Snap a Pic to Deposit That Check, Small Businesses!

smartphone deposits

Depositing a check into your business bank account could soon be as easy as snapping a photo with your smartphone.

That’s exactly how Mitek Systems’ new Commercial Mobile Deposit Capture system will allow businesses to deposit checks.

The ability to deposit a check using your smartphone has been available for consumer bank accounts for several years. In fact, 33 million consumers at over 3,000 financial institutions have used their smartphones to deposit checks, avoiding a trip to the bank.

What’s different with Mitek Systems is the ability to make smartphone deposits with a set of business-focused features, including the ability to tie them in with invoices and other related business systems.

Advantages of Smartphone Deposits

With smartphone deposits, small business owners and their employees can snap a picture of a check with a smartphone, and instantly deposit it into the business’s bank account.  That means no more driving to the bank or ATM machine.  Field sales and service personnel who collect checks from customers won’t have to go back to the home office or mail in the checks.

Deposits can be made anywhere — as long as you have a wireless signal and a smartphone.

And unlike the desktop scanner systems used by some businesses to remotely deposit checks, Mitek’s new solution requires no special hardware.

Businesses that deposit checks with smartphones will enjoy better cash flow management, points out Mitek President and CEO James DeBello. Nearly two-thirds of the 20 billion checks written today are business-related, he said. Mobile deposits give small businesses faster access to the money from these checks. “The deposit to your account is almost immediate.”

The business owner can delegate deposit-making capability, without giving up control over the account.  Employees may deposit checks, but the software does not give them authority to conduct other transactions or see account balances.

Mitek’s mobile deposit technology is distributed by DadeSystems, which layers on additional features. Dade’s Dade360 system intelligently connects invoices and other customer documentation with the deposit, making accurate record keeping easier and faster. It integrates with popular accounting and other systems such as QuickBooks and Sage.

The combination of the two companies’ technologies “streamlines and automates the back office workflow,” according to DeBello.

Mobile check deposit is very secure, DeBello says. “Today the systems are in place at banks so that the risk is actually lower for digital images of checks than for manual check handling. The system uses 128-bit encryption. Check images are sent over the Secure Socket Layer. No image is stored on the phone.” That way, if the phone is lost or stolen, the check data is not residing on the phone.

DeBello told us in an interview here at Small Business Trends that he anticipates a “rapid uptake” by small businesses.

He pointed out that many small business people are already depositing checks by phone on their consumer bank accounts. With over 10 percent of the U.S. population using mobile check deposit, it has in DeBello’s words “come to define mobile banking.”

Where to Sign Up for Smartphone Deposits

So how do you sign up to do smartphone deposits on your business bank account?

Talk to your bank.

Banks and other financial institutions such as credit unions, will first have to implement the technology.  Then the institutions will in turn offer the solution for their business customers.

DeBello expects that to happen very soon, since so many banks already offer mobile deposits on consumer accounts. In a recent survey by Celent Banking Group, 100 percent of banks said they were planning to or considering offering mobile deposits on commercial accounts.

Most consumer banking customers don’t pay a nickel for mobile deposits, said DeBello, but whether business customers will have to pay fees is up to each bank to decide.  “Mitek licenses the technology to financial institutions.  The question of a fee, if any, is between the bank and its customers.”

Mitek, headquartered in San Diego, invented mobile check deposits, applying scanning technology to smartphone cameras. The company has 20 patents and another 19 patents pending. DadeSystems, headquartered in Miami, is in the business of receivables processing technology.

See the video or go here for more on how smartphone deposits for commercial accounts work.

Image: Mitek video still

Editor’s note: updated to characterize the new release more accurately.  



Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

7 Reactions
  1. Crazy that banks didn’t come up with the sooner because it’s one of those things where your reaction is “Of course this is a great idea.” Good news for SMBs!

    • I agree Robert!

      I think it was envisioned earlier. But there are special challenges with business accounts that make it somewhat more complex, and it’s taken a while to come up with a solution that meets the unique needs of business accounts.

      For instance, giving field employees the ability to make deposits, without giving them access to the rest of the bank account. A typical consumer mobile app offers complete access to the account, and that just doesn’t work in the business setting.

      Also, it’s very important to be able to match up invoices and customer data to checks, for efficient bookkeeping. I don’t know about you, but in our case if we don’t create a clear “chain of evidence” so to speak, between the customer and the payment, it’s painful later. When you have to spend two hours trying to figure out where a check from Company X should be applied, when you don’t have a customer with that name (it’s actually an affiliated company, but it could be hours of work to figure that out) — then you wish you had kept much better records!

      – Anita

  2. My small business bank has already been providing this service for over 2 years. Not sure if this is anything new…

    • Hi Leona, That’s awesome for you!

      I believe it depends on the bank and what kind of account you have. I know someone who is self-employed, and he has an account that is really a consumer account that they let him put his business DBA name on. But in essence it is a one-person account on the consumer side, and he has access to mobile check deposits. But he can only deposit checks up to a certain amount. So if he gets large payments in, he still must visit the bank. Same thing if he reaches his deposit limit — then he can’t use the mobile deposit any longer until another month rolls around.

      And while one could technically say he has mobile check deposit, with so many limitations, that’s not a good solution for small businesses that receive hundreds to thousands of checks a month, and potentially have a number of employees who need to use remote check deposit from the field, etc.

      At my bank, they offer mobile deposit on business accounts – but only if you’re first enrolled in the desktop scanner program for deposits, with a two year contract required and scanner rental. Mobile deposits there are really an offshoot of the desktop scanners for remote check deposit. And the previous bank I had did not offer mobile deposits on any kind of business account – period.

      But I think the bottom line is, the expansion into mobile check deposits will be welcome for small business users who don’t currently have access to it. And the added capability to tie invoices to check deposits will be great.

      – Anita

  3. You say: “But the ability to do smartphone deposits has not been available to meet the needs of businesses, until now.”

    What?! BOA has been doing this for a long time. LAFCU also does it for businesses.

    I was (am) reading this article to see if other banks offer better service. For instance BOA makes the picture available to you unless you deposit two check of the same amount on the same day. Then for god knows why they don’t show you the picture. BOA also allows you to add comments. However sometimes days can go before the connection allows you to deposit a check.

    LAFCU on the other hand is always reliable. Checks can be deposited very easily. However unlike BOA you can’t go online and view the check pictures. You also can not edit the entries with job information. This makes life much more difficult.

    Anyways, I’ll read the rest of the article in the hopes of finding better ways of doing things.

    • Thanks for the note, Ivor. We updated that sentence to more accurately reflect that there is a set of business features that are part of this. I agree that sentence could have been clearer.

      The bottom line is: bringing mobile deposits to business accounts is a positive thing. Mobile deposits that work well to meet business needs without limitation, are a tremendous benefit to businesses.

      – Anita

  4. I’ve been using this and similar systems for a few years, overall works great, very handy until you hit that very frustrating point when the system continues to reject your PDF/scan no matter how many times you retry to scan.