09 March 2017

#MobileBanking: Deposit by Picture. Check! #Smartphones #Apps

As a geeky techie engineer, I seldom handle actual cash any more. The few times I've encountered it, I've thought that paper bills of today look a lot like fake Monopoly money. Neither have I ordered (or used) personal checks in well over a decade. Practically everything I do financially is in the virtual realm. I use electronic BillPay and eMoney. I've always opted for Direct Deposit nearly since my first job as a teen. I eTrade. Every vendor on the planet takes debit or credit cards and one can even "split a tab" with friends electronically these days.

So, I was at a momentarily loss when out of the blue I received a physical check in the mail recently (a surprise gift from an older relative who'd been told about the recent vandalism of my home). After penning a Thank You Note, I wondered half-seriously, "What does one do with a paper check?" I could have mailed it in to my bank I suppose, but I almost never use snail mail either. (The exception being personal correspondence with the "older generation.") Postage? What's that...

I settled on trying out my credit union's newish "Deposit by Picture" method, wherein one snaps a photo (back and front) of an endorsed check and uploads it to the bank --- basically DIY digitizing. Having never done this before and hating taking pictures as I do, it took a couple of tries to get the lighting and focus just right on the image so that the bank system would accept it. Eventually, I was successful, however, and minutes later the deposit was approved and the balance was added to my account (with a notice to hold onto the physical check for 60 days and then securely destroy it).

It's not like I'm going back to paper checks, but this was kind of a fun exercise and an apt usage of the ubiquitous smartphone camera. (Technology making life more convenient! Imagine that.) Will probably never need to do it, again. Paper checks are going the way of the Dodo.

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