Front-End Image Capture Products: Only Fools Rush In

Being an early adopter can have its pitfalls. Be sure you’re considering the right issues and asking the right questions when it comes to image capture products.


Remember the debate some time ago concerning Beta vs. VHS? Or more recently Blue Ray vs HD? What about those who picked Beta or HD? How did their early investment decision pay off? Front-end image capture systems for branch, teller, merchant, home, ATM and Kiosk are available from lots of providers – but who can you trust?

Decisions you make today will impact you tomorrow. Your strategy is too important to develop without expert counsel. With many providers offering you the same solutions, who do you partner with through the current wave of offerings and in to the future of payment systems technology?

My advice is seek out a resource you can trust to help give you an honest view of all the options.

Applications & Vendors
How do you go about selecting a solution with the right features and functionality for your environment? Let's look at the main solutions:

  1. Branch Capture
    On the market for more than three years, the most common, and least expensive.
    • Are you looking for the software to be located within your own firewall or an ASP model where tellers access a remote server over the Internet?
    • Is the solution following the best practices workflow?
  2. Teller Capture
    More recent than Branch Capture but with fewer providers. Teller Capture is branch capture pushed out to the teller line. Items are captured as part of the deposit transaction.
    • A powerful application but more expensive.
    • Are the items indexed to the core system so the entire transaction can be archived?
  3. Merchant Capture
    This is important if you want to expand and attract new small business members. The capture process is pushed out of the branch entirely and to the merchant location.
    • The credit union still maintains the responsibilities of the Reconverting Bank .
    • Does the solution allow you to define unique business rules for each merchant account?
  4. Home Capture
    This is the big buzz today. All the same Reconverting Bank and contractual issues with Merchant Capture are also present here.
    • Most products on the market require additional back office infrastructure.
    • Is the process restricting your float?

These processes are at the back end of all capture products.

  1. Settlement
    • Will you be receiving 100% Immediate Availability of Funds?
    • Are you required to have a compensating balance account?
    • What type of account is it? Do you have to manually move funds to gain earnings?
  2. Day Two
    • How will you receive your return items?
    • Will you or your provider be working the increasing number of adjustments coming back through the clearing process?

Some considerations when reviewing providers:

  • How long have they provided front-end image capture?
  • Is this really their expertise or a secondary product line?
  • How many installations are required?
  • Do they have a focus on credit unions?
  • How well do their applications interface with you existing products and systems?
  • Do they listen to your specific needs and provide counsel rather than trying to sell you?
  • How do they disclose the full end-to-end cost?

Pricing – watch out for hidden costs!
Every solution you consider should include pricing for:

  • The front-end capture process
  • Image correcting process for read errors.
  • Back-end processing and settlement
  • Day two processes – returns, adjustments, research
  • Cost of hardware, software or license
  • Annual maintenance and call center support

Now go forth, select wisely and prosper! And remember – “Let's be careful out there!”

WesCorp is America 's largest corporate credit union with approximately $29 billion in assets and more than 1,000 member/owner credit unions throughout the United States . If you would like to learn more about Credit Union Outlook or any other aspect of WesCorp's commitment to credit union education, please call (800) 442-4366, or visit .




June 2, 2008


  • Great checklist and advice for anyone researching image capture or remote deposit products.
    research analyst
  • Everyone should print and use as a checklist!
  • Short and simple advice.
  • I hate ADs POSING as articles. Shame on you Wescorp!