Recently, I had a conversation with a blind friend of mine who finds herself in an interesting situation. She has received paper checks, however because everything is locked down, depositing them has become a real issue. That got me to wondering how accessible mobile check deposits might be; it seems that just about every bank offers this option, but is it an accessible one? Thinking it over, a few possible challenges immediately came to mind:
- Knowing exactly where to endorse the back of the check and writing “for mobile deposit” or similar which many banks now require.
- Aligning the camera so that the front and back images of the check are properly captured.
- Knowing one way or the other that the deposit has been accepted.
While I certainly can’t test every banking app out there, I did try a test with Wells Fargo’s app and was extremely impressed. Wells Fargo has somehow implemented camera guidance, so that VoiceOver helps the user position the camera correctly for the check image to be captured. Even better, when everything is aligned, the photo is automatically taken and, before final submission, the user gets notified if the photos need to be re-taken because of quality or other factors.
So, how does it work? First, the app asked me to capture the front of the check. I discovered that I needed to hold my phone in portrait mode (left to right) which is something I hadn’t expected. Since a check is small, I assumed — wrongly it would seem — that the phone could be held in portrait orientation. As I lifted my camera away from the front of the check, VoiceOver started providing me with guidance information, “move closer” “move right” “move down” and finally, the picture was taken. The process then repeated itself to capture the image of the back of the check. Unfortunately, the part that remained inaccessible for me was properly endorsing the back of the check and writing “For mobile deposit only” which the bank requires. Maybe this could have been accomplished with the help of a service like Be My Eyes or Aira?
I was surprised that the process of mobile check deposits, at least with Wells Fargo, was not as inaccessible as I feared. Unfortunately, I tried with a few other banking apps and met with very different results. I also did not test with Android. In summary though, the process of mobile check deposits can be made mostly accessible as demonstrated by Wells Fargo’s app. If you try this with your bank and meet with different results, it might be worth sending them a support message and encouraging them to further investigate the possibilities of making their process more accessible. While the technical details surpass my development abilities, my understanding is that Apple makes various APIs available to developers who want to incorporate camera guidance in their applications.
Has anyone else tried mobile check deposit recently? If so, what have your experiences been?