Last year, NetBank was one of the first banks to talk about allowing business customers to deposit checks directly via scanner, so called remote image capture or remote deposit capture.
NetBank has yet to go live, but several others have including: First Tennessee (the first to go live in March 2004), Bank of New York (announced 08 Nov 2004, see inset), HSBC (announced 08 Nov 2004), Wachovia (announced 13 Dec 2004), BB&T (announced 10 March 2005, live 01 April 2005).
Also, know to be implementing or testing: PNC, E*Trade Bank, Bank of America, LaSalle Bank, JPMorgan, BB&T, Mellon, Citibank, Key Bank, Zions, and Glenview State Bank (IL).
Now you can add Wells Fargo to that list.
Last week, the online banking pioneer announced its extremely well named remote deposit capture service, Desktop Deposit. The service allows businesses to scan checks into their PCs using a USB device from the bank. No word yet on pricing and availability.
Remote deposit capture, either at the customer's PC or at a scanner-equipped ATM, has the potential to negate one of the branches last roles, check cashing. It could be especially appealing to small businesses who benefit from the obvious time savings (no more trip to the bank) and better cash flow (no stashing checks away until the weekly bank run).
But the more important benefit to businesses are the improved record keeping and easier resolution of billing disputes. Images of deposited items are available immediately online and can be easily searched, retrieved, and forwarded, should a question arise later. Finally, the business retains the original paper item for a back-up paper trail.
And given the large value to the business, banks should be able to increase checking account and/or online banking fees for remote-capture clients, thus profiting from a process that wrings paper checks out of the system.