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Are you familiar with mobile check deposits?
They’re a super convenient way to deposit your paper checks into your checking or savings account without leaving the house! This means you can deposit checks without going to the bank. Here’s a look at what mobile check deposits entail and tips on how to complete the process.
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What is a mobile check deposit?
Mobile check deposits can save you time by depositing your checks remotely, no matter your location or time of day. Instead of making a routine trip to the bank, you can simply take a picture of the front and back of the check with your smartphone or mobile device, and deposit it using a mobile app.
This can help you save time while also checking an item off of your to-do list. Using mobile check deposit, you can deposit various types of checks into your bank account, including:
- Personal checks
- Business checks
- Cashier’s checks
- Government-issued checks, such as tax refunds and stimulus checks
How to deposit a check with online banking
Wondering how to deposit a check online? If you’re new to mobile check deposits, it’s not as difficult as you might think. Take a look at these 5 tips that can help you make the most of this feature — and save you valuable time.
1. Check your bank’s mobile check deposit guidelines
The first thing you need to do is make sure the organization you’re banking with is set up for mobile check deposits. The easiest way to do that is to check your mobile banking app or the financial institution’s website for more information.
When you log into mobile banking, head to the menu and look for the mobile check deposit option. If you see it listed, then your app should allow you to deposit checks online.
Before you try to use mobile check deposit, make sure your account is enabled to do so. While the feature may be available in mobile banking, you may still have to register first or sign up.
2. Review mobile check deposit limits
If you know that you’re able to deposit a check through mobile banking, the next step is to determine whether there are any limits on deposits.
For example, some financial institutions impose limits on the number of checks you can deposit per day or per week. There may also be daily, weekly, or monthly limits on the total dollar amount you can add to your bank account using mobile check deposit.
These limits are typically tied to any of the following factors:
- Account type
- Deposit history
- Age of the account
You can usually find out about limits if you read your bank account’s terms and conditions. You can also check your online banking website and look for a section on frequently asked questions. Chime offers Mobile Check Deposit to account holders who have received at least one direct deposit of $1 or more from an employer or payroll provider, government benefits, or a gig economy payer via Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfer or Original Credit Transaction (OCT).
What if your check is outside mobile check deposit limits? In this case, you’ll need to find a work-around for depositing it into your bank account. With online bank accounts, for instance, you may have to deposit the money to a checking account at a brick-and-mortar bank, and then move it into your other account via an ACH transfer.
3. Get your check ready for deposit
Depositing a check online isn’t exactly the same as depositing it at a physical bank or ATM. You still have to sign the back of the check for the deposit to be valid. You should also make sure all the information on the front of the check is correct.
Depending on your bank account, you may also have to provide additional details on the back to denote that it’s a mobile deposit. For example, you may have to add “for mobile deposit” or “for remote deposit capture” below your signature, if instructed to do so.
Also, make sure the writing on the check is legible. Your mobile device needs to be able to “read” the check via the camera when you’re ready to deposit it.
4. Deposit your check via mobile banking
After following these steps, you’re now ready to deposit a check online!
The process can be different depending on your particular bank account. But generally, here’s what you need to do:
- Log into your mobile banking app.
- Find the mobile check deposit option in the menu.
- Select the account you want to deposit the check into (i.e., checking or savings).
- Enter the check amount.
- Snap a photo of the check — front and back. It’s important to make sure you get a clear image of both sides of the check. Otherwise, you may have trouble completing a mobile check deposit. If the images come out fuzzy or blurry, clean off your camera lens. And, make sure you take photos in an area with good lighting so your camera can pick up details on your check.
- Once your device records the images of your check, review the deposit details. Make sure that you’ve signed the check, selected the right account, and entered the correct amount.
5. Wait for the check to clear
After you deposit a check online, you may want to use the money right away. But, you’ll need to wait for the check to clear in your bank account first before accessing the funds.
In the meantime, don’t throw the check away. Why? Because there may be a hiccup with your mobile check deposit. If you don’t see the deposit in your account within a week, you may need to call your financial institution to find out what’s happening. You may also need to try making the deposit again.
Once your mobile check deposit clears in your bank account, you can then write ‘void’ on the check and file it away to keep for your records.
How to endorse a check with mobile deposit
An improperly endorsed check exposes you to fraud and can cause unnecessary delays.
If you’ve never endorsed a check before, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to endorse a check for mobile deposit:
- Verify the check’s information: Before endorsing the check, confirm that it has the correct amount, payee name, and date.
- Locate the endorsement area: The endorsement area is usually on the back of a check. It includes a header that reads “Endorse check here,” along with three to five grey lines where the endorsement goes. Below the grey lines, you’ll see a solid black line with the instruction: “Do not write, stamp, or sign below this line. Reserved for financial institution use.” Try your best to keep your endorsement above the black line to avoid any issues with the deposit.
- Provide your signature and restrictive endorsement: Besides signing your name, most banks will require you to include a restrictive endorsement like “For mobile deposit only” below your signature.
- Check for errors: Before uploading pictures of your check onto your mobile banking app, double-check to see if you’ve made any mistakes with the endorsement. Also, make sure your handwriting is legible to avoid misinterpretations.
How long does mobile check deposit take?
When you make a mobile check deposit, the money is usually available in one to two days, although it can take up to five business days (excluding federal holidays). Each financial institution has different policies; some may delay when your funds are available and place the check on hold.
Banks place a hold on checks for various reasons, including:
- The deposit was made late in the day
- The amount exceeded their daily limits
- The account has a history of overdrafts
If you need the funds from your check available immediately, this is possible with some financial institutions for a fee. Read more about how long mobile deposit can take.
To avoid delays and skip the fee, make sure you deposit your check correctly, endorse it (sign the back), and be aware of your bank’s funds availability processing times for mobile check deposits.
Are mobile check deposits available instantly?
Mobile check deposits are subject to verification and are not always available to use or withdraw immediately. Just like a regular check, your bank can place a hold on the funds that you deposit using your mobile device. A common reason for this delay is just depositing your check too late in the day. If you miss the cutoff time for mobile check deposits, then you might have to wait an extra business day for the check to clear and to use the money.
Mobile check deposits may also be delayed if you deposit on a holiday. Banks cannot process deposits on federal and bank holidays, so deposits that would otherwise post on these holidays will be delayed until the following business day.
Is mobile check deposit safe to use?
You should always ensure that the banking app you are downloading to complete a mobile check deposit is reputable and trustworthy. Otherwise, you open yourself up to fraud and other financial issues. Typically, you’ll find directions to your bank’s mobile app directly on their website.
If you’re concerned about security risks with making a mobile banking deposit, there are other ways to keep your private information safe, including:
- Avoiding public Wi-Fi when accessing your mobile banking app
- Utilizing unique passwords and updating them regularly
- Locking your smartphone or mobile device using a passcode or facial recognition
Should I hold onto my paper check?
Although making a mobile check deposit shouldn’t take more than a minute, you should hold on to the physical check until the deposit clears. That way, you can answer questions from the bank should there be a problem with your mobile deposit.
Taking advantage of your bank’s mobile check deposit feature can save you a ton of time in the long run. Although it may take time to learn the process, the time you save will be well worth the learning curve.
Signing up for direct deposit can also save you time. Direct deposit enables recurring payments from your employer or government to go directly into your bank account. However, mobile check deposit comes in super handy if you receive paper checks regularly.
Check out Chime’s Early Direct Deposit³ feature and sign up today to get your money faster and enjoy effortless online banking!