Monday, August 10, 2009

USAA Federal Savings Bank to allow customers to deposit checks by iPhone 
This is pretty cool!

The Internet has taken a lot of the paperwork out of banking, but there is no avoiding paper when someone gives you a check. Now one bank wants to let customers deposit checks immediately — through their phones.

USAA, a privately held bank and insurance company, plans to update its iPhone application this week to introduce the check deposit feature, which requires a customer to photograph both sides of the check with the phone’s camera.

“We’re essentially taking an image of the check, and once you hit the send button, that image is going into our deposit-taking system as any other check would,” said Wayne Peacock, a USAA executive vice president.

Customers will not have to mail the check to the bank later; the deposit will be handled entirely electronically, and the bank suggests voiding the check and filing or discarding it. But to reduce the potential for fraud, only customers who are eligible for credit and have some type of insurance through USAA will be permitted to use the deposit feature. Mr. Peacock said that about 60 percent of the bank’s customers qualify.

Innovation is a good thing! I wasn't too impressed with New York Times's line: "USAA is an unlikely innovator."

What the hell does THAT mean? USAA isn't from New York, Connecticut or California? Just why IS USAA an unlikely innovator, in the eyes of the NY Times?

No word on what the fee is, if any. It would seem that this would be much cheaper than processing a paper check.

Splash, out


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I know I can already deposit checks using my scanner for free, so I imagine there won't be a fee for this either. Just one of the many reasons I love USAA.
Sour grapes? Ignorance?

Since the base membership of USAA is the commissioned officer corps, it's highly probable that no one on t he NYT staff is eligible for membership, and they probably don't know anyone who is.

(Caveat, not sure if that restriction holds for the Bank. I'm merely an extremely satisfied customer of over 27 years)
Yeah, that's the base membership. They've expanded membership eligibility to include EMs over the years, but I don't recall the exact criteria.

Stupid personal finance trick: You don't neccessarily have to be a veteran to open an account with the USAA Federal Savings Bank. But once you do, you get a USAA number and you can then 'back door' your way to a number of USAA benefits.

CAVEAT: I haven't verified it myself. But a financial pro I respect a lot pointed it out on another professional forum I frequent.
"unlikely innovator" my ass. USAA was used as a case study in my Masters program (about 5 years ago or more) because they were not just a leader in their own industry but a leader in all industries in the 'paperless' office and in 'customer resource management'. They continue to lead the field today.

The question you ask is key - why do the NYTwits call them unlikely innovators when they are, in fact, proven innovators? Maybe it's because the HQ is in Texas...

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