BB&T joins the growing list of big banks that offer one of the most anticipated pieces of banking technology — mobile check deposit. However, for BB&T customers, the feature comes at a price.
Launched Monday afternoon, the latest update for the BB&T mobile app offers personal and small-business checking customers the ability to deposit checks through a smartphone.
“We are pleased to offer our clients the convenience of depositing checks from their Apple or Android smartphone or tablet,” said Merrie Tolbert, a BB&T spokesperson.
Customers must have a banking relationship with BB&T for at least 90 days and be signed up for online banking.
Like most banks, BB&T imposes a limit on the amount that can be deposited remotely — to manage security risks. The deposit limits are $1,000 per day and $3,000 over a rolling 30-day period for personal checking accounts and $2,500 per day and $5,000 over a rolling 30-day period for business checking accounts.
“For checks above these limits, clients will need to deposit them at a BB&T branch or ATM,” said Tolbert.
BB&T will offer a free 30-day trial of the mobile deposit feature; customers pay a 50-cent fee per deposit. According to app reviews by customers, the debate over fees is split.
“This is the feature that I wanted the most! Saves me trips to the bank, which are far more costly than 50 cents each,” said one reviewer in the Google Play store.
“I would have given this app 5 stars if they didn’t charge $0.50 to deposit a check,” wrote another reviewer, who left a 1-star rating, in the Apple App Store.
It is not unusual for a bank to charge a fee for mobile deposits — U.S. Bank and First Tennessee Bank also charge a small fee per mobile check deposit. Chase, Citibank and PNC don’t impose such a fee.
Tolbert explains the why BB&T opted to go the fee-route:
“In additional to normal check processing expenses, we have ongoing costs for Mobile Check Deposit, e.g. licensing and software. During our pilot period we learned that while many consumer and small-business clients are eager to use mobile check deposit, others will continue to make their deposits at a BB&T branch or ATM. So we believe the best approach is to charge by use rather than recoup our expenses from income that is spread across all clients.”
Currently, the bank aims to expand the feature to a wider range of business clients.
BB&T is the 11th-largest U.S. bank by deposits — $127.5 billion in deposits as of Dec. 31, 2011.