USAA Federal Savings Bank developed an iPhone app to allow subscribers the ability to deposit checks by taking cell phone photos of the front and back of the check and hitting "send" on their iPhones.
USAA is a bank intended for military personnel and features programs and services for those serving in the U.S. and abroad. Though it already offers scanning-in options for check depositers, this foray into mobile banking would not only simplify the process but also enable more timely depositing. In concern for potential fraud, USAA's app will only be open to customers with a minimum credit score and who are also insured by USAA. The company recommends destroying or voiding the physical check once its digital twin is sent off digitally to the bank.
The concept of mobile banking will soon become a reality for military personnel, but is there a cell phone option coming for civilians too? It would seem to be an inevitable innovation, especially considering that major credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard have already invested heavily in mobile payment technology allowing their customers to pay balances via cell phone. A next logical step would be to open up the process to allow incoming funds to also be posted to an existing account using mobile technology.
Privacy issues are not fully resolved and in a day and age when identity theft is rampant, it will be key to see how USAA's safeguards fare in hacker-infested waters and what 2.0 security options other banks provide as they traverse the mobile banking frontier.