Large banks to roll out mobile applications for check deposits
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CHARLOTTE – Going to an ATM to deposit a check may soon become obsolete.
Some of the nation's biggest banks are developing smartphone applications that let you take a picture of the check you want to deposit from anywhere and send it to the bank.
"At that point it gets processed the same way that any other check does at an ATM or in one of our stores," said Armin Ajami, who directs mobile product management for Wells Fargo in San Francisco.
Wells Fargo is testing its mobile deposit app in western states now and could roll out the service to North Carolina customers in a few months.
"We want to be where our customers are. And our customers are certainly accessing our services via mobile and tablets," Ajami said.
It's a growing trend in banking. USAA, Chase and PNC are among the banks already using the service.
A spokeswoman for Charlotte-based Bank of America said it plans to unveil mobile deposit by the end of this year.
But the Better Business Bureau says the service could attract scammers.
"The scammers are getting so good, they're getting so creative it's hard for even a bank employee to tell what the real website looks like and what the spoof website looks like," said Tom Bartholomy of the Better Business Bureau.
The banks invest heavily in security and say the applications are safe.
But con artists will try to get around those measures. Some send emails that look like legitimate messages from your bank claiming there is an error with your check deposit and asking for your personal information.
Experts say the bank will never do that.
"Be on guard of how they deliver that information. That's primarily the means that you can differentiate who the good guys are and who the bad guys are," Bartholomy said.
The BBB says that the bank apps are safe but don't store photos of your checks. It recommends calling your financial institution if you have a question about the security of online or mobile banking products.