'Device-Agnostic' Mobile Deposit A No Go For Now

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UNIVERSAL CITY, Texas-The first CU to say it would offer "device-agnostic" mobile check-deposits has switched gears, finding better success building native deposit apps targeted at Apple iPhone and Google Android devices.

"Device-agnostic mobile deposit just wasn't ready," said Mary O'Rourke, VP-electronic services, $4.1-billion Randolph-Brooks FCU (RBFCU). Problems included inadequate security, poor image-quality and complicated user procedures, she said.

No CU currently offers highly-touted software that allows members to make deposits from any phone. Instead, RBFCU released mobile deposit applications for iPhone and Android devices, allowing members to snap pictures of checks with the device camera and post the images instantly, all from the secure application.

The CU processes about 100 mobile deposit items per day, to the tune of more than $1 million in deposits in August, 80% of which comes from iPhones. That's up from $235,000 in mobile deposits in April, O'Rourke said.

Nearly 5,000 members have downloaded the iPhone mobile deposit app, and more than 1,800 have downloaded the Android version.

RBFCU is doing mobile differently from most credit unions. Deposit applications came first at RBFCU, unlike other CUs, which usually launch mobile banking applications first. "We already have a mobile website, but the one thing you can't do at the site is make deposits," O'Rourke explained. RBFCU didn't release an iPhone mobile banking app until August, and the Android version was released this month.

RBFCU is enjoying "zero fraud" from mobile deposits, thanks in part to risk management practices, O'Rourke continued. Each time a member logs in to the deposit application, the system reviews business rules and determines if the member is currently eligible for the service. If the member isn't eligible, the system removes the mobile deposit icon-and capability-from the application. Mobile deposit business rules address user qualifications, including credit scores, check holds, end-user license agreements and more, she said.

Less than 2% of mobile deposit checks are unreadable, O'Rourke added. "Some members think that any check picture is good, even if the MICR line is missing from the picture, or if there's a shadow on the picture... even though they have a chance to review the images before submitting them. You need to educate members to get the entire check in good lighting. The phone isn't smart enough to make sure all the data is there."

Inadequate images are separated by the CU's CAR/LAR tool for manual review. The CU spends less than two hours per day manually adjusting data from rejected images or asking members to resubmit a deposit, she said.

RBFCU accepts more than $5-million per month in remote deposits from members' home scanners. Soon, members will be able to use any digital camera to take pictures of a check and post it via desktop Internet banking, said O'Rourke. RBFCU built all iPhone and Android apps and home deposit platforms in collaboration with Vertifi Software, a subsidiary of Eastern Corporate FCU.

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