PayPal for Android has, at long last, been updated with a killer-feature iUsers have enjoyed since last October: camera-based check scanning and depositing. As a frequent PayPal user, myself, I have to say: this is awesome. Checks are the very bane of my (financial) existence; I mean, who uses checks? Every time I get one of those evil little slips, I scurry down to my local Wells Fargo, wasting precious gasoline and time - assuming it doesn't just sit on my desk for a month, taunting me with its hand-scrawled promise of currency (if you haven't noticed, I'm kind of lazy.)

snap20110518_104358 snap20110518_104408 snap20110518_104714

Yes, I'm poor

While I could wait for Wells Fargo to implement such a feature, I might be waiting a while: their Android app is still just a URL bar-less mobile web page. Unfortunately, not all of our banks are as cool as Chase.

To use the new check capture feature, just open up the PayPal app, hit "Tools", and head over to "Add Money from Checks." You'll need to take a picture of the front of your check, and a picture of the back with your endorsement (signature.) Once you've done that, just enter the amount the check is for, and submit. If your picture-taking skills are up to par, you should get a screen like this:


Now, it's just a matter of waiting for PayPal to process it. They estimate 6 days, but in my experience, PayPal generally beats those estimates every time - they're just playing it safe.

Just two things, there is a daily deposit limit of $1000US, and a monthly deposit limit of $3,000. So don't expect PayPal to replace your bank 100% just yet. Also, the feature is only available in the U.S. You can get the updated version of PayPal on the Market right now (it's a manual update).

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • http://htcsensationblog.com/ ZohMan

    Now you can donate to Android Police via ur android device :P

    • David Ruddock

      We don't take donations, your continued patronage will suffice. :P

      • BachinPhx

        Not sure David but that had a certain air of sarcasm to it. :)

  • RichieRich

    Soooo.... instead of depositing the check at any of the zillion of ATM's that litter the landscape and having the money in your bank account in two business days, you now get to keep the paper check for a minimum of three weeks, while waiting longer to get your money? And this is a good thing?

    • David Ruddock

      For those of us that pay for things (or pay people) with PayPal, it's highly convenient, because the funds will show up in however long it takes PayPal to process (I'm assuming 1-3 business days).

      Going to an ATM is a task for some people who live in more remote areas, especially. Also, for folks who use slower (but more economical) credit unions and such (or other institutions that don't offer Visa debit/credit cards), PayPal bridges the online shopping gap.

      Trust me, this is big for a lot of people.

      • RichieRich

        As someone who lives in a rural area and uses a credit union with two-day turnaround on ATM-deposited checks... uh, no, you have no idea what you're talking about.

        The iphone version reportedly is used for around $1M in check transactions every month. So, essentially, a vanishingly small percentage of the number of checks that ever get processed in the traditional manner in that same time period.

        • David Ruddock

          I don't want to sound like an ass, but: you aren't every person on earth - and your credit union isn't representative of every financial institution.

          And I totally fail to see how $1 million transacted every month on this feature is "vanishingly small" when only a small percentage of the population uses PayPal in the first place - I'm sure PayPal doesn't consider it "vanishingly small."

          It's a new feature - if you don't like it, don't use it, I really don't see why you feel the need to gripe about it the first place.

        • Coldman

          I absolutely hate going to ATMs, especially to deposit small checks like rebates, and I don't care how long it takes to clear - 2 days or 2 weeks.

          In fact, your bank has 2 weeks to bounce your check and reverse the funds, even after they've posted the balance to your account, did you know that?

          So, if it helps save time by not having to leave the house and drive around, why bash it? It's a new feature, indeed, give it time to gain a larger portion of the check market.

          Either way, check scanning is awesome. Did you bash ATMs when they came out too? You could go to the bank and talk to a real person, why would you ever need ATMs?

        • Chris

          Wow, you sure are ignorant. I have to drive 30 minutes to get to a bank machine that will let me deposit into my bank.

        • Ron H in Schenectady

          Yikes! I'm glad you're not a representative in Congress or something who thinks he knows everything about his constituents without even asking them! I live in a small city in upstate NY. Getting to an ATM that actually ALLOWS me to deposit a check is just about impossible to find. I have to go into a bank to cash a check. The only place I can deposit a check is at my own credit union's ATM--that's it.

  • http://zackeryfretty.com/ Zackery Fretty

    Meh, I don't trust PayPal.

  • Darius_bd

    USA only, I guess...

    • http://www.eAnagnostis.gr eAnagnostis

      In Greece, at least, there is not even an a "Add a Check" button in "Tools"...

