How Mobile Check Deposit Works

Make deposits the easy way through this convenient banking feature

Young Man Doing Remote Deposit Capture of Check
••• RyanJLane / Getty Images

As technology advances, banks often offer their customers a variety of features designed to make banking easier. Many banks offer mobile banking, digital wallet payments, peer-to-peer payments, and more. And one popular feature—mobile check deposit—allows customers to deposit checks through the bank's app without leaving home.

Learn more about using mobile check deposit to conveniently get money into your bank account.

What Is a Mobile Deposit?

Mobile deposit is a way to deposit a check without physically going to the bank. Using a mobile device with a camera—such as a smartphone or a tablet—it's easy to take a picture of the check, which is then uploaded through the bank's mobile app. Mobile deposits are usually cleared within a matter of days.

Steps for Making a Mobile Check Deposit

The method for depositing a check may vary slightly, depending on the financial institution. However, the following steps often apply.

Download the Mobile Banking App

First, make sure your bank or credit union offers mobile check deposit. If it does, the website will often provide a download link to the bank's mobile app. Download the app onto a mobile device with a camera—Android, iPhone, and Windows devices are typically supported. Start from your bank’s website to ensure you get the legitimate app rather than an impostor.

Endorse Your Check

Include any endorsement required by your bank. A signature in the payee section at the top of the back of the check may be sufficient, but your bank may require a restrictive endorsement that makes your intention clear.

Note

One example of such an endorsement is "For mobile deposit only to my [name of financial institution] account."

Some checks already contain the mobile deposit language on the back of the check, next to a checkbox; by checking the box, you may not need to write it out. Skipping endorsement could lead to delays in getting your money, and you may need to endorse and re-deposit it.

Enter Required Information

Depending on your bank’s app, you may need to provide a bit of information about the check during a mobile check deposit. This may include the amount of the check and the account in which you want to deposit the funds.

Take Photos

The app should guide you through the process of snapping photos of the check using your mobile device. You’ll need separate pictures of the front and back, along with your endorsement.

Tip

Some banking apps will automatically take a photo when the camera is positioned directly over the check. To ensure crisp images, make sure that all four corners of the check are within the frame shown in the app.

Verify and Submit Your Deposit

The app will likely automatically read the numbers printed in magnetic ink on the bottom of the check and ask you to verify that they have recorded correctly. If everything looks good, submit your request.

Wait for Confirmation

Don't destroy the check immediately after depositing it, as the bank may not have accepted it yet. Many banks suggest keeping it for a certain period of time; other banks recommend shredding the check as soon as it has cleared. Visit your bank's website to see what its recommendation is.

After you submit your deposit, you’ll usually get an email confirming receipt, and you may receive another one informing you that the deposit was accepted. Verify that your account balance reflects the deposit.

Tip

Until your check has been fully cleared, make a small mark on the check with a date to remind yourself that it has been deposited.

When Will Mobile Deposit Funds Be Available?

After you deposit your check, you will likely have to wait until at least the next business day before all of the money is accessible. Sometimes, banks will make a portion available the same day but place a hold on the remaining funds until a later date.

Mobile Check Deposit Restrictions

To reduce fraud, most banks set certain limits on deposits made with a mobile device. Learn more about the limitations commonly placed on mobile deposits.

Mobile Deposit Limits

There’s usually a maximum deposit limit that applies per day or per month, and there may also be a limit on the number of checks you can deposit. The dollar limit varies from bank to bank, but you can often deposit several thousand dollars per month.

You can usually view your deposit limits inside the app. For example, the Wells Fargo mobile app shows you your mobile deposit limit after you select an account and enter the desired deposit amount. Your limit may be raised if your account has been open for several years without any problems.

Permitted Deposit Types

You may only be able to make standard deposits, which are checks made payable directly to you, rather than those paid to someone else but signed over to you. If a check is payable to you as well as someone else, there’s a chance you can still deposit it in your individual account—if both of you endorse it and it’s not a large amount of money.

Note

Checks typically must be drawn on U.S. banks in U.S. currency. In addition, money orders are not always allowed.

Mobile Check Deposit Safety

Mobile check deposits are generally safe, and they can even prevent certain methods of fraud. It becomes much harder for a criminal to steal your check when you keep it with you and submit it for deposit quickly.

Reputable banks and credit unions use industry-standard encryption in their apps, so your account details should be safe. And check images and other data are not stored on your mobile device.

However, it’s best not to use public Wi-Fi for any sensitive information or anything requiring your bank password. It's better to use a secure wired or wireless connection—or your mobile phone’s data connection—if you want to avoid sharing sensitive information.