[Editor’s note: We always like hearing about our old equipment that’s still holding up in the field. If you think have a device that’s older than this, please Contact Us and use the topic “Other.”]
In the computing world, things don’t last for long. Back in 2005, Windows XP was the latest PC operating system, and the smartphone market was dominated by BlackBerry and Palm. So when you see something that old in everyday use, you know it’s held up better than most.
As it turns out, 2005 was also the year that Digital Check introduced our TellerScan TS215 check scanner, although that event is somewhat less celebrated in the annals of tech history. Back in the early days of the Check 21 Act, most check scanners were bought by banks, and so the great majority of those devices have since been replaced with newer models. But every so often, we encounter someone who’s still got an original TS215 in working order.
In February, we heard from Massachusetts law firm Grief & Litwak, P.C., which had just replaced its TS215 with a new CheXpress CX30 after more than a decade of daily use. Head Accountant Victoria Wittman was kind enough to talk about their experience with our original remote deposit capture scanner.
Digital Check: Besides owning a very old scanner, having a TS215 means your law firm would have been one of the first in the world to begin using remote deposit capture. Tell us about what led you to try this back when it was still a brand-new technology.
Wittman: Well, I took over accounting in 2007, and we’d bought the scanner new well before that. The main reason is that it’s such a savings in time not to have to go to the bank. Before we had the scanner, we had to send someone to the bank every single day.
DC: Tell us a little about your law firm. Do you do something in particular that generates a lot of payments by check?
VW: Our practice is estate planning, and also some corporate law. We have checks come in every day. It’s only about five checks a day, but we’re a small office – eight people maximum – and going out to the bank takes a long time.
DC: So it wasn’t so much the number of checks, but that if you get any checks at all, you still need to deal with them.
VW: Yes, we’re on an inconvenient road with four lanes; it gets very congested and turning around is a problem. It probably takes at least 10 minutes each way to get there and back. By the time you get done with everything, going to the bank and back takes at least 45 minutes.
DC: With electronic payments popping up everywhere, is it unusual that you still receive so many checks? Do people want to pay you with a credit card instead?
VW: We don’t take credit cards, and we don’t have online payments either. It comes up every once in a while, but it’s never stayed [a big enough issue]. People write checks a lot for legal services. Our accounts payable are mostly checks also.
DC: How about the scanner? How much did it originally cost – or did the bank give it away like some do now?
VW: We bought the scanner new. It was not bank-subsidized – we paid almost $1,000 for it, at least nine years ago. We definitely got our money’s worth out of it. And we never had any downtime until the very end.
DC: So, are you familiar with the scanner cleaning process using cards and swabs? We’re thinking that may have helped with the longevity – or if it wasn’t cleaned, that’s even more impressive.
VW: Yes, I am aware of the cleaning process. I still have about a dozen TellerScan Check Scanner Cleaning Cards in stock. I used them occasionally, no more than once a quarter. Amazing tidbit, by the way – I’ve have them for 8½ years and they have never dried out.
DC: What ended up happening to make you switch to the CheXpress? Did the old one finally stop working?
VW: We suddenly started getting all black on one side of the images, but it had worked perfectly right up until the day before. [Note: This is most often caused when the camera finally wears out on very old scanners.] But the cost of the new one was only a third of the original. If it lasts as long, I’m sure we’ll get our money’s worth out of this one too!