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Living on the go: how to receive & deposit paper checks
Old 05-14-2015, 08:31 AM   #1
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Living on the go: how to receive & deposit paper checks

After a frustrating 15-20 minutes of fruitless searching on Google, I'm turning here because I figure I'm not the first with this desire.

Is there a good way to handle the regular and ongoing receipt and deposit of paper checks when one is highly mobile? I've already checked (pun intended) and the small and medium size businesses sending me these payments cannot do wire transfer or direct deposit/ACH. It's a relatively low volume (up to 10 +/-) per month of relatively high dollar checks so expediency and reliability are important.

Is there a bank that will offer this? Not even sure where to look.
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Old 05-14-2015, 08:42 AM   #2
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Hmmm, it is the part where you aren't where the checks are coming that is the problem. I use photo deposit at Schwab, but I physically have the check in my hand and do the deposit on my smart phone.
Do you have someone handling your mail while you are traveling that you can trust to do the deposits? That's the only solution I can think of, if you are constrained by paper checks in the mail.
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Old 05-14-2015, 08:53 AM   #3
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Mail forwarding services might be an option to get the checks to you. Then you can mail the deposits or, as Sarah suggests, mobile deposit.
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Old 05-14-2015, 08:56 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Sarah in SC View Post
Hmmm, it is the part where you aren't where the checks are coming that is the problem. I use photo deposit at Schwab, but I physically have the check in my hand and do the deposit on my smart phone.
Do you have someone handling your mail while you are traveling that you can trust to do the deposits? That's the only solution I can think of, if you are constrained by paper checks in the mail.
Yes, the issue is physical separation from the check. The checks go to our permanent/home address and trickle in over the month. When we're home in town, I can do smartphone app (photos of check) or deposit by mail (requires tagging each deposit with a unique session ID and postal mailing the check). The issue is when we're not in town.

Typically we have someone watching the house and bringing in and piling up the mail. It's not a problem if we're gone for just a week--or even two--but as we want to be gone longer it becomes an issue. A local trusted family member might be an option although it's a little tough since (like many on here I suspect) our family knows we are doing well but would probably be shocked by the large gap between what's in these checks and our relatively modest lifestyle.

[EDIT] For now at least, when we're away it's at different places (i.e., we don't own a second home) that we rent. So forwarding services won't work due to the variances in US Postal mail. We could end up with a large check arriving to a rental unit's mailbox days or weeks after we have left.
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Old 05-14-2015, 09:07 AM   #5
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[EDIT] For now at least, when we're away it's at different places (i.e., we don't own a second home) that we rent. So forwarding services won't work due to the variances in US Postal mail. We could end up with a large check arriving to a rental unit's mailbox days or weeks after we have left.
There are private mail forwarding services, such as this Mailbox Forwarding | Virtual Office Address - Mail Scanning
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We provide you with a unique street address box number where you can have all your mail sent. When a new piece of mail arrives, our staff automatically scan the front of the envelope. You can then manage your mail through an online control panel, and can request that we open and scan the contents, shred and recycle the item, or forward-ship it to your home or business address.
My link is just an example, not a recommendations. This service has been referenced frequently by members spending extended time traveling abroad.
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Old 05-14-2015, 09:25 AM   #6
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That's what I suspected. I think the best solution, at least if your payers aren't willing to do ACH/EFT type transfers, is to find a reliable bookkeeper type person to receive your mail when you are traveling. As long as you can keep fairly close tabs to prevent theft/fraud, that is going to be the most seamless solution, though more costly than others. I agree that having a family member do it may create more problems than it solves.
If the payees are small, friendly type places that just don't have the system in place for electronic transfer, it might be worthwhile, for the price of some special treatment for their AP person, get them to send the checks in envelopes you provide, with deposit slips, directly to your bank. That is one possibility, but without knowing the folks you are dealing with, hard to say if it is workable.
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Old 05-14-2015, 09:46 AM   #7
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I use a private mail service like the type MichaelB linked above. It works very well if you are moving around constantly and they open, scan, shred as described. Costs about $20/month but is worth it.

The main drawback is the extra delay in shipping (a few days) and generally most mail services have a set number of free scans but physical shipping is extra. We probably have them send us physical mail once a month.
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Old 05-14-2015, 09:47 AM   #8
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I was facing this problem with my tenants and our summer vacation. I checked with our credit union and as long as the checks have "for deposit only" in place of my signature they'll take them. I'm giving my tenants some deposit slips and prepaid envelopes to mail in the rent.
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Old 05-14-2015, 11:17 AM   #9
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Isn't there an App for that?
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Old 05-14-2015, 11:21 AM   #10
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There are several rental specific websites that allow online payments for a small fee. I am planning on converting our rentals over to this payment system. Given that they allow credit cards, I think it will encourage on time payments. I don't know if there are similar sites for other payments?
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Old 05-14-2015, 12:18 PM   #11
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For example:

25+ Top Free Apps for Check Scanning (android) | AppCrawlr
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Old 05-14-2015, 03:58 PM   #12
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Ron, the issue is that I'm off traipsing around other states or countries and the checks are arriving in my mailbox back home. My financial institution has a smartphone check scanning app but that depends on the checks being in my physical possession. I suppose one could try using one of the mail scanning services and then taking a picture of the scan but I seriously doubt that will work.

