Deposit Checks With an iPhone

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

Smartphones have become ubiquitous. The number of smartphone users in the United States is estimated to reach 298 million in 2021. The Pew Research Center reports that 81% of Americans currently own a smartphone, up from just 35% in 2011.

If you own an iPhone, you might complete banking transactions directly from it, such as transferring money or setting up automatic payments. You can even deposit checks simply by taking pictures of them through the banking app. Many banks and credit unions offer the ability to use your phone’s camera and a secure application to save a trip to the branch. If you’ve never done it before, here’s how the process works and what you need to do to deposit checks with your iPhone.

Can I Deposit Checks With My iPhone?

In the past, only select banks allowed customers to deposit checks from their iPhone, but mobile banking is now increasingly common. In fact, the Federal Reserve reported that about half of adults in the United States with bank accounts used a mobile phone to access their bank information. 

Not all banks and credit unions offer mobile banking apps or accept remote deposits.

Owning 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 its 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 to Deposit a Check in Six Steps

Depositing a check with your iPhone is surprisingly easy. You can complete the process in six simple steps: 

  1. Endorse the check: First, endorse the check so that it can be deposited into your account. Your bank may have specific instructions on how to endorse it properly. For example, Chase requires you to sign your name and write, “For electronic deposit at Chase only,” on the back of the check. The app may even have a pop up on-screen that will tell you what information is needed. 
  2. Click on deposit: 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 the app may automatically read that information from the check. depends on your bank and the check writer’s handwriting.
  3. Take photos: Next, take photos of both the front and back of the check 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 it. As you snap a picture, your iPhone’s camera shutter should confirm that a photo was taken. For best results, place the check on a dark background in a well-lit room. 
  4. Review the check information: 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.
  5. Submit the deposit: 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 to report what happened.
  6. File the check: 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. You may have to write, "Void or "Electronically presented" on it, keep it for 15 days, or destroy it. Follow those instructions to protect yourself and to avoid legal problems.

Is It Safe?

You may wonder whether 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 a check deposit is more risky for the person who wrote the check, because their account and routing numbers are being photographed and transmitted. However, the risk is negligible and perhaps not as significant as the risk of a paper check getting lost. That can happen whether it goes through the mail or you’re on your way to a branch.

Keep your device up-to-date, and update your bank's mobile app regularly to reduce the chances of problems.