Smartphone cheque deposit – an overdue step in digital banking

Author: David Webber

What’s stopping UK banks introducing digital cheque deposits for their customers?

Our latest research found that three-quarters of Brits (75%) want to deposit cheques using their smartphones. This technology, where users take a photo of the front and back of an endorsed cheque then send the images to their bank using a smartphone app, has been available in the USA since 2009. So what’s stopping UK banks introducing it for their customers?

Despite being used in the USA, Spain and Canada, current UK regulation is preventing banks from offering consumers and businesses mobile cheque deposits, a convenient service that could save millions of wasted hours and thousands of pounds on stamps. Although cheque usage has declined over the past decade, 1.1 billion cheques are still issued every year and relied upon not only by consumers, but by groups such as government departments, charities, employers and small businesses.

At a time when many of the major banks are on a drive to boost loyalty by making multi-channel money management as easy as possible, it is madness that they are unable to offer this service to their customers, the majority of whom are already digital banking converts. Our research found three-quarters (75%) of Brits prefer to use web browsers, tablets or smartphones to manage their finances, compared to less than one in five (19%) who prefer to visit their local bank branch.

There would also be considerable benefits for banks. Digitising the cheque deposit system would reduce the pressure on local branches, cut costs and enable staff to dedicate time to more high value face-to-face services.

With Britain home to the world’s global financial centre, UK banks shouldn’t be held back from offering the most advanced levels of customer service available. Outdated regulation is the only barrier standing in their way. That’s why Intelligent Environments is now urging the Treasury to change the law and bring the cheque deposit system into the 21st century. It’s a long overdue step in digital banking, but one that would make a huge difference to customer service. 

31 Jul 2013

Author: David Webber

What’s stopping UK banks introducing digital cheque deposits for their customers?

Our latest research found that three-quarters of Brits (75%) want to deposit cheques using their smartphones. This technology, where users take a photo of the front and back of an endorsed cheque then send the images to their bank using a smartphone app, has been available in the USA since 2009. So what’s stopping UK banks introducing it for their customers?

Despite being used in the USA, Spain and Canada, current UK regulation is preventing banks from offering consumers and businesses mobile cheque deposits, a convenient service that could save millions of wasted hours and thousands of pounds on stamps. Although cheque usage has declined over the past decade, 1.1 billion cheques are still issued every year and relied upon not only by consumers, but by groups such as government departments, charities, employers and small businesses.

At a time when many of the major banks are on a drive to boost loyalty by making multi-channel money management as easy as possible, it is madness that they are unable to offer this service to their customers, the majority of whom are already digital banking converts. Our research found three-quarters (75%) of Brits prefer to use web browsers, tablets or smartphones to manage their finances, compared to less than one in five (19%) who prefer to visit their local bank branch.

There would also be considerable benefits for banks. Digitising the cheque deposit system would reduce the pressure on local branches, cut costs and enable staff to dedicate time to more high value face-to-face services.

With Britain home to the world’s global financial centre, UK banks shouldn’t be held back from offering the most advanced levels of customer service available. Outdated regulation is the only barrier standing in their way. That’s why Intelligent Environments is now urging the Treasury to change the law and bring the cheque deposit system into the 21st century. It’s a long overdue step in digital banking, but one that would make a huge difference to customer service.