Remember the first time you logged into Home Banking, paid a bill online, obtained instant loan approval, or moved money between institutions via A2A? If you're like me, experiencing these capabilities were defining moments that forever would shift traditional banking transaction preferences (and expectations) to the online channel.
Well, for me, this just happened again.
I just had the opportunity to try USAA's new check Deposit@Home (see USAA site and flash demo) and I can't say enough positive about the experience. I am now convinced this will be a new sought after online capability in 2007 (perhaps especially given the focus on share growth). My educated guess is that this will become extremely popular in the coming months as more and more financial institutions recognize the opportunities to add significant convenience to members and further reduce high cost in-branch check deposit transactions.
You do need a scanner which will limit some adoption in the short-term (I used a 2 year old $50 scanner from BestBuy...$10 now on eBay)...however, for many the time/effort saved will be reason enough to purchase a scanner.
The process couldn't be more simple (see my screen shots 1 - 2 - 3 - 4):
1) Enter details about the check, 2) scan the front of the check, 3) scan the back of the check, 4) confirm the transaction, 5) destroy the check. Done. The entire process took just a minute and I never left my seat or sealed an envelope.
This process differs from some recently popular trust-based web deposit services that allow members to type in the check details online (and show the deposit in the account) but still require members to send the check in the mail for proper processing. I argue that at least in the short-term these 'hybrid' online deposit services (like the model provided by PSECU's UPost) will continue to have a higher adoption given the scanner requirement of USAA's Deposit@Home. Time will tell if members are willing to buy new equipment for enhanced banking capability. But, for me, I'm not going back.
Another milestone, as best as I can tell, is that this represents the first time this capability has been put in the hands of average consumer/member accounts. There are a few previous examples among credit unions (eg. Visions Credit Union) and some banks offering this kind of remote scanning for business accounts but these services typically used expensive Check 21 compliant hardware and software -- limiting roll-out only to certain businesses.
So, scratch off another big item on the shrinking list of key transaction capabilities that can't be done easily (or fully) via 24x7 online banking. We may be waiting for "CashWithdrawl@Home" for some time.