iPhone App Allows USAA Bank Check Deposits

USAA, a private bank and insurer, is updating its Apple iPhone app so account holders can simply photograph both sides of a check and then deposit it straight to an account. According to The New York Times, 1 million of USAA's 7.2 million customers use cell phones to access their bank accounts.

USAA, a privately held bank and insurance company geared primarily toward military personnel and their families, will be updating its Apple iPhone application the week of Aug. 10 to enable account holders to deposit a check by simply photographing both sides with an iPhone, The New York Times is reporting.
"We're essentially taking an image of the check, and once you hit the send button, that image is going into our deposit-taking system as any other check would," USAA Executive Vice President Wayne Peacock told the Times.
To reduce the chance of fraud, only customers who have insurance or available credit through USAA-which the Times reports is approximately 60 percent of the bank's customers-are eligible to use the deposit feature. Once the check is scanned, the account holder can destroy or file it away.
The Times points out that USAA, although smaller than the top 20 banks in the United States, is a logical candidate to offer such a capability, given that it has only one brick-and-mortar branch, in San Antonio, and many of its 7.2 million customers are deployed around the world.
Three years ago, USAA similarly began allowing customers to scan checks using a home scanner, and the iPhone application seems to be a natural extension of that option.
Are Bank of America and other major banks likely to follow suit soon?
"I would imagine they would follow soon," said John Spooner, an analyst with Technology Business Research. "The difficulty there, of course, is fraud protection. ... Though I think that's easy enough to check. No pun intended."
The free USAA application is available from the Apple App Store.