What Is Remote Deposit Capture?

Remote deposit capture is a technology-based method that lets banks accept checks for deposit using electronic images instead of the original, physical, paper versions. To use remote deposit capture, a bank customer endorses the check with a signature and the phrase “for deposit only,” photographs or scanned images of the check’s front and back, and submits it electronically to the bank over the Internet or a cellular network using a computer or smartphone.

Key Takeaways

  • Remote deposit capture is a technology-based method that lets banks accept checks for deposit using electronic images instead of the original, physical, paper versions.
  • Remote deposit capture lets banking customers use their computers, tablets, or smartphones to conveniently deposit checks.
  • Remote deposit capture is not only more convenient for bank customers; it also benefits the banks themselves.

Understanding Remote Deposit Capture

The Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act (also called Check 21) is federal legislation that became effective in 2004 made remote deposit capture possible by allowing banks to accept check images in lieu of paper checks. Check 21 is distinct from the act of using an electronic copy of a check to make a deposit into a bank account; this process is known as remote deposit.

Remote deposit capture lets banking customers use their computers, tablets, or smartphones to conveniently deposit checks. The process eliminates trips to the bank, and checks can be deposited 24/7, not just during regular banking hours. Individuals might use remote deposit capture for their paychecks, gift checks, refund checks, and any other checks they receive. Businesses might use the technology to deposit checks they receive from their customers.

Remote deposit capture is not only more convenient for bank customers; it also benefits the banks themselves. Banks don’t have to transport physical checks and don’t have to pick up physical checks at ATMs as frequently. They can attract new customers who want the convenience of remote deposit capture, and they can more easily work with clients in remote geographic locations since it isn’t necessary to visit a branch or ATM to deposit checks.

The check images used in remote deposit capture have to meet certain requirements, such as being a minimum number of dots per inch (DPI), not being blurry, not exceeding a certain file size, and being in a certain file format, such as JPEG. Banks also reserve the right not to accept certain types of checks by remote deposit captures, such as starter checks, traveler's checks, and checks made out to someone other than the account holder.