About Ken Tumin

Ken Tumin founded the Bank Deals Blog in 2005 and has been passionately covering the best deposit deals ever since. He is frequently referenced by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications as a top expert, but he is first and foremost a fellow deal seeker and member of the wonderful community of savers that frequents DepositAccounts.

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Review of Ally Bank's eCheck Deposit


In mid-April Ally Bank announced its new remote deposit service called eCheck Deposit. This service allows you to scan and submit your check images electronically without having to mail in your checks. Currently, only invited Ally account holders (with either a checking, savings or money market account) have access to this service. The Ally blog mentioned that customers can increase the chance of being invited by calling Ally at 1-877-247-2559 and letting them know you're interested. This is what DepositAccounts.com reader virgquest did before she received the invitation. After giving the service a try, she was kind enough to email me a detailed review of her experience. She's a user of Chase's QuickDeposit, so she knows how a well-designed remote deposit service is suppose to work. Below is her review:

I received a check in the mail today and tried out Ally's new online deposit service. Starting from the Make a Deposit link on the nav bar, the first instruction was to endorse the check. This I had already done, but unlike Chase, Ally wanted me to add "For Ally eCheck Deposit only" and my account number below my signature, so I had to stop and look up the number.

On the next screen, I had to check two boxes verifying that the check was payable to me and that I endorsed it properly, then enter the deposit amount and select the deposit account. The next screen explained that they offer an automated check scanning wizard, but it's only available for Windows XP and IE 7 or 8, so I (a Mac user) would have to do a "manual upload." Other check scanning wizards are supposedly coming soon.

The manual upload procedure consisted of me using third-party scanning equipment to scan the front and back of my check into two separate files and then uploading them to Ally's website. Ally specified the required color (grayscale), resolution (300 dpi), file format (jpg), file size (1 MB), and orientation of the check. They also suggested I draw dots on the corners of my check to help my scanner "judge the size" of the check (I ignored that suggestion).

After I uploaded each file (this takes several seconds during which you get no sign from the webpage that anything is actually happening), I had the opportunity to adjust the rotation and crop of the image. I also had to check more boxes to verify that I'd checked these things. Finally, I was re-shown the deposit account and the amount of deposit, which was what I had typed in, NOT what was shown on the check face (I deliberately entered non-matching info to test the system), and was asked to confirm the deposit.

After I corrected my deposit info and actually submitted the check, I got a confirmation screen with a transaction # that I was supposed to print for my records and a message informing me that since it was after 4 PM, my deposit would take 2 business days to appear in my account. The page also stated that I would receive an email confirmation of the deposit. Over three hours later, I've received nothing from Ally and there is no sign in my account that I've actually deposited anything. Perhaps they meant that they would send me an EMAIL in two days... who knows?

The advertising message on Ally's deposits intro web page claims that this "easy, free, and secure service" takes 10 minutes or less to use. I honestly don't want to spend 10 minutes depositing a single check. I want to spend about 2 max. Ally's deposit process felt like a lot of hassle compared to using Chase's iPhone app, where I just log in, take two snapshots, click a couple buttons and I'm done. The $$ appears in my account within seconds and I can check my balance before logging out to make sure everything worked. I've occasionally had a problem with the app being finicky about recognizing a handwritten check, but it's usually just a lighting or camera angle problem. Regardless, I don't have to worry about a bunch of image specifications or check a bunch of extraneous boxes, and the Chase app automagically matches my deposit amount to the amount on the check. I also get a confirmation email right away. Chase's process makes me feel confident about making e-deposits. Ally's does not.

Don't get me wrong - I'm excited that Ally has finally added remote deposit - but Chase has set the bar so high that I'm underwhelmed by Ally's first attempt. I might have been really happy with this service offering 2-3 years ago, but at this point, it feels a little behind the times. The manual scanner option may be great for people who don't have a smartphone, but I really hope they add an easy-to-use remote deposit app to go with it soon for those of who do!

