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August 11, 2021

Now you can deposit a cheque with your cell phone

By Jason Buckland, Sympatico / MSN Finance

In the age of online banking and direct deposit, getting a cheque in your bank account these days is actually kind of annoying.

Admittedly, physically going to your local branch is fast becoming a thing of the past and – depending on where you stand – that’s either a good or bad thing.

But no matter how much we’d like to avoid the teller/ATM lines, you’re SOL when somebody hands you a cheque. Prepare to get off your butt.

Well, not so fast, says one bank out of the States. USAA, a private bank with about 7.2 million customers, has been first out of the gate with a mobile cheque deposit system that lets customers send in pictures of their cheque through the iPhone.

The way it works is, users simply snap a photo of both sides of the cheque and email it to USAA through the bank’s newly updated iPhone app.

The cheque makes its way, like any other, to USAA’s deposit-taking system and the credit then pops up in your account once the funds are verified.

Afterward, you void the real cheque or tear it up or whatever you’d do and go on with your day. Bing-o, bang-o. You’re done.

What hasn’t been made clear is how customers are supposed to feel safe performing this operation (I know a generation of account holders who would be terrified by the ingenuity), but USAA plans to cover itself against fraud by only accepting mobile deposits from users eligible for credit through the bank.

And I guess it’s with that security provision that this thing could actually take off. The New York Times admits USAA may seem like an “unlikely innovator” in the new practise because of its modest company size, but predicts more banks will soon follow suit with a similar mobile deposit system.

The question is, would you feel comfortable using one?



Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...