As you may have guessed, not all remote deposit capture systems are the same. They’re all made to accomplish the same general purpose, but there are a few subtle differences in the way they go about it. Here are a few of the more important distinctions to be aware of:

Browser-Based vs. Software (“Client”) RDC

The difference here is about whose computer is running most of the programs — yours or your bank’s.

A browser-based RDC system, as the name implies, is one in which you use a web browser to log in to the bank’s remote deposit service, and then begin scanning checks. Most of the software, except for a barebones package containing a few items like the scanner drivers themselves, runs on the bank’s servers. Welcome to the cloud.

Some advantages of a browser-based remote deposit capture system include:

  • Low demand on your computer’s resources
  • Generally simple setup process
  • You can log in from any computer with an appropriate scanner
  • “Always signed in” requirement makes unauthorized access difficult
  • May be compatible with non-Windows operating systems such as Mac OSX and Linux (check with your bank)

Some drawbacks of a browser-based system include:

  • Speed may be limited by Internet bandwidth (particularly when scanning large batches of checks at high speed)
  • Cannot access the program if not online
  • Less ideal if physical access to your PC is a primary method of security

A software-based, or “client,” remote deposit system is a program that is installed and runs on your computer, and communicates with your bank when needed via a secure connection that is launched from within the program. It is typically a good option for scanning large numbers of checks at once, or when your RDC system needs to interact with other programs on your computer.

Some advantages of software-based RDC include:

  • Does not require Internet connection to operate
  • Large numbers of checks can be scanned quickly and then uploaded all at once
  • Typically limited to one computer; operator must have physical access to that machine
  • Ideal if RDC shares functions with other programs

Some drawbacks of software-based RDC include:

  • Larger program; more demands on your computer’s system resources
  • Sensitive information may be stored on your hard drive temporarily or permanently
  • Not ideal for public/shared computers or those at risk of being compromised by malware

Most banks have moved away from client-based to cloud based applications due to the efficiency of keeping the software up to date managing the overall application.

Mobile Remote Deposit

Using a smartphone camera instead of a PC and scanner to capture the check image. Major advantages include the convenience and cost (tends to be cheap or free). Significant drawbacks are the effort involved to capture a useable image, as well as a tendency for banks to impose low item and dollar-amount limits.

Specialized Remote Deposit Functions

Some banks and other companies have developed versions of remote deposit that interact with other financial/bookkeeping software such as QuickBooks or NetSuite. Some are also designed to work with various business or practice management software. Many remote deposit programs include the ability to create data files in common formats that are easily imported by other programs and databases.

Other Features and Distinctions to Ask About

The above are just some of the more common variations you’ll find in remote deposit capture. Other issue that may vary from bank to bank include:

  • Is there a limit on the dollar amount of checks that I can deposit (either per individual check or per day)?
  • What is the cutoff time for depositing items the same day?
  • Are copies of the scanned check archived on my machine, or only with the bank? How long does the bank keep them available online?
  • Is any kind of endorsing, franking, or virtual endorsement required?
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See Also:

History of remote deposit
What is the Check 21 Act and why was it passed?
Types of remote deposit
Choosing the right check scanning device
Understanding magnetic ink (MICR)

FAQs

Who can use remote deposit?
Where do I sign up for remote deposit?
How much does it cost?

 

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