(UPDATE2: Bank of America announced the launch dates for mobile check deposit.)

(UPDATE: Updates number of mobile banking customers to 9 million from 5 million in the fifth paragraph, per statement from Bank of America.)

Bank of America customers who want to deposit paper checks through their smartphones will have to wait a little longer. The highly anticipated mobile check deposit feature is now slated for launch in the second half of the year — later than had been planned.

Originally, the bank said the feature would be available by June 30. But the bank is backing away from that deadline.

“Our initial tests for remote deposit were very successful and we have plans to launch this capability in the second half of 2012,” Tara Burke, a Bank of America spokesperson, told MyBankTracker.

It’s unclear exactly when the bank will be able to deliver the feature. And it’s unclear just what has caused the delay. Burke declined to be more specific about the new launch date or to say why the bank would miss its target deadline.

What is clear is that a large number of people are likely to be disappointed — Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) has more than 9 million mobile banking customers.

Are fees on the horizon?

U.S. Bank, the fifth largest bank in the country, lets customers deposit checks remotely — and charges 50 cents per check. First Tennessee Bank, the largest bank in Tennessee, charges 99 cents per check, which can be waived with certain checking accounts.

One possible explanation for Bank of America’s delay is that it, too, wants to charge for the service. But Bank of America may be feeling a wee bit skittish about announcing new fees.

Bank of America suffered a deluge of bad press and consumer outrage with its debit card fee plans in late 2011.

Interestingly, a readers’ poll on MyBankTracker suggests that consumers might be more welcoming of a fee for mobile check deposits.

As of Feb. 9, roughly 16 percent of respondents say they would pay a per-deposit fee, while 68 percent say they would not pay. Another 16 percent would pay the fee depending on the fee amount and the specific scenario. (The poll began Jan. 10 and is still running. You can cast your vote at the end of this article.)

Eager customers willing to leave

According to a 2011 survey by Javelin Strategy & Research, half of customers who use mobile banking services want mobile remote deposit capture.

“We are less focused on being first-to-market and more focused on being right-to-market and ensuring we deliver the most effective products and services to our customers — this has been and will continue to be our approach to digital delivery,” said Burke.

USAA Bank, one of the biggest providers of banking and financial services to military personnel, was the first bank to pioneer mobile check deposits in August 2009.

Chase, having recently dethroned Bank of America as the nation’s biggest bank, introduced its mobile deposit feature on the iPhone in July 2010 and on Android devices in November 2010.

“I am a long time Bank of America customer, but I wanted this feature so badly that I opened up a Chase account just so I can use that feature,” commented Tim Riley in an earlier MyBankTracker article.

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  • Vz9qff

    Here’s the thing…banks are significantly reducing their costs by having checks processed electronically vs. paper.  What this ultimately adds up to is the banks charging a fee to help them save money…


    • Banks could use mobile deposit fees to recoup the lost revenue from the new debit card swipe fee caps. It also costs banks for maintenance of security and fraud prevention for these services.

      It may make more sense to charge fees on a relatively new feature than on a previously free feature (like debit cards.) Consumers are going to have to watch for these new attempts to impose fees, especially with the rise in new financial innovations.

  • Guest

    Great… looks like I’ll be switching banks.
    I moved to Colorado this year and there is only one BoA ATM that takes deposits and not a single branch.  Thought I’d tough it out, but I don’t think I can keep this up all year.  That ATM is a PITA to get to being that it’s in a shopping mall in the middle of Denver.. =/

    • Guest

      P.S. Thanks for the update.  I was getting a little wary of the lack of updates before this.  Now I know not to expect it any time soon. 

  • Sturlahh

    You are of course aware of the fact that nobody overseas has seen a check since the mid 90’s?

    Nobody else in the world believes a check is safer than a secure transaction over the net.
    Congratulations, in the seconf half of 2012 we can welcome you to the late 90’s……

  • Lybbyt

    Just received Bank America notice: “Please be advised…if you continue to deposit paper checks, you may notice increased float times,and reduced availability of funds”  – this sent to an account with one deposit per month(in toto), consisting of one paper check.  Next they’ll ‘be forced to charge an additional service charge’ for the handling of this one paper check in this one deposit.

  • Hunter Fitch

    Maybe banks should go back to making money off of lending it to qualified businesses and people instead of trying to nickel and dime everything to death.

  • Zia Evans

    While the idea of mobile deposit brings convenience to those that are busy and/or are far enough away from a bank, the mobile deposit feature is not a matter of life or death. I live about 10 minutes away from my Bank of America branch and going there to deposit at the ATM is pretty convenient as they have 3 ATM’s right up front. So final answer would be if yes, that’s great, if not, that’s fine too.

  • R Check

    I’ve been waiting for this feature. Very soon, I’ll be moving to a state without any BofA branches and my inner voices don’t want me to surrender my free lifetime checking (and I sure don’t want to mail deposits). With the availability of cash back options at so many places – with no fees, I don’t even care about ATMs. Am I crazy?

  • Michael Weston

    I think we need a poll option to say “No, I will switch to Chase.” That’s where I’m going if BOA doesn’t come up with mobile deposits soon, and at no additional charge. This technology has been out there for years now what the hell has BOA been doing all this time?

  • ForLife

    For heaven’s sake, credit unions and small town banks have mobile banking apps with remote check deposit feature, yet, BOA is still behind in pushing this feature out is absolutely mind-boggling.