Banking » Guides » The Step-by-Step Guide to Mobile Check Deposits
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The Step-by-Step Guide to Mobile Check Deposits

Mobile check deposit offers a quick way deposit a check and save a lot of time. Here are the steps to take and how to streamline the process
Author: Baruch Mann (Silvermann)
Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
Interest Rates Last Update: April 15, 2024
The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.
Author: Baruch Mann (Silvermann)
Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
Interest Rates Last Update: April 15, 2024

The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.

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What Is Mobile Check Deposit?

In the past, if you received a check, you would be faced with the option of finding an ATM that accepts check deposits or waiting in line to see a teller at your local bank branch. Either scenario was not particularly appealing, as many of us simply didn’t want to waste our lunch break doing banking. However, all this changed with the advent of mobile check deposits.

Mobile check deposit is a feature on many bank apps. This tool allows you to use your mobile device to deposit checks into your bank account. This means that you can deposit a check from anywhere, whether you’re sitting at home, at work or even on vacation.

Most mobile check deposit tools allow you to deposit personal checks, cashier’s checks, government issued checks and business checks. So, if you receive a tax refund or a refund check from a business you should be able to pay it into your account using mobile check deposit.

However, some banks may or may not allow you to use this feature for third party checks or other types of checks such as foreign checks, so you should check the policies of your financial institution.

use your mobile device to deposit checks
Mobile check deposit requires to take photos of the front and back of your check (Photo by Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock)

How to Mobile Deposit a Check With Your Smartphone

Mobile check deposit uses remote deposit capture technology. Essentially, when you photograph your check, it is like scanning a document or photo to have a digital copy on your computer.

Fortunately, using mobile deposit is simple and you can complete the process in a few simple steps.

1. Set Up Your Bank App

If you don’t already use the bank app for managing your account, now is the time to download the appropriate app to your mobile device. You can usually find the link for the app on your bank’s website or alternatively, you can search the Apple Store and Google Play.

Once the app is downloaded to your device, you will need to create your unique login. This may be the same as your internet banking login or you may need to create a new password, depending on the specific bank app.

2. Log In and Find Mobile Check Deposit

Once you have your login set up, you will need to log into the app and browse through the menus and functions. You’re looking for a link, button or menu for mobile check deposit. This could be under the account funding options or it may be a separate function.

Again, this will depend on the app you’re using, but most bank apps are designed to be intuitive, so it should only take you a few minutes to find the appropriate section.

3. Endorse Your Check

The next step is to sign the back of your check. This is usually the same as you would if you were going to deposit the check at your local branch. However, some banks require you to use specific phrases. For example, Bank of America requires you to sign the check and write “for deposit only at Bank of America.”

If you’re unsure, there should be an instructions page within the mobile check deposit feature on the app that provides guidance on how to endorse a check.

4. Complete the Mobile Check Deposit Steps

Now, you’re ready for the actual mobile check deposit process. You’ll need to complete all of the mandatory fields. This may include:

  1. The check amount
  2. The account information for the receiving account
  3. The payer of the check.

5. Take Photos

The next step is to take photos of the front and back of your check when prompted using the camera on your mobile device. While this is quite simple, there are a few things you’ll need to check to ensure that there are no issues when the check is processed.

  • Ensure the guide box closely outlines your check: In most cases, the app will automatically take a snapshot when your check is in the box, but you need to ensure the check is fully in the box.
  • Use a dark background: It is a good idea to place the check on a dark background, as most checks are white or offwhite. A dark background can make the details of the check easier to read.
  • Ensure the photos are clear: You’ll need to ensure that the pictures are clear and all the details are legible. This is also a good time to check that the signature is legible and the amount of the check in words and figures is the same.
  • Double check the pictures before accepting the images: Don’t just click submit, once you have taken your pictures. Take a moment to double check the pictures.

6. Review and Submit

Once you have accepted the pictures, the app will provide you with a review screen to confirm the deposit details. Read through and if you’re satisfied, tap submit to process the deposit. The check information will then be encrypted and transmitted to your bank.

7. Retain the Check

Although the check is now being processed, it is important to keep hold of the paper check. Your bank will notify you when the deposit has been confirmed. If something has gone wrong with the mobile check deposit, you may need to deposit the paper check, so be sure to keep it safe.

