About ten months ago I wrote about Bank of America making improvements to their ATM deposit procedure by implementing a system that allows for the scanning of cash and checks as they are inserted into the machine. Well, at long last it’s finally available in our area and last night I had an opportunity to test it out. From a technological standpoint, it’s pretty cool…
In the case of machine printed checks, the system automatically determines how much the check is for, and then presents you with an on-screen image and asks for confirmation of the amount. The machine got it right in all cases, although I had to re-insert one check a few times before it would read it. In the case of hand written checks, it asks you to enter the amount and then shows a picture of the check and asks for confirmation that the amount you entered is correct.
One really nice thing about this system is that they print a receipt with small images of the scanned checks. This is incredibly helpful for people like me who make deposits and then forget what proportion of the grand total came from where… I keep track of all this stuff in Quicken, so this saves me from having to write myself notes as to how the deposit broke down. And before you start worrying about security, the images have the routing and account numbers blacked out across the bottom.
The downside? It’s S-L-O-W. I had five checks to deposit into two separate accounts and, while I would’ve been in and out of there really quickly with the old style ATM, it took me a good long while to get through my transactions. So long, in fact, that the friendly lady sitting in the Humvee behind me rolled down her window and yelled up to me to find out if the machine was broken. Lady, if the machine was broken, do you really think that I’d sit in front of it punching buttons and inserting slips of paper for five minutes?
I can’t speak for cash transactions, but I’d think they’re be just as slow, especially if you have a lot of small bills. The good news here is that these machines should make things much more convenient and efficient for Bank of America, and that’s what really counts, isn’t it? 😉