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,” or "for mobile deposit only," then takes a photograph or scanned images of the check’s front and back, and submits it electronically to the bank over the internet or through a cellular network using a computer, a tablet, or a smartphone.

The Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act legislation, known as Check 21, became effective in 2004. Among other banking policy updates, it made remote deposit capture possible by allowing banks to accept check images in lieu of paper checks.

Key Takeaways

  • Remote deposit capture is a technology-based method that lets banks accept checks for deposit using electronic images instead of original paper versions.
  • To use remote deposit capture, a bank customer endorses a check, uploads an image of the check’s front and back, and submits it electronically.
  • Check 21 legislation, which became effective in 2004, made remote deposit capture possible by allowing banks to accept check images in lieu of paper checks.
  • Remote deposit capture is not only more convenient for bank customers, it also benefits the banks, as they don’t have to transport physical checks or pick up physical checks from ATMs as frequently.

Understanding Remote Deposit Capture

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 hours a day, seven days a week, 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.

Very close to all banks offer remote deposit capture as a standard of service benefit through their websites—and in most cases, their mobile apps—including every major bank.

Benefits of Remote Deposit Capture

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 capture, such as starter checks, traveler's checks, and checks made out to someone other than the account holder.