Rodi and Sarah: your idea of sweet talking the AP folks into including a deposit slip and mailing checks to my financial institution instead of to me is intriguing. Something I may have to look into.
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Old 05-14-2015, 04:33 PM   #13
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Ron, the issue is that I'm off traipsing around other states or countries and the checks are arriving in my mailbox back home. My financial institution has a smartphone check scanning app but that depends on the checks being in my physical possession. I suppose one could try using one of the mail scanning services and then taking a picture of the scan but I seriously doubt that will work.

Rodi and Sarah: your idea of sweet talking the AP folks into including a deposit slip and mailing checks to my financial institution instead of to me is intriguing. Something I may have to look into.
Are you gone more than 30 days? I travel for work and am gone for 2-4 weeks at a time. Some of the companies I deal with don't do direct deposit so they send checks to my address. I have my mail held at the post office which they'll do for up to 30 days. I often come home to a 4-figure check or 2 that have been sitting in the post office for a couple weeks. I always have a 5-figure cash reserve so I don't need the money deposited immediately so no big deal. If I know i'll be gone more than 30 days then I write on the hold form "please allow (persons name) to pick up mail. Then I give that person another form to hand in when they pick up my mail so my mail is held for up to another 30 days. The checks are always good for at least 90 days.
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Old 05-14-2015, 04:38 PM   #14
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I was facing this problem with my tenants and our summer vacation. I checked with our credit union and as long as the checks have "for deposit only" in place of my signature they'll take them. I'm giving my tenants some deposit slips and prepaid envelopes to mail in the rent.
My tenant now does the email pay method, so I just get an email and deposit the amount into my account.
Once I was travelling and didn't have email, so it sat for 2 weeks before I deposited it. 30 days is the limit after which it is returned to the sender.

It costs the tenant $1.50 each time.
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Old 05-14-2015, 05:17 PM   #15
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My husband and I were recently our of town for 12 weeks. The postal service (you have to go in person to the post office) will temporarily forward your mail to any address you would like for up to 3 months. Free of charge. We had our mail forwarded to our daughters house. Worked out great.
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Old 05-14-2015, 05:17 PM   #16
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I'd ask on an RV forum. Those folks must have to deal with that issue all the time so you'll probably get a broader set of answers.
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Old 05-14-2015, 05:52 PM   #17
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Had this happen to us. Mother in law took iPhone photo of front and back of check and iMessaged those photos to me. We opened them on DW smartphone and then used my smartphone to scan the picture into my banking app that does photo check deposits. It sorta worked. Ugly but worked.

Checks are so 1990's.

What about accepting credit card payment via square. Or receive via PayPal payment or accept bitcoins etc etc. ?
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Old 05-14-2015, 06:21 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by someguy View Post
Yes, the issue is physical separation from the check. The checks go to our permanent/home address and trickle in over the month. When we're home in town, I can do smartphone app (photos of check) or deposit by mail (requires tagging each deposit with a unique session ID and postal mailing the check). The issue is when we're not in town.

Typically we have someone watching the house and bringing in and piling up the mail. It's not a problem if we're gone for just a week--or even two--but as we want to be gone longer it becomes an issue. A local trusted family member might be an option although it's a little tough since (like many on here I suspect) our family knows we are doing well but would probably be shocked by the large gap between what's in these checks and our relatively modest lifestyle.

[EDIT] For now at least, when we're away it's at different places (i.e., we don't own a second home) that we rent. So forwarding services won't work due to the variances in US Postal mail. We could end up with a large check arriving to a rental unit's mailbox days or weeks after we have left.
You can use a private mail service, and have them send out priority mail, and receive it in a few days. Unless you are nowhere for a week, this should work. You can also call a post office that is on your route, check that they accept general delivery, and then have it sent priority mail to that location waiting for when you arrive.
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Old 05-14-2015, 06:22 PM   #19
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My tenant now does the email pay method, so I just get an email and deposit the amount into my account.
Once I was travelling and didn't have email, so it sat for 2 weeks before I deposited it. 30 days is the limit after which it is returned to the sender.

It costs the tenant $1.50 each time.
Which vendor do you use? I see that paypal has a service, as does popmoney. Popmoney fees are more in line with what you mention.
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Old 05-14-2015, 09:46 PM   #20
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What about a bank lockbox? Checks are make out to you, mailed to a P.O. box that the bank controls and they then deposit the checks to your account and provide you with details on what was deposited.

Only thing is, it might not work for small volume or might be prohibitively expensive.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lock_box
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