits for long-time account-holders.

According to The Balance, the type of deposit may also be limited. Normal checks addressed to an account holder are fine, and generally checks written to the account holder and someone else are ok, given they both have endorsed it. However, money orders or checks payable to a non-account holder, but signed over to the account holder, could be rejected.

Waiting for it

There is one final caveat to mobile check deposit to remember: not to destroy the check. Instead, NerdWallet recommends waiting until the deposit has appeared in the account, and then writing “void” or “deposited by mobile” on the check. This way, the original check is available as proof of the deposit should there be a problem.

Despite the drawbacks, mobile check depositing is available as an easy, convenient way to deposit checks, as long as the limitations of the process are kept in mind.


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