USAA iPhone Check Deposits

This is just awesome:

J. Michael Short for USAA  Customers of USAA can photograph both sides of the check, send the images through an app and then void the check. The Internet has taken a lot of the paperwork out of banking, but there is no avoiding paper when someone gives you a check. Now one bank wants to let customers deposit checks immediately — through their phones.

USAA, a privately held bank and insurance company, plans to update its iPhone application this week to introduce the check deposit feature, which requires a customer to photograph both sides of the check with the phone’s camera.

“We’re essentially taking an image of the check, and once you hit the send button, that image is going into our deposit-taking system as any other check would,” said Wayne Peacock, a USAA executive vice president.

Customers will not have to mail the check to the bank later; the deposit will be handled entirely electronically, and the bank suggests voiding the check and filing or discarding it. But to reduce the potential for fraud, only customers who are eligible for credit and have some type of insurance through USAA will be permitted to use the deposit feature. Mr. Peacock said that about 60 percent of the bank’s customers qualify.

It’s amazing that someone hasn’t implemented this before now, actually.  Digital cameras have become so ubiquitous that most of us have them with our mobile phones.  And it’s got to be cheaper for the bank than processing paper checks or dealing personally with customers.

I’ve been insuring my cars with USAA since 1988 and have had a bank account (for purposes of obtaining a credit card) since 1991.  This might make it worth actually using them as my primary bank once it extends beyond iPhone users.

via Lifehacker

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Steve Verdon says:

    Sounds quite nice, hope it spreads and comes to my bank soon too.

  2. PD Shaw says:

    Isn’t USAA only available to service men and women and their families? The bank usually polls very high in Consumer Reports and other places, but I’ve always wondered about the various dynamics of serving a select group.

  3. DC_Loser says:

    USAA banking services are open to the public. Only their primary insurance business are limited to military members and their families.

  4. John Burgess says:

    I’ve had USAA since I became a commissioned Foreign Service Officer, 30 years ago. Their group is a bit wider than only the military, but they do try to keep it focused to maintain a better-than-average risk pool. I’ve used/am using their auto, house, and rental coverage and am very pleased with both service and prices.

    My son uses USAA for not only insurance, but as his primary bank as well. He’s eligible for membership because he was covered by USAA policies when a dependent. He’s been able, for the past several years, to fax images of both sides of his checks to USAA for deposit. As he’s also an iPhone user, he might take that up instead.

    USAA has, since 1988, been a mostly paperless office. (Some people are still attached to paper, after all.) Incoming paper is scanned into their systems then destroyed. They print things that go out to customers, but don’t have any floating around their offices.

  5. Hoodlumman says:

    I married into a USAA account holder and their insurance rates are excellent. And I can vouch for their customer service.

    Since they have no bank branches, they’ve been set up to deposit checks via a scanner for a while. This is just the next logical step.

  6. Karen says:

    USAA charges more for insurance, but at the end of the year you get a “subscribers savings” payment that gives you a rebate if claims have been lower than expected. It has no branches, which is weird, and we used to do all our deposits by mail. We use the deposit@home from our computer, and it works great.

    They didn’t take bailout money, either. They basically “know where you live” if you try to not pay balances.

    USAA rocks. Don’t tell the democrats. they will take it away from us.

  7. Now if only they make a Palm Pre version I’ll be happy. Well, ecstatic. I’m already very happy with USAA.

    Deposit @ Home, the “scan your checks to deposit service” they already have, is really clunky under Mac OS X – no fault of USAA, it’s just that OS X doesn’t seem to have a TWAIN-style scanner API for Java.

  8. Jeffrey W. Baker says:

    USAA has accepted images in lieu of checks since at least 1999, when I started using that feature (with a scanner). The only news here is they made an iphone application that streamlines the submission.

  9. Houston says:

    Been a member for over 25 years. They still call me “Commander” and I haven’t been active duty in nearly 15 years. How’s that for customer service?

    On-line check deposits, and I haven’t had to mail a check to a vender or to pay a bill in nearly a decade.

    And I disagree on their insurance rates – mine are untouchable by other venders. It’s a great way to end cold calls from insurance companies – I just say “I have USAA” and they say, “OK, never mind.”

  10. S in Severn says:

    EXCELLENT services, it was the best thing I ever did, (start banking with them) We do both ‘paper’ and ‘paperless’ banking with them.

    Our daughter, not military, is a member because of us. She’s moved to several different states looking for work and USAA has been extremely portable and helpful. She also gets a ‘local’ bank account and right now has been trying to close an account in another state for 4 months now!

    I think her habit if getting a local account will stop because of the hassles.

  11. Jay Solo says:

    USAA has had scanning of checks to them directly for years, but it was so sensitive about detecting where exactly things were on the back of a check that we couldn’t make it work. The iPhone thing is cool, and sounds like they’ve… improved matters. But it’s a difference of degree and precise method rather than a new thing per se.