A couple of days after the first review, virgquest provided a follow-up with more details on email notifications and funds availability:

As a follow up, I received an email from Ally around 1 AM (30 mins ago) that informed me that my deposit had been accepted as of 6/9. $100 is available now (1 business day) and the rest will be available tomorrow (2 business days). I logged in to my account and can see the additional funds in the current and available balances, so it looks like everything worked correctly. For me, the posting delay on the funds is tolerable and doesn't appear that different from the usual ACH hold. The big issue, and one that seems so simple to fix, is the lack of notification that a transaction is in process immediately after the deposit has been made. Granted, there is a confirmation web page with a reference number, but if the page is closed without the number being recorded by the depositer, there is no way for that person to retrieve it. All he or she can do is wait two days and hope to get a "deposit complete" email. Most sites that allow you to complete a transaction, including many retail and financial sites as well as Ally's own ACH transfer service, provide some sort of online transaction status and/or an email follow-up, so this seems to be a rather glaring oversight.

Anyway, I'd rate the service a B overall. It's definitely functional, but it needs some work to get from acceptable to great.

I would like to give a big thank you to virgquest for sharing her experience. If you have also given Ally's eCheck Deposit a try, please leave a comment or email me. And please let us know if you were able to run the scanning wizard. This should simplify things for those who have Windows.

Ally's blog post mentioned that this is just the first step in the roll out, and a mobile solution is scheduled. Hopefully, Ally's eCheck Deposit will become as easy to use as Chase's QuickDeposit.

Related Pages: Ally Bank
  |     |   Comment #1
I was one of those included in the initial rollout.  It is a decent offering but did not like the delay in online transaction confirmation and the 2 day holds.  It also seemed that there were too many unnecessary steps in the process.  Overall, I was not impressed and will wait for a version 2 of the service.  I still find it much easier to just stop by my local Bank of America ATM and deposit the check using their Deposit Image function.  I get immediate confirmation of the deposit and the first $100 is also available immediately with the remainder available the next business day. 
  |     |   Comment #2
It sounds very primitive to me who is accustomed to remote deposit into my Alliant account where deposited funds are available right away without any hold. There is no reason for me to use Ally bank. Thanks but, no thanks.
  |     |   Comment #3
I can deposit a check at my local bank, ACH it to Ally and the next day is there and is available.
No holds no wait and or scanning and sending.Useless to me, will not use the Ally remote deposit because of the hold of two days, plus the day you send the image does not count, so it is actually 3 days on hold.
Ally needs to re-invent this remote deposit, it is to slow and primitive to my likings and the holdings of the funds are the deal killer.
  |     |   Comment #4
Pentagon Federal CU's process seems a fair amount less complicated... Plus, their policy is to make electronically scanned check deposit funds immediately available...no hold times on that.
  |     |   Comment #5
Alliant CU lets you deposit your checks online, with instant full amount credit; then you mail in your check(s). I just used this method last week and it's easy. No scanner needed.  They provide the envelopes; you provide the stamp. No hold put on the funds (under $5000.00 I think).  This method beats looking for a deposit-taking ATM and you don't need a scanner.
  |     |   Comment #6
That's ludicrous. I can mail a check to Ally and have it there in 2 days, and then it's credited with no hold.

When your remote deposit service is no faster than mail deposits, it's totally worthless. IMHO.
  |     |   Comment #7
@mrvirgo: I prefer scanner option and not even use postage stamp to risk mail being lost. I do not trust post office unless it is registered mail. I have been burnt several times.
  |     |   Comment #8
The only thing Ally wants to do with this novelty is to create float.
Let say I scan the check and post it on Wednesday, according to a CSR
the funds will be available the following Monday.
I thank him for the info and said to myself not to be a sucker and fall for it in the future, should such need  for deposit arises.
Mike Manzano
  |     |   Comment #9
Do you think Ally needs an iPhone app? Like this Facebook page!


