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USAA Launches iPhone app with Cheque Deposit Facility Karishma Sundaram | , 11:22 p.m. Aug. 12, 2009 2009-08-12

Banking online has simplified life for a great number of people; it has done away with queues, counters, filling out millions of forms, among various other devices of torture an average banking transaction takes to get done manually. Of course, banking online isn’t without its attendant problems, especially in regard to security and fraud. So there are a number of safeguards that have been installed to forestall the malicious. However, that being said, banking online is definitely easy compared to manual banking. 

After the concept of banking via one’s computer had gotten off to a flying start, the next logical step was phone banking. While phone banking through customer help lines was very much in evidence anyway, phone banking was upgraded to include transactions through the cell phone. Cell phone banking is not a concept that was adopted lightly, since mobile phones are not the most secure of devices. However the trend did manage to take root. Perhaps the idea of banking whilst on the go appealed to some after all. 

The latest attempt to simplify the various banking processes is to allow customers to deposit cheques via an iPhone app. Now although technology has advanced in leaps and bounds, it is still impossible to convert a physical cheque into a virtual one. These kinds of feats are reserved for science fiction shows and have really no place in a mundane, everyday situation which requires seriousness, like banking. 

United Services Automobile Association, USSA, is a privately held banking and insurance institution for US military servicemen and veterans. The financial institution is planning to launch a free iPhone app for mobile cheque deposit facility called USAA Deposit@Mobile. The app allows a bank customer to log into their account and select the cheque deposit option. Once the option is selected, the customer is then required to snap two pictures with the cell phone camera; one of the front and the other of the back of the cheque. The details are then sent to the bank, and the customer receives a confirmation in return. 

There are a number of questions that spring to mind: what does one do with the physical cheque? The bank replies that the customer can either destroy it, or retain it for personal files. Another concern is the obviously easy opportunity for fraud. However the bank has assured its customers that the system is quite safe. 

Of course, there are a few caveats nonetheless: the service will only be extended to those customers who are eligible for credit. Additionally, customers that have some sort of insurance policy with USAA will also be considered. Surprisingly the bank representative revealed that the bank expects that number to be in the region of 60% of all customers. Since USAA serves mainly military personnel, their clients are spread over a considerable geographical area, mobile banking will enable them to serve customers without incurring exorbitant costs in the bargain.

The trend of mobile banking is all set to rise further, with more and more innovation developing along the way. The focus is on reducing time and energy, as well as cutting costs with lengthy processes. 

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