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What Baby Boomers Need to Know About Mobile Check Deposits

by Gary Foreman

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Technology has changed so many aspects of our lives. One area that's being transformed is banking. Mobile deposit and mobile banking has made a major difference in how we do our banking.

Baby boomers, however, have lagged behind in accepting mobile banking. They write and receive more checks than other age groups, and even though an estimated 60% have smart phones they tend to avoid mobile banking and mobile deposits.

To help us explore the world of mobile banking, mobile deposits and baby boomers, we contacted Michael Diamond, General Manager, Payments for Mitek. Mitek developed the Mobile Deposit technology that's used by many banks.

Q: Most people are familiar with mobile banking, but what exactly is mobile deposit?

Mr. Diamond: Mobile Deposit is the process of depositing a check into your bank account using your mobile phone camera. Nearly every major bank, credit union or other financial institution in the U.S. offers Mobile Deposit as part of their mobile banking applications. The steps are simple:

1. Endorse your check as you normally would.

2. Access your bank's mobile banking app on your smartphone and select the Mobile Deposit option.

3. Use the camera on your smartphone to take a picture of the front and back of the check.

4. Select which bank account you'd like to deposit the check into.

Q: Has mobile deposit software become commonplace?

Mr. Diamond: Mobile Deposit is one of the most-loved features of mobile banking among consumers. Mobile Deposit is available through more than 5,500 financial institutions in the U.S. and is used by more than 70 million consumers in US and Canada. Approximately 1 in 7 Americans have used Mobile Deposit in the past year and usage continues to expand across all age groups.

What Baby Boomers Need to Know About Mobile Check Deposits

Q: Why should baby boomers care about mobile deposit?

Mr. Diamond: Federal Reserve Board found that while mobile banking usage is increasing year over year for all age groups, the growth rate has been highest among the older segments of Americans, doubling in a two-year period. Consumer surveys also show that 60 percent of Boomers own smart phones.

Not only is mobile deposit more convenient for everyone, but it fits Baby Boomers lifestyle in particular. Baby Boomers and Americans over the age of 50 are more likely to write and receive paper checks than younger generations, but too many are squandering their time and money on gas by traveling to a bank branch or ATM to make a deposit. In addition, banks are increasingly closing branch locations, and as Baby Boomers enter into (or are already enjoying) their retirements, they are often traveling more. Both of these factors can make it difficult to find a bank branch or ATM when they have a check to deposit. For Baby Boomers who aren't out seeing the world, if their health prevents them from easily leaving the house and traveling to a bank, live in rural area, or are looking to get their money faster, mobile deposit is a great option for getting funds into their accounts.

Q: Are there risks to using mobile deposit? How can I be sure that my check was deposited?

Mr. Diamond: Mobile Deposit is very safe and secure. It doesn't store the images of the checks on your phone, and with the added safety measures built into your smartphone and its camera, mobile deposit is even more secure than depositing a check with a teller. More than one billion checks, totaling more than $400 billion have been deposited using Mobile Deposit technology. That said, there are some best practices that consumers should keep in mind whenever they are conducting mobile banking transactions of any type.

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Know your bank's application - Only download applications you trust. That means making sure that the application is the official mobile banking app of your bank or financial institution. Don't link third party applications to your bank account information.

Use a secure network - It's best to use a secure, private network or your mobile data plan when accessing your mobile banking application. Avoid using public Wi-Fi because even though the application itself may be secure, hackers can leverage unsecure public networks for identity theft.

Write "for mobile deposit only" when endorsing - Check with your bank on specific requirements, but it's often a good idea to write "for mobile deposit only" next to your endorsement. This can help reduce the chance that someone else might get your check and try to cash it.

Q: What do I do with the check after it is mobile deposited?

Mr. Diamond: After you have deposited your check, write on the check "mobile deposit" and the date you deposited it. You can then keep it in a secure place until you have confirmation from your bank that the funds are available in your account. Writing this note on your check will prevent you from accidentally trying to deposit it twice it. After you have confirmed that the funds are available in your account, you can shred the check.

Gary Foreman

Gary Foreman is a former financial planner and purchasing manager who founded The Dollar website and newsletters in 1996. He's been featured in MSN Money, Yahoo Finance, Fox Business, The Nightly Business Report, US News Money, and Gary shares his philosophy of money here. You can follow Gary on Twitter. Gary is also available for audio, video or print interviews. For more info see his media page.

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