Managing your finances has never been easier with digital wallets and mobile bank apps that allow you to access your checking and savings accounts 24/7. One of the best benefits that comes from mobile or online banking is the ability to deposit a check through the bank’s app.
You no longer have to get in the car to head to the bank or ATM to deposit checks; now, you can do it in the comfort of your own home or anywhere on the go.
The biggest question about depositing a check online is how long does a mobile deposit take before you can access the funds? While the process of depositing a check is fast and easy, you may have to wait a day or two before you can use the money.
What is a Mobile Deposit?
To understand why it takes a day or two for the funds from a check to hit your account, it’s important to know what exactly a mobile deposit is and how it works.
A mobile deposit is a banking tool that allows you to deposit your check directly into your bank account using your phone. Many banks make it easy to do; log into your bank account and select ‘deposit check’ from their list of options. It will require you to take a front and back photo of the check, and it may ask you to confirm the amount of the check, depending on your bank. Once you submit the information, the bank will verify that it is correct, and the funds will be deposited into your bank account.
Most banks will allow the following types of checks to be deposited using mobile deposit:
- Personal checks
- Business checks
- Cashier’s checks
- Government-issued checks (such as tax refunds and stimulus checks)
Some banks may allow you to use mobile deposit for foreign checks, third-party checks, money orders, or traveler’s checks, but check with your bank first. You can often find a FAQ section on their website to confirm or call them directly.
How Does Mobile Deposit Work?
Many banks and credit unions now offer mobile deposits as an easy and convenient way for you to deposit your checks, including Southeast Bank. The Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act (Check 21) allowed banks and credit unions to substitute an electronic image of the original paper check, which let mobile deposit become a staple in everyday life.
If you are unsure if your bank offers mobile deposits, contact a representative or visit your bank’s website to find out. Many banks will offer mobile deposits with their mobile app free of charge.
Depositing a check with mobile deposit is a straightforward process that looks similar across different bank or credit union applications:
- Log in to your bank account on your phone
- Select mobile check deposit from the menu
- Sign the back of the physical check – endorsing it as if you were at a bank
- Select which account you want the funds to be deposited into
- Take a photo of the back and front of the check; you will usually need a plain, dark background to ensure the readability of the check.
- Confirm the amount the check is for
- Review the details and hit submit
Once you have submitted the check, the bank will verify the information through a check-clearing network.
How to endorse a check with mobile deposit
Checks that are deposited through a mobile app need to be endorsed just like you would depositing at a bank. To endorse a check through a mobile deposit, you will need to sign your name, preferably in blue or black ink, that won’t smear and distort the picture. Your signature should look the same as any other official document, and it should be able to be read clearly.
Some banks and credit unions will require one more step in endorsing a check through mobile deposit; underneath your signature, you will need to write “for mobile deposit only” or some variation. If you don’t include that phrase, it may not be cleared and credited to your account.
How Do Banks Verify a Mobile Deposit?
Verifying if a check is legitimate or a counterfeit takes time. Once a check photograph has been submitted through mobile deposit, the bank or credit union will have employees who are trained to spot counterfeit checks examine it.
There are many data points that are considered when verifying a check. For example, is the account of the check issuer in good standing? Are there enough funds in the account? Is the check a large amount? Since verifying checks, both through mobile deposit and directly at the bank, can take time, many banks will allow a certain amount of the check to be made available to customers the day after it’s submitted.
A check won’t be officially cleared for another few days, and it typically takes between two to five days to be fully deposited into your account.
How Long Does a Mobile Deposit Take to Clear?
When you submit your check through a mobile deposit, you may be able to have access to some of the funds within a few minutes to the next day, depending on your bank or credit union. Some banks will allow a small amount of the money to be available before a check is cleared, usually around $200.
For example, if you deposit a check worth $600 through mobile deposit, depending on your bank, you would be able to access $200 of that the next day or in some cases the same day if deposited early enough. The remaining $400 will be ready the day after that, or if you deposited it on a Friday, the $200 would be ready on Monday, and the remainder would be available Tuesday.
However, most checks will take between one to three business days to be fully available. Some checks may take up to five days. Keep in mind, banks work by business days, as the example above notes. If you deposit a check on Friday, it may take a little longer than if you deposited it on a Tuesday because of the weekend.
Your bank or credit union should provide a disclaimer when submitting your mobile deposit stating how long it will take to clear. Occasionally, you might run into a temporary hold, which you will be notified of by the bank through email or a phone call. A temporary hold on the mobile deposit means the funds won’t be available within the standard time, and the bank needs more time to verify the check.
What can delay a mobile deposit?
No system is perfect, and a mobile deposit can be delayed due to a number of factors, which means you will get your money later than expected.
Some of these factors include:
Wrong type of check – Although banks take most types of checks, it’s best to check with them before depositing them. If you deposit a foreign check, for example, and your bank doesn’t take foreign checks through mobile deposit, the bank will reject it, and you will need to deposit the check another way.
Incorrect amount listed – If there are any differences between what is written on the check and what you indicated the check is worth, it will delay the funds going into your account.
Daily deposit limit – Most banks and credit unions have limits on how much you can deposit per day or month. Reaching those limits will cause a delay.
Not endorsing the check – It’s easy to forget to sign the back of the check, especially when you are using mobile deposit. Forgetting to endorse the check can cause it to get flagged, and it may not go through. Many banks will also require you to write “for mobile deposit only”, and forgetting that may cause further delay.
Blurry images – Although the software has been developed to detect if an image is blurry when submitting a check through mobile deposit, it’s not always foolproof, or your bank could be using an older technology. Blurry images may make it harder for the check to be verified. When taking a photo of the check, make sure you are holding the camera as still as possible, and there are no shadows on the check.
Mobile Deposit – Benefits of Digital Banking
Mobile banking and deposit make it easier and faster than before to get your paycheck into your bank account. You aren’t limited by having to drive to the bank or ATM during service hours; instead, you are able to deposit your check at any time and have your money within a few days, even hours in some cases, depending on your bank.
At SouthEast Bank, we offer online, and mobile banking tools that let you do more with your money, from mobile deposit and auto bill pay to budgeting tools that keep your financial goals on track. All our customers have access to our mobile app; to enroll today, click here.
Note: Links to other websites or references to services or applications are provided as a convenience only. A link does not imply SouthEast Bank’s sponsorship or approval of any other site, service or application. SouthEast Bank does not control the content of these sites, services or applications.
Information contained in this blog is for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing contained in this blog should be construed as legal or tax advice. An attorney or tax advisor should be consulted for advice on specific issues.