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Remote Check Deposit Issues - Potential Problems

What Can Go Wrong?


Remote check deposit allows you to deposit checks without getting them to the branch. You make deposits by taking pictures as opposed to visiting a branch or sending checks through the mail. Remote deposits make life easy and often work flawlessly, but there are a few issues to be aware of.

Image Quality

A common complaint about remote check deposit is image quality. Deposits won’t be accepted unless the bank has a clear image of the check and your endorsement. It can be maddeningly difficult to get images accepted, so be sure your equipment is clean and relatively new. Unfortunately, some of the newest machines are a little too good (high resolution) and that can also cause rejections.

It kind of defeats the purpose when you have to scan a check several times or take multiple photographs. At some point, the time invested and frustration make it more appealing to go to a branch or mail the checks in.


Hold times are also an issue with remote deposit. A portion of your deposit should be available right away, but the rest may be locked up for several days or more. It may not matter to you if you don’t need the funds right away, but don’t be surprised to see hold times extended beyond what you see in the branch.

Risk increases because you’re converting the check into an image yourself (instead of having the bank do it). Don’t take it personally -- it’s just that the technology is relatively new and scammers can be crafty. Not to mention the fact that you may re-deposit the check elsewhere after sending an image to the bank (Note: this is illegal and you should be careful not to do it).

Limited Availability

Remote check deposit is a great way to save time and resources. Unfortunately, it’s not available to everybody. Your bank may not offer the service, or you may not have the technology needed to use it. iPhones and Android devices seem to be favored among banks rolling the service out for the first time, and that’s not expected to change. To use remote check deposit, you may have to switch banks or get a new phone.

If your bank does not offer remote deposit, you still might be able to make deposits at ATMs. It's not quite the same, but more options are always nice.


For the most part, remote check deposit is secure. Communication is encrypted so that nobody but the bank can understand what you send. However, there are still risks. Be sure that you get your smartphone applications from a reliable source. With Android devices in particular, you’ll want to avoid imposter applications that can steal your account information.

If you use a computer and scanner to deposit checks, basic security rules apply. If your computer has a virus or unwanted program that steals information, you’re taking a risk when you login to any online banking site. Keep your security applications up-to-date and be careful what you click on.

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