Depositing checks with my iPhone is fast. It's getting the money that's slow.
ING Direct recently released what I'd been waiting for: CheckMate, a smartphone app that allows customers to deposit checks remotely.
I've been a longtime ING fan, and after dealing with the merry-go-round of nonsense fees from Wells Fargo, I was eager to switch over my checking account to the online bank.
One problem: I'm self-employed and get most of my payments via paper checks. The only option for depositing those with ING was to mail them.
That doesn't jibe with my financial lifestyle. Every time I deposit a check, I split it up immediately between my checking, retirement and savings accounts. Waiting until the check gets through the mail to ING didn't make that possible.
Unfortunately, CheckMate doesn't really solve that problem.
First, what works.
Depositing via my iPhone is really easy. I snap a photo of both the front and the back of a check, type in the deposit amount and send it to ING through the app.
I get an email soon after telling me if the check has been accepted or not. I've never had one rejected, even when I'm taking photos of those checks in the dim lights of the post office (I often do this after I fetch the checks from my P.O. box.)
The app also lets me move money between my accounts (whether ING or not), pay bills and find an ING-approved ATM.
Through their Bump Money app, I can even give or get money by tapping my iPhone to another person's if they also have an ING account and have downloaded CheckMate.
But CheckMate still isn't a quick way to actually get my money.
For example, I deposited two checks on Friday, June 15 -- one for $550 and another for $950, for a total of $1,500.
ING put $200 of that into my account the next business day, but I wasn't guaranteed the rest until June 22, a full week later. While ING says that the wait could be shorter, it never has been in the couple of months I've used CheckMate.
Plus, if the check is over $3,000 -- and I do get checks larger than this -- I still have to mail it. They also limit daily deposits to $5,000 or 20 separate transactions.
Sorry, ING. A seven-day lag time between depositing the check via phone and getting the money isn't going to work for me.
So unless ING can speed up that timeline, I'm still on the hunt for the perfect home for my checking account.