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FDIC Consumer News - Summer 2016

How Do You Deposit a Check with Your Smartphone or Tablet?
Start by taking photos ... and taking precautions

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FDIC: FDIC Consumer News Summer 2016 - How Do You Deposit a Check with Your Smartphone or Tablet?At an increasing number of banks, consumers can use a smartphone or tablet to deposit a check into their account from anywhere they can access their account remotely.  Simply endorse the check (just like you would at the ATM or teller), use your mobile device to snap a photo of the front and back, and deposit the check using the bank’s mobile application (app).  

This service — often called “remote deposit capture” or RDC — is becoming more common at banks and more popular with consumers.   Still, there are potential costs and security risks. FDIC Consumer News is offering our latest tips and reminders.

Review and understand your bank’s RDC policies and fees.  This information will generally be on the bank’s app or website.  “For example, find out if there is a limit on the total dollar amount or number of checks that you can deposit via RDC in a certain time period,” said Deborah Shaw, an FDIC senior technology specialist. 

Additionally, you should determine how long the bank requires you to keep the original check after you deposit it using RDC.

Confirm when the funds from your deposited check will be made available to you. Federal rules allow banking institutions to put a temporary “hold” on certain deposits, and require institutions to provide disclosures to customers stating when their funds will be available for withdrawal. “If you do not find this information on the bank’s app or website, talk to an employee,” said Luke W. Reynolds, Chief of the FDIC’s Outreach and Program Development Section. “Also confirm the cutoff time for deposits to be considered received that day; this may not be the same as the bank’s normal closing time.”

Take steps to avoid potential problems. RDC creates the risk that a check could be deposited more than once.  That could happen accidentally if, for example, a wife deposits a check electronically using RDC and then her spouse, not realizing that the check is already deposited, sees the paper check and deposits it at the bank.  Or, a fraudster could steal a check, alter it and attempt to deposit the funds. 

Shaw advises writing “for mobile deposit only” or “deposited” on the back of the paper check and securely storing the check for as long as required according to your bank’s policies.  After the bank’s recommended retention period ends, RDC users should shred the paper check.

Always monitor your accounts. As you would if you were depositing money any other way, make sure deposits and other transactions have been properly posted to your account. “You can check your account online or through the mobile app,” Shaw said. “Your bank also may provide email alerts about changes in account balances or unusual activity on your account.” She added that your bank also may be able to notify you by email or text message when RDC deposits are posted to your account or if there is a problem with a deposit.

For more help or information regarding remote deposits, contact your bank.