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How Does Mobile Deposit Work?

Written by Sarah Berger | Published on 7/29/2020


Mobile check deposits have quickly become a core feature of most bank accounts, allowing consumers to deposit checks with a simple snap of their smartphone’s camera. Mobile deposits offer an array of conveniences — namely, saving consumers unnecessary trips to their bank branch or an ATM. We walk you through how to make a mobile deposit, as well as how soon you can expect to get your funds and any limits or restrictions involved.

In this article we will cover:

What is mobile deposit?

A feature offered by most banks with a mobile app, mobile deposits enable customers to deposit paper checks directly into their bank account. All you have to do is take a photo of the front and back of the check and then upload the photos into your bank’s app. 

While eligibility requirements for mobile deposit vary from bank to bank, you typically have to have a checking or savings account at that bank. Some banks also tack on additional eligibility requirements, such as having your account open for a certain amount of time, having a certain average balance in your account or not having any issues with consistently overdrawing your account in the past.   

Mobile deposit is often a free feature and typically used to deposit paper checks into a checking account or savings account. 

How does mobile check deposit work? 

While the exact process for mobile check deposits varies based on your financial institution, you can typically expect to take the following steps: 

  1. Sign into your bank’s mobile app: Once you have your bank’s mobile app open, toggle over to the app’s mobile deposit feature.
  2. Select the account and enter the check amount: Choose the account into which you want your check deposited. You’ll also need to enter the amount of the check you’re depositing.
  3. Endorse the back of your check: Make sure to sign the check. Some banks also may require you to write a note on the back of the check as well, such as “For mobile deposit at Wells Fargo Bank only.”
  4. Photograph your check: You’ll need to take a photo of the front and back of your endorsed check and upload it to the app.
  5. Make sure everything is correct: Review your deposit. Once you’ve confirmed that all of the information is correct, submit your mobile deposit via the app.

When will funds be available with mobile deposit?   

While your funds can be withheld anywhere from one to 11 days, most banks will make your funds from your mobile deposit available to you by the next business day. That being said, it’s important to remember that every financial institution is different. 

Simple, for example, generally releases funds from a mobile deposit the next business day as long as you’ve had your account for over 30 days and your check is approved. If a hold is not applied, Wells Fargo also makes funds from mobile deposits available the day after the deposit’s credit date. Meanwhile, US Bank makes the first $225 of daily deposits available immediately, with the rest of the deposit amount typically made available the next business day.

In general, funds are typically delayed longer with mobile deposit than they would be with other types of deposit. However, federal regulations limit how long banks are able to hold checks before making funds available to the customer. 

Are there limits with mobile deposit? 

There are deposit limits associated with mobile check deposits, meaning you can’t simply deposit a check for $5 million straight from your smartphone. However, these limits tend to differ from person to person, based on factors like:

  • Your account type 
  • Your deposit history
  • How long your account has been open 

Banks might slap you with a daily deposit limit — capping the amount you’re able to deposit via mobile per business day — and/or a weekly deposit limit, restricting the amount you’re able to deposit via mobile every five business days. 

What types of checks are accepted with mobile deposit? 

Before you plan on depositing a check via mobile deposit, check your financial institution’s policies on what types of checks are accepted through mobile deposit. Many financial institutions limit the types of checks that are accepted via mobile deposit, since mobile deposits can come with more risk if they are returned later. 

Examples of commonly accepted checks for mobile deposit include: 

Examples of checks that are not accepted through mobile deposit can include:

  • International checks
  • U.S. savings bonds
  • Money orders
  • Traveler’s checks
  • Checks not payable in U.S. dollars

Mobile deposit FAQ

How do you endorse a check for mobile deposit?

To endorse a check for mobile deposit, you will need to sign the back of the paper check. Additionally, many banks will require you to write a memo below your signature stating that the check you are depositing is for mobile deposit at that specific financial institution only or with your account number. 

What should you do with a check after mobile deposit?

After you deposit your check via mobile deposit, many banks recommend holding on to your paper check for at least two to five business days, as well as writing “mobile deposit” and the date of your mobile deposit on the front of the check. After your deposit successfully clears, be sure to shred your paper check to protect yourself against fraud.

Are there any downsides to mobile deposit? 

The most common downsides associated with mobile deposit include delayed funds availability, as funds often can become available faster if you make deposits in-person, and deposit limits. Additionally, not all types of checks are eligible for mobile, and you are often required to have a smartphone in order to make the deposit. 

Are there any fees associated with mobile deposit?

While costs vary from bank to bank, in general, most financial institutions do not charge a fee for mobile deposits.

  |     |   Comment #1
Not everyone has the latest and greatest. My local bank uses Fiserv (sp?), who keep pushing me to enroll in mobile. But, in 2020, will Fiserv support iOS 9.3.6 on my iPhone 4S? There is no link for System Requirements available before i enroll.

All banks and related financial entities offering mobile deposit should have a link to System Requirements on the same page(s) which urge enrollment. I should not have to go hunting through my device’s app store to find the bank’s app—give me a direct link to there, or the bank or service’s own page of system requirements.

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