I deposited 4 checks last Saturday night using my bank’s ATM and learned something interesting about one of the drawbacks of depositing multiple checks simultaneously.
Convenience of AM deposits
I love how convenient the ATM deposit process has become. Not having to fill out a deposit slip or place all of the checks together in an envelope was a huge leap forward but the ability to deposit multiple checks simultaneously makes the process even faster. Some ATMs even display images of the deposited checks onscreen so that you can instantly verify that the machine scanned the checks correctly while others print images of the checks on the deposit receipt. Given my schedule I appreciate the flexibility of after-hours banking at an ATM that provides many of the basic services offered during the bank’s normal business hours.
My bad handwriting started it all
I’ll be the first to admit that my handwriting skills have degenerated over the years – much of what I write nowadays is typed on some type of computer or smartphone keyboard. As a result, I rarely need to write any substantial content using a pen and paper (other than my signature, which doesn’t really count) and typically much of what I do write by hand includes personal notes and reminders. When writing personal checks I often use block capitals as they tend to be easier for others to read than the lowercase letters that I write. And so it was on Saturday afternoon when I wrote myself a personal check in order to transfer cash from one account to another. Ideally I should have both accounts linked so that I can transfer the funds electronically between them but doing so is a low priority.
At the bank ATM I deposited several checks, including the handwritten one, but didn’t pay sufficient attention to the verification screens that indicated the number of checks deposited and the accumulated balances of same. As a result, I was surprised to see that my total deposit was $100 short when I checked my account balance online the following day. Apparently the scanner had misread a “3” as a “2” on the handwritten check. Further, because I had deposited multiple checks simultaneously I had to delve deep into the details of the transaction to parse each check separately to determine here the error had occurred. When I called the bank’s customer service phone number, the customer service rep also had to delve into the details of the transactions to understand the issue and verify that I was not trying to pull a fast one on the bank, and then the claims specialist that I was transferred to also had to perform the same action. Talk about the devil being in the details!
My key learning
My key learning from this experience is this: deposit checks separately when using an ATM to make the deposit. Doing so will take a little longer but it’ll be faster to detect and address issues as they arise at the ATM than later when you have to call the bank’s customer service number, navigate their menu options, and explain the situation to a live person. Although I am pleased to say that the time I spent talking to, and being on hold with, my bank’s customer service and claims employees, was enjoyable.
What are your experiences with depositing checks at an ATM? Comment below and let me know.
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