Bear in mind that just as when you deposit the check at an ATM or teller, your check may bounce. So, even if you receive a confirmation that the check has gone through, it is a good idea to keep hold of the check, so you can chase payment if there is a problem.

how to deposit a check with your mobile
After you have completed the mobile check deposit, keep hold of the paper check after (Photo by Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock)

How to Endorse a Check for Mobile Deposit

Endorsing a check for mobile deposit is quite similar to how you endorse it when you deposit a check via an ATM or at your local branch. However, there may be some differences.

You’ll need to sign the check in the payee section on the top of the reverse side of the check. Some banks have a restrictive endorsement such as “For mobile deposit only to X Bank account.”

However, some checks feature the mobile deposit language on the back. So, this type of phrase may be printed on the reverse of the check along with a checkbox. In this case, you don’t need to write out the phrase, only check the box.

Bear in mind that if you skip this required endorsement, it may cause a delay in receiving the money into your account as you may need to endorse the check and redeposit it.

How Long Does Mobile Check Deposit Take

After you have completed the mobile check deposit check steps, the check should appear on your account the following business day.

Depending on the bank policies, some or all of the money may not be accessible at this time. Some banks allow a portion of the check to be available that same day, but they may place a hold on the funds for up to seven working days until the check has cleared.

Most banks will provide information on the fund availability after mobile check deposit on their help sections or FAQ pages. So, you should check the details for your specific bank.

What Happens if You Mobile Deposit a Fake Check?

Fake checks are a fairly common scam, so if you deposit a fake check, there are potentially some serious consequences.

Once the check has been found to be fraudulent, it is likely the amount will be charged back to your bank account. You may also incur an additional fee from your bank. You may also incur an overdraft fee if you’ve already spent some or all of the funds.

In a worst case scenario, your bank may freeze or close your account due to fraudulent or suspicious activity. If the bank suspects intent to pass a fake check, they may involve the police, which means you may face criminal penalties. However, victims of scams are unlikely to face any misdemeanor fines or felony consequences.

Since there are some serious consequences of depositing a fake check, it is important to try to minimize the potential damage by taking quick action. If you suspect the check is fake after you’ve deposited it, you should report the fraud to your bank and try to stop the payment. Your bank is likely to work with you to minimize the damage and try to thwart the scammer.

What to Do With the Check After Mobile Deposit

As we touched on above, it is important to retain the check until you are confident that it has been correctly processed and has not bounced. You should keep the check in a safe place, so you have a paper copy, just in case you need to take it to your local branch for any particular reason.

Once the check has been processed, it is a good idea to check your bank’s specific recommendations about destroying the check. Many banks require that you shred the check as soon as it has been processed and cleared. However, other banks recommend keeping hold of the check for a certain amount of time.

After you have deposited your check, you’ll usually get an email receipt confirmation, and another informing you of the deposit being accepted. If you don’t receive these, ensure that your account balance reflects your deposit before you take any action.

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FAQs

In most cases, yes, banks will accept third party checks via mobile check deposit. However, it is a good idea to check the specific policies of your bank to ensure they will accept a third party check.

If you’ve accidentally mobile deposited a check twice, the money from the second deposit is likely to be deducted from your account.

If you realize you’ve made a mistake, it is a good idea to notify your bank, as if you don’t they may suspect fraudulent activity, which can lead to issues and problems.

Most banks will accept government issued checks, such as tax refund checks. So, you should have no issues mobile depositing your tax refund check.

You’ll need to sign the check as you would at the bank teller. However, some banks require that you also write “for deposit only at x bank.”

It may be possible to cancel your mobile check deposit, depending on your bank’s policies. However, since the deposit will typically be accepted the following business day, there is a limited window.

Some banks allow third party checks to be mobile deposited, but it depends on your bank’s policies. Even if your bank accepts checks signed over to you, there may be special requirements that you will have to meet.

In most cases, you should have no problem mobile depositing a cashier’s check. However, it is a good idea to check your specific bank’s policies.

Cash app has a white pillar sign which you’ll need to tap to initiate the deposit feature. From there, you’ll need to select “check” and follow the prompts for the check amount and details, along with taking photos of the front and back of the check.

Depending on the check, the check you’ve deposited via mobile check deposit is usually available within one to three business days. However, it may take up to five business days.

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Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
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