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November 28, 2012
by Collin Ruffenach

Announcing Photo Check Deposit

Mobile deposit of a check

We are beyond excited to announce Photo Check Deposit. If you haven’t already, update your iPhone app, and give it a try. We know many of you have been waiting for this feature, and so have we. This is a major step toward our goal of fully replacing your bank. And, as with all our features here at Simple, Photo Check Deposit is beautiful–and maybe even a little fun.

How We Got Here

Consider the check: it’s a piece of paper with your bank account information on it, instructing your bank to allow the bearer to withdraw a designated amount of your money. It’s one of the most basic ways we have to abstract money in order to make it easier to transport and exchange. Still, this relatively straightforward concept used to involve a massive logistical ordeal. In the old days, paper checks were physically transported among the banks responsible for cashing and honoring them, and banks were responsible for storing the paper checks as a record of the transaction. These movements of funds were (and still are) overseen by clearing houses–third parties that bundle thousands of transactions to move money in large chunks. Instead of $5 moving between Bank A and Bank B each time your grandma writes you a birthday check, a clearing house collects and tallies all the checks moving between Bank A and Bank B in a given day and performs one transaction to cover the net amount of money changing hands.

Enter Check 21. In 2004, Congress passed the Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act, or Check 21. With Check 21, images of checks became legally equal to paper checks. Banks could now transfer digital images of checks, and were freed from the legal requirement of storing and transporting paper checks. Today, the vast majority of check processing is done electronically. That means that when you deposit a check with Photo Check Deposit, known in the industry as Remote Deposit Capture (RDC), you’re doing almost exactly what a bank would do if you brought a check in for deposit at the counter. Cool, right? We think so, too.

How it Works

We wanted to make the check deposit process as streamlined and beautiful as possible. In the mobile app, you begin by tapping the check deposit button in the top right corner of the screen. Tell us how much the check is for, and take photos of the front and back. To clear, checks must be endorsed and have your account number designated on the back. To make this easy, we provide your account number within the camera image preview so you don’t have to go looking for it. Finally, we’ll review the details of your deposit and submit it for processing. As the check processes, you’ll be able to see when funds are available, and how much is left to be released. Depending on the size of the check and the length of time you’ve been a customer, up to $200 of your deposit will be available one business day after it is processed. Any remainder will be available the following business day. A full rundown of deposit limits and funds availability can be found here.

Thanks

This is a great moment for us, and for you: with Photo Check Deposit, we’re taking the next major step to replacing a traditional brick-and-mortar bank with something that fits your needs better. We’re thankful to our customers, both present and future, for coming along for the ride. We can’t wait to bring you more as we grow.