The USAA bank serves millions of military personnel and their families around the world. Soon those members will be able to deposit a check simply by snapping a picture on their iPhone.
The new feature will be available in the next release of the USAA’s iPhone application that will be released in the coming weeks. All a user has to do is snap a picture of both sides of the check and hit submit.
The images then go into the USAA’s own back-end check imaging solution just as it would after being deposited at the bank. This is the first time that a bank has given customers direct access to their imaging systems.
Since USAA customers are spread across the country and many are deployed overseas, they don’t generally have access to a local banking branch. This new feature shortens the time it takes to deposit a check dramatically over mailing a copy to the bank’s processing center.
Still the USAA is an unexpected source of innovation in regard to electronic banking. The organization traditionally services the banking and insurance needs of American troops- not exactly a glamorous business.
In this case, necessity is certainly the mother of invention. The USAA services the vast majority of its customers by mail and Internet because they are spread across the globe.
It may still seem slightly risky to give customers direct access to the bank’s check imaging system. The risk of fraudulent activity or attempted hacking is much greater with this new approach.
That’s why the USAA is piloting the program with customers that have a line of credit or insurance policy with the bank. A senior executive with the firm indicated that this represents about 60 percent of the bank’s customers.
It will be interesting to see whether mobile check deposits become more common in the future. Would you deposit checks via your mobile phone rather than walking down to the bank branch or ATM?