Credit union members use iPhones to cash cheques

Some credit union members can now use their iPhones to cash cheques, without visiting a branch.

Affinity Credit Union says Blackberry, Android users next

Affinity Credit Union unveiled its Deposit Anywhere iPhone app this morning, which allows members to deposit cheques using their smartphones.

Forget making a trip to an automated teller. Some Saskatchewan credit union members can now deposit cheques using their iPhones.

Affinity Credit Union unveiled its "Deposit Anywhere" technology this morning. It's based on smartphone technology that allows members to photograph both sides of a cheque, then "deposit" it using a free iPhone application.

"What we're announcing today stands to revolutionize the mobile banking industry in Canada," said Mark Lane, Affinity Credit Union CEO. "It's simple, it's secure and it's convenient to use."

Lane says mobile cheque cashing technology has been used in the United States for nearly a decade.

Anti-fraud detection measures built in

Members in Saskatchewan are asked to write a note on the back of the cheque, indicating that it has been deposited using the mobile application. Affinity asks them to hang onto the cheque for 60 more days, before destroying it.

"Certainly if you knowingly do it more than once that constitutes fraud," said Lane. "Clearly there's ramifications for doing it more than once. So we're not expecting that. And we're aware of a number of issues related to fraud that have been worked through in the United States. We're going to learn from those." 

Affinity Credit Union member Kristina Ehrlich said up untill now, she's had to stop at an automated teller to deposit cheques for her business at least four times a week. She tried the new application using her iPhone last week.

"It's pretty incredible," she said. "I don't know how they did it but it's awesome. It's going to save me tons of time. And I'm just really, really excited about it."

Ehrlich says the iPhone application contains several security features. She was pleased to learn it does not store the photos of the cheque on her device.

ING Direct started offering an identical service this week. Credit unions in British Columbia and Ontario also allow members to make deposits using smartphones.

Affinity said it will extend the service to members with Blackberry and Android devices by the end of this year.