  |     |   Comment #10
7 months later and it's still terrible. I'm glad I left my wells fargo account open. This process makes me miss the ease of popping in the drive through, sticking the card in the atm, sticking the check in the check slot and letting it do the rest. Honestly, if I go by bike instead of car, it's probably faster than the scanning process as well, not to mention the wait time. I've been waiting a week for a $350 check to clear and I'll be waiting another week for a $1000 check to clear.
  |     |   Comment #11
Am constantly coming up against brick walls with this bank, even with the most basic services. They will not allow eDeposits of over $5000/day. And their solution of depositing the check into another account and transferring it is not possible because they will not allow links to business accounts (I am self-employed and pay myself thru bank transfers between accounts - not possible now). My whole point of getting these Ally accounts is to get rid of the blood-sucking, big bank accounts, which I did, so now I DO NOT HAVE another personal account I can deposit this check to in order to do a transfer. And doing everything by snail-mail defeats the purpose of having an online bank. If you are self-employed, DO NOT use this bank. 
  |     |   Comment #12
I agree that e-check deposit is much more combersome requiring specific system settings.  Can only upload manually as the wizard is not functional.  Hate the delay and the max deposit amounts - the bigger the check, the bigger the risk with snail mail!  Recent website updates have disabled the function - continually hangs - perhaps Ally can't cope with folks who keep their software/OS up to date.  I am working with Windows 7 and IE9 and would love to switch to a MacPro.  How are you Mac users doing with this feature and the tech requirements?
  |     |   Comment #13
Mac support is equally bad.  Considering leaving this account open just to take advantage of ATM refunds, but signing up for a Chase account for the iPhone check deposit app and convenience of Branches and ATMs.  I love the idea behind Ally and the services they offer, but it's ridiculous that in the year I've had it they have yet to make a single improvement on the (incredibly bad) online deposit system.
  |     |   Comment #14
Ally still makes excuses why they don’t have features they promised – just teasers, while not delivering anything. On top of that I just had an experience where their loss prevention/ fraud department gave me a major attitude with the “I don’t care” attitude about them taking my money hostage. They froze my account without any warning. I lost access to my bank account, bills weren’t getting paid, couldn’t access to set up bills, couldn’t get cash out from ATM, etc. all b/c I had called in the general customer service dept raising my concerns about the billpay not working correctly (payee information was being altered without me doing it – such as payee address and acct number – which resulted in some of my bills not getting paid. Was able to find multiple case of similar glitches once I started investigating). The general customer service dept’s hands were tied as they also didn’t know what was going on and couldn’t get access to my account. Turns out that the fraud department started looking into the issues I reported, froze my account without notice, and left for the weekend as their FRAUD department only works 8am~5pm ET. I was left without access to my account all weekend without notice. Again, no bill pay, no access, no ATM use. When I finally got a human being from the fraud department on the phone on Monday, the gal who was handling the case took a tone with me (defensive). So I asked to speak with the supervisor – who all he did was try to get rid of me and totally had the “I don’t really care” attitude while giving me excuses. No sincerity for what they put me through what so ever. The general service department was clearly trained much better to be professional and be polite and apologetic when they couldn’t help. However the fraud department was unprofessional, insincere, and just a 8-to5′er who didn’t care.
I am leaving Ally not only because they promised features they can’t deliver but because of the billpay issues I’ve experienced, along with the most terrible customer service I received from the fraud department. They took my account hostage without notice and they didn’t even apologize, just saying “that’s our process” – what a cop out to blame the “process”. I’ve spoken to other friends who recently also joined Ally. They told me their nightmare stories and we’re all leaving. I can’t stay with a bank I cannot trust. No way I can trust my money with this bank – I’m just so shocked they get away with this. They spend all their money on advertising and promising features they don’t have. Now I learned that their “process” is messed up and they don’t have respect for their customer and their money. I am baffled they can get away with this.
  |     |   Comment #16
as a new Ally customer i like it 2 day wait who cares I deposit it on monday morning its in my account Tuesday night  and  i like the ATM refund with no minimum balance needed i don't like my money sitting around just so i can get a refund on ATM fees 

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