  • http://www.eAnagnostis.gr eAnagnostis

    Same question as Darius_bd here. Can this feature be used outside USA for a check for USA?

    • http://on.fb.me/awkwardinbox Jkne

      Sadly, it appears not. Just installed it again. I have a USA check waiting here. Banks here want to charge me £8 for putting it in which is extortionate.
      I'm now uninstalling the Paypal app, again!
      Hopefully they'll sort it out so it becomes more useful to a member of the international community.
      Nice app though lol

      • http://www.eAnagnostis.gr eAnagnostis

        Post now updated: "the feature is only available in the U.S"

        Thanx @ David Ruddock for the clarification

  • JJ

    That is unbelievable. People complaining about a free service that offers convinience? If you don't like don't use it. Just shut your mouth!

    • Coldman

      Exactly. It's not just now too - this is why it's frustrating for developers of any app to read comments, people just bash without thinking or any regard for the work that was put into the product.

    • Stuffedtater

      so are you saying that people should not rate the apps and not be honest about their experiences with it so that it doesn't inform others people who will then waste their time as well? i guess you are also saying that they should not inform the developers of any flaws they see in the product they created? brilliant!

      • yankeesusa

        Nope I am not saying dont rate. What I am saying is instead of just complaining about things YOU KNOW the app doesn't do complain about things its supposed to do but it doesn't. Apps get updated all the time so just wait for a new feature to be updated or ask the developer. My biggest complaint is people cussing and saying a bunch of crap for a feature that the app clearly doesn't have. When complaining be specific and give a solution of what may help. 

  • Chahk

    Not to put on a tinfoil hat, but I absolutely will NOT trust any app with my banking details. There's just too many avenues of attack.

    With that said, I do some banking on my PC. The difference is that I have a lot more control over my computer than I do over my phone.

    • David Ruddock

      I guess I can see that - PayPal doesn't really use your banking details, though, which is what is nice about it. You can have a PayPal debit card if you really want to separate PayPal from your bank info. But really, there's no way anyone could get access to your bank account via PayPal, it's just not possible.

      A picture of a check isn't going to do much, anyway - someone (with eyes) still has to process it manually down the line.

  • http://alesia-ellen.newlegends.net Alesia Matson

    Can't wait to get the update for this one! I hate checks. I hate writing them, I hate accepting them. I also live in a rural area, AND bank with a credit union. With gas prices being what they are here, I don't drive into town unless it's absolutely necessary. So, I don't know what the trollish-like being was complaining about, above -- this seems like a Really Good Thing, to me.

    Yay PayPal! And thank you David, for letting us know!

  • http://twitter.com/lordnikonpro Matt

    So is this $1000/Day mean if you had a check for $1300, $1000 gets deposited one day and the next day $300 gets deposited? OR the check limit is $1000?

  • Jaymoon

    Great to have this feature. There has been a couple of times already that I missed the bank being open on a Friday by less than half an hour. Perfect for this situation since my bank is closed on weekends.

    Yeah, the 6 day turn around time is lame, but Paypal is just like any other bank. It takes them forever for transactions scheduled online. Yes in reality it only takes them maybe 24 hours to transfer your funds, but how would they make any interest off your money if they did that?

  • Octavian

    I have never seen a real check in my lifetime. Nobody uses them here in Europe. Since my online banking can do everything I can imagine, I can't come up with a use scenario...

  • Lee

    Well as a person who has been down on his luck. I think this service is great! I remember a time when I had no car, I had a part time job which I rode a bicycle to because my license had been suspended by court costs. My employer wouldn't give me direct deposit no matter how many times I asked. Every payday, I had to ride that freakin bike three miles out of my way to deposit my check.

    Hey, I eventually paid my court costs, saved up some money, got my license back and bought a new car. This service back then would have really saved me a lot of peddling on that bike.

  • moshe

    iphone users can still brag that they can do it abroad

    • Frustrated

      It seems they can also brag that it works. On my admittedly low end Samsung Intercept it always forcecloses right after taking the photo. Grumble, grumble...no joy here.

  • Frustrated

    To bad that when i try to use it the Android Paypal app it gets as far as letting me take the photo, then the camera app forcecloses and i'm never able to complete the transaction. At the very least this doesn't work on the Samsung Intercept, and judging from the comments i've read online some of the Droids too. I'm so tired of apps forceclosing...it's always the useful ones too!

  • http://cydewaze.org/ cydewaze

    And apparently now it's gone. Today the app told me that as of June 15, 2014, you can no longer scan checks into Paypal. At least I can save some space by deleting the now useless app.