What You Need to Know About Using Mobile Deposit

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Written By

Reviewed By

Updated on Thursday, October 8, 2020

Mobile deposit has quickly become a standard feature of bank accounts offered by most financial institutions, enabling customers to deposit a paper check with a simple snap of their smartphone.

While mobile deposits certainly offer the convenience of getting your banking needs met from the comfort of your couch, there are a number of ways they differ from deposits made in person or at an ATM. Below, we hash out what you should know about mobile deposits.

How to use mobile deposit

In order to use mobile deposit, most financial institutions require you to have a smartphone or tablet and to download their app. Typically, you take the following steps when making a mobile deposit:

  1. Sign into your bank’s mobile app and then toggle over to the mobile deposit feature.
  2. Select the account you’d like to deposit your check into and enter the check amount.
  3. Endorse your check by signing the back of it.
  4. Snap a photo of the front and back of the check and upload it to your bank’s app.
  5. Review and confirm that the deposit information is correct before submitting it.

In addition to being required to endorse the back of your check before making a mobile deposit, as mentioned above, many financial institutions require depositors to add a memo to the back of the check indicating the intended recipient. For example, you may write: “For mobile deposit at Wells Fargo Bank only.” Some paper checks even include a box that you can check that reads, “Check here if mobile deposit.”

What types of checks are eligible for mobile deposit?

While mobile deposit is certainly more convenient than depositing a check in person or at an ATM, it is also generally more restrictive — and that includes the types of checks that are eligible for mobile deposit. Many financial institutions impose these restrictions because there can be more risk involved if the check ends up getting returned later.

Typically, financial institutions limit checks that are eligible for mobile deposit to the following types:

  • Checks from a U.S. financial intuition in U.S. dollars
  • Personal checks
  • Business checks
  • Government/treasury checks
  • Cashier’s checks

Meanwhile, the following types of checks are generally not accepted via mobile deposit:

  • U.S. savings bonds
  • Money orders
  • Traveler’s checks
  • Image Replacement Documents
  • Third-party checks
  • International checks

Mobile deposit limits

In addition to restrictions on the types of checks that are eligible for mobile deposit, banks also often put caps on the amount of money you can deposit through a mobile deposit. These limits can be daily or weekly, and they tend to vary from person to person depending on factors like your account type, deposit history and track record with the bank.

New accounts often come with lower limits for mobile deposits. Citizens Bank, for example, caps its daily mobile deposit amount for its Circle Checking account at $30,000 — however, if you opened your account within the past 90 days, you will be capped at $15,000. U.S. Bank, meanwhile, caps mobile deposits for accounts opened within the past 90 days as low as $200.

How much does mobile deposit cost?

Checking accounts can be littered with fees, ranging from monthly service fees to overdraft fees, but fees for making a mobile deposit shouldn’t be one of them. There are a plethora of financial institutions out there that offer mobile deposit as a free feature on checking and savings accounts, so be sure to do your research to find one of them.

Top checking accounts that offer mobile deposit

On that note, if mobile deposit is a feature that you’d like your checking account to have, check out the table below, which features accounts from our list of the top checking accounts that offer mobile deposit as a free feature.

Account name Monthly maintenance fee
Simple $0
Consumers Credit Union Rewards Checking$0
Axos Bank Rewards Checking$0
Discover Cashback Debit $0
Radius Bank Rewards Checking$0
Ally Bank Interest Checking$0

Potential issues you may run into with mobile deposits

1. Funds from mobile deposits can take longer to become available

It’s worth highlighting that funds from checks deposited via mobile deposit can be more prone to holds — meaning your funds might not be available as quickly as they would be if you made your deposit in person, at a branch. Holds are sometimes placed on checking accounts so that banks can make sure there is enough money to back up a transaction.

While most financial institutions will make your funds from a mobile deposit available to you within the next business day, funds can be withheld for a number of days. The exact number of days can vary based on the financial institution and the circumstances of the deposit, but for large deposits, it can be up to 10 days. GoBank, for example, says that funds from some checks deposited via mobile deposit can take up to five days to become available.

Be aware of this when opting for mobile deposit as opposed to an in-person deposit.

2. Your mobile deposit could be rejected

Mobile deposits are not foolproof — and sometimes, your deposit might be rejected. If this is the case, your bank will likely contact you by mail or email explaining why your check was rejected and what steps you should take next.

Sometimes, checks can be rejected due to the logistical reasons. To ensure that your mobile deposit is accepted, be sure to:

  • Take a clear and sharp photo of the check: This means snapping your check in good lighting with a contrasting, low-glare background.
  • Make sure your check is eligible for mobile deposit: Review your bank’s policies on what types of checks are accepted via mobile deposit.
  • Ensure you have endorsed the check properly: Don’t forget about any required memos, too.

Because of the possibility of your mobile deposit being rejected, it’s recommended that you hold onto your physical, paper check for a minimum of two to five business days after you make your mobile deposit to make sure it successfully clears.

Is mobile deposit safe?

A common concern when getting your banking business done from the convenience of your phone is security. Rest assured, many experts agree that banking apps are one of the most secure types of apps out there — with much of the security risk falling on the consumers’ shoulders.

With that in mind, here are few simple steps you should take to keep your account secure:

  • Only download bank apps from their native app store.
  • Use the bank’s app instead of logging on via a web browser on your phone.
  • Do not bank from your phone using public Wi-Fi.
  • Make sure your bank’s app has a strong password policy, such as tiered authentication or a limited number of login attempts.