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iPhone App Deposits Bank Checks

Qualified USAA customers can use the iPhone camera to take pictures of their checks and make deposits into their accounts over the air.

United Services Automobile Association bank customers won't have to worry about finding a branch or ATM, as the bank's iPhone app will soon enable users to deposit checks with the handset's camera.

The company said it planned to update its iPhone app this week to enable customers to take pictures of both sides of checks, and then have the funds deposited over the air. Users don't have to send the check to the bank later, and USAA said the process will be handled entirely electronically.

In order to reduce fraud, the iPhone deposit feature will only be available for customers with an eligible credit score and those who have insurance from USAA. Additionally, the company suggests users void or discard the checks after depositing them over the air.

USAA is a relatively small bank that primarily serves military personnel around the world, and it said mobile devices are becoming an increasingly important part of its strategy. The company plans to expand this check deposit feature to other smartphones like the BlackBerry later this year.

Many banks are trying to utilize applications and mobile browsers to turn smartphones into portable branches, as most large banks enable users to check their balances, transfer funds, and find ATMs on their handsets. This type of service has yet to gain widespread adoption though, as some consumers still have concerns about security.

Additionally, companies like Visa and MasterCard have invested heavily in the mobile payment and banking space. The payment giants have released applications that allow customers to keep track of their purchases with SMS alerts, as well as get discounts and directions to merchants.

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on smartphone security. Download the report here (registration required).

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