Opinion: True tales of selfie deposits

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This week I continue my look back at how I have wrestled with new technology during the past 20 years, and then I’ll provide updates on my recent progress.

I like bank tellers because they help me fill out deposit slips. They even occasionally laugh at my jokes. I never get a giggle out of an ATM. Tellers know exactly how much cash I have in my savings, so they couldn’t be laughing at my lousy puns just because they think I’m wealthy.

Several years ago, I wrote about a new technology that was threatening my relationship with these bank employees. I could make deposits by simply clicking a photo of the checks. The first time I tried it, I held the check at arm’s length and snapped a shot with my smartphone. I showed it to my wife for her approval.

“Is that a good picture of the check?” I asked.

“No, but it’s a great photo of your thumb. Geesh, I sure hope that’s your thumb.”

I tried a few more times, but I kept getting error messages that my photos were fuzzy, the camera wasn’t steady, or the amount wasn’t legible. I never got this kind of flak from Brad, Sarah, or Miranda at the bank, so why was I putting myself through this?

I went to my branch and told the staff that I preferred their outstanding customer service to using some cellphone gadgetry and that I planned to continue banking there in person. Unless, of course, I could find an app that would laugh at my jokes.

Update: I now deposit all my checks by phone, although since I retired, I hardly ever have anything to deposit. I’ve gotten pretty good at this new way of banking. I’m embarrassed that one of my first attempts was a selfie of my hand that proved jowls are not the only thing that make you look older. Gnarled fingers and the orange stuff from Cheetos contribute to a seasoned look.

That app still tells me when the picture I took of the check isn’t clear enough. It tells me if I need a darker background. Have they read my bio? Could I have a darker background? I get a lot of prompts to hold the phone steadier. I’m just depositing a few bucks, not making one of my shaky financial investments.

The transaction I made an hour ago was refused: CHECK AMOUNT DOESN’T MATCH DEPOSIT AMOUNT. My check was for a lousy six dollars.  I wrote 600, which looked right to me. Until I found my glasses.

I used to spend a lot of time messing with my accounts, moving money from checking to savings. That resulted in a few extra dollars in the savings account each month. But in the last several years, I’ve continued to lose interest in the process.


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