Deposit Checks With an iPhone

Man (42 years) depositing a check with a phone.
••• Dan Hallman / Getty Images

iPhone users at some banks can deposit checks simply by taking a picture of the check (and the same is true for other smartphones, including Android phones). Select banks and credit unions offer the ability to use your phone’s camera and a secure application to save a trip to the branch. Learn how the process works and how to deposit checks with your iPhone.

Can I Deposit Checks With My iPhone?

The main challenge to depositing checks with an iPhone is finding a bank that will let you. After that, it’s easy. Plenty of small banks and credit unions offer the service while several of the larger banks lag. Simply having an iPhone doesn’t mean you can deposit checks with it -- your bank has to provide an application and offer the service.

To deposit checks with your iPhone, get an application for your bank. Call your bank’s customer service line or visit their website to find details about the application. If you’ve been using your bank’s application for a while, you may need to upgrade to a newer version to deposit checks.

How It Works

First, endorse the check so that it can be deposited into your account. Your bank may have specific instructions on how to endorse, and they may even pop up on-screen as you deposit a check with your iPhone.

Open your banking application, and choose the "Deposit" option (or something similar). You may have to provide information, such as the amount of the check, or it may read that from the check automatically -- it depends on your bank and the check writer’s handwriting.

Next, take photos of the check -- front and back. Most iPhone applications for depositing checks make it easy by telling you what to do, and when. A check-shaped window will appear, and you’ll center the check in that window. As you snap a picture, your iPhone’s camera shutter should confirm that a photo was taken.

After you take photos, confirm that they are clear. Again, your banking application will most likely guide you through this process, asking for verification before submitting the images. You may have to verify the account number and routing numbers, which the app will automatically read from the check. If something doesn’t look right, you can always take another picture.

If everything looks okay, you can submit the transaction. Make sure you receive a confirmation from your bank on-screen or via email. If you don’t get a confirmation, call the bank immediately and let them know what happened.

Finally, be sure not to deposit the check another time. Once you deposit a check with your iPhone, it’s off to the bank for processing. Your bank should provide instructions on how to handle the check: write "VOID" or "ELECTRONICALLY PRESENTED" on it, keep it for 15 days, destroy it, and so on. Follow these instructions to protect yourself and to avoid legal problems.

Is It Safe?

You may wonder if it’s safe to deposit checks with your iPhone. Any reputable bank will be sure that communication is encrypted and that thieves will not be able to pull your account details out of the airwaves. Depositing a check is no riskier than viewing your account -- you’ve already provided your login credentials. Making check deposits is more risky for the person who wrote the check because their account and routing numbers are being photographed and transmitted (but again, the risk is negligible and perhaps not as great as the risk of the check getting lost in the mail or on the way to the branch).