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Depositing Checks? Use Your Smartphone

By Sarah Coffey, Boston Business Journal, Financial Reporter
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BOSTON (CBS) – G. Bradley , owner of Plymouth heating and cooling company Beantown AC, saves a few trips to the bank each week using his smartphone’s mobile banking application to take pictures of customer checks and instantly deposit them with Rockland Trust.

“It’s honestly one of the best services since the ATM,” said Bradley, who has two employees, works 12 hours a day and doesn’t have a lot of time left over to do administrative work.

“It really keeps me from having to go to the bank at all. I can get my checks into the bank in a day or two, and it’s minimized the amount of bounced checks I have to deal with. It’s really streamlined the process.”

More Massachusetts banks and credit unions are offering mobile check deposits, letting customers use their mobile phones to take pictures of paper checks to deposit money.

Under the system, a phone sends to the bank electronically the deposit amount and the check’s routing and deposit numbers. The deposit can be posted to the account within minutes.

Marlborough-based Digital Federal Credit Union has more than 70,000 of its 354,000 members signed up for mobile check cashing.

On March 23, DCU the surpassed the $1 billion dollar mark in remote deposits, which included both checks scanned using a home computer as well as smartphone deposits.

Last year, more than 439,000 checks were processed via mobile check deposit.

The service is “relatively inexpensive” for the bank to offer, DCU spokesman John LaHair told the Boston Business Journal.

Expenses include developing the software and paying the processing vendor, Burlington-based Vertifi Software LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Eastern Corporate Federal Credit Union (EasCorp).

“It’s a way to not only capture money but to capture hearts and minds. Who doesn’t like the convenience to be able to literally point and click and deposit their check?” LaHair said.

“It saves time and money, and they have almost immediate access to their funds in less than two minutes rather than wait for a check to be delivered and deposited manually. It not only saves money on our end, but saves money on the consumer end.”

None of the state’s biggest five banks — Bank of America, Citizens Bank, Sovereign Bank, TD Bank and Eastern Bank — offers smartphone check cashing.

In Massachusetts, mostly credit unions offer the service, including Bridgewater, Gardner-based GFA Federal, Hanscom, Jeanne D’Arc, Liberty Bay, North Andover-based Merrimack Valley, Quincy, Waltham-based RTN, Sharon, Salem-based St. Jean’s, Tremont, and Worcester-based Webster First.

Nationally, Chase Bank offers phone check deposits, as does PNC, Charles Schwab, State Farm, USAA, and PayPal.

Lisa van der Pool of the Boston Business Journal can be seen weekdays at 6 a.m. on WBZ-TV.

You can follow Lisa on Twitter at @lvanderpool.

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