Thanks to modern digital banking innovations, sending a check through email is most definitely possible and can be done in several ways, depending on the situation.
Several businesses offer powerful payment solutions for individuals and businesses to accelerate their cash flow with digital payments.
These solutions allow employers to organize payroll in situations where direct deposit is not possible.
It also facilitates the option for individuals to make payments to other individuals in unique ways, such as being able to send a snapshot of the check via email. However, this approach should be taken with caution.
How to send a check through email
Email checks, also known as digital checks, provide an efficient, secure alternative to physical checks.
Some services offer mobile applications for easy payments on the go, which is great for small businesses and individuals.
Others offer advanced installations for processing payroll on a commercial scale.
Checkbook is an all-in-one payment solution for individuals and businesses offering ACH (Automated Clearing House) payments, mailed checks, printable checks, real-time payments, virtual cards, and instant pay.
Checkbook’s printable check solution helps you save time and money on printing and shipping by sending a digital image of a check to your recipient’s email address.
The recipient can then print the check on normal paper like any other document and deposit it like a normal check.
Deluxe eChecks are a simple digital check solution for businesses, from sole proprietorships to large corporations.
They are simple to use for one-time payments and large batches of payments.
Deluxe is compatible with CSV imports and integrates seamlessly with several accounting programs such as QuickBooks.
Deluxe eChecks reduce the cost of printing, sorting, and mailing paper checks by delivering checks directly to recipients’ emails.
Since they don’t require recipients to share their banking information, they are extremely secure.
This reduces the potential for loss or theft inherent to mailing paper checks.
Email Check by Checkwriter is a digital check product for businesses to simplify payroll.
The software solution creates checks on demand in a printable PDF form that recipients can print on normal paper with any printer, then deposit like a normal check.
A couple of its advantages include:
- It’s a fast, easy method for emailing checks to contractors and staff, either individually, or with bulk sending options.
- It reduces wait times from days to minutes and eliminates the risks of shipping paper checks.
Paynote is a software solution for check payments that allows digital checks to be emailed on demand without the need for recipients’ sensitive banking information.
All that you would need is the recipients’ name, email, memo, and amount to be paid.
When the payee receives the emailed check, they simply enter their bank information into a secure form.
This process does not a Paynote account registration, after which the funds are transferred directly into their bank account.
Can someone send you a picture of a check to deposit?
Yes, if someone would like to transfer funds to you, they can do so by emailing you a picture of a check that’s made out in your name, so long as your bank is happy to accept it.
By opting not to use one of the services provided in the previous sections, it will most likely be fraught with increased scrutiny from the bank.
A check is considered valid if it specifies the following:
- Routing number
- Account number
- Payee’s name
- Amount specified in words
- Date with a signature
Taking a picture of a check with this information may be considered valid, however verifying the check may pose an issue since any security features will be absent.
Quality of the printed check image may also determine whether it is flagged as suspicious and perhaps even fraudulent.
One thing in common between all the above solutions is that they use proprietary software to securely generate and send checks via email for recipients to deposit.
If you attempt to cash or deposit an emailed photo of a paper check, there is a high likelihood that the bank will turn you away, unless they are able to verify and validate it.
How to cash or deposit an emailed check
The process for cashing or depositing digital checks emailed through an approved solution, like the ones listed above, is only slightly different from cashing a regular paper check.
- A digital check is emailed and received.
- The check is then printed using an appropriate printer. Caution should be taken if printing to a shared printer!
- Cash or deposit the freshly-printed check the same way as a normal check, by either visiting a local bank or using their mobile banking app.
Many modern banks offer mobile check deposits through their mobile banking apps, including US Bank, Wells Fargo, Fifth Third, Bank of America, Chime, and several more.
Services such as Paynote and Deluxe offer instant digital check deposits by allowing recipients to enter their banking information through a secure online form without needing to register an account – very fast and convenient!
Is it safe to send a check through email?
Email checks solutions provide several safety features over paper checks:
- When you pay via digital check, you can cancel the payment, as it has not yet been deposited.
- To send a digital check, you don’t need the recipient’s banking information, mitigating any risks of data breaches exposing sensitive banking information of your payees.
- Email checks go directly from sender to recipient, which eliminates the possibility of loss, damage, or theft in transit through normal snail mail.
Like all things convenient, email checks do carry some form of risk. If a recipient’s device or email account is compromised, a person with malicious intent could gain access to their finances or banking details.
However, all individuals who rely on mobile banking in any form run this same risk, which means that email checks are at least as safe as mobile and online banking.
How to spot a fake check through email
In addition to online security risks receiving checks through email, there is also potential for them to be counterfeit.
Spotting a fake check through email is somewhat similar to spotting fake traditional paper checks.
In particular, if you’ve been sent a screenshot/image of a physical check, here are some tell-tale signs of a fake:
- Quality of the image: The higher the quality, the more likely that it may have been fabricated from scratch using image processing software, in which case, tread very carefully. If the image can be clearly identified as a picture of a physical check, consider observing the following to determine authenticity:
- Bank details: The origin of the check should be indicated usually on the top left, displaying the issuing bank’s logo and name.
- Check number: This should be located on the top right corner and either the first or third number on the MICR line. Both of these numbers should be the same.
- MICR line: Positioned towards the bottom of the check, this should contain both the issuing bank’s routing number, as well the account number of the checking account from which funds will be drawn.
- Compare with an authentic check: A good idea is to contact the bank and ask for a voided check to compare the validity and positioning of the check’s features.
If you are suspicious of the emailed check, ensure you speak with your bank or check deposit service provider, to confirm its validity.
It takes about 2 weeks before they can determine whether or not it is fraudulent. Considering the damage fraudulent scams can cost you, this is most definitely worth the wait.
What are the benefits of sending a check through email?
Sending checks through email is:
- Fast, safe, efficient, and affordable.
- Provide simple platforms both for senders and recipients of email checks which reduce processing errors, transit risks, and fraud.
- Cheap and eco-friendly, since they offer paperless solutions for senders and both paper and paperless options for recipients.
What are the disadvantages of sending checks through email?
The primary drawback of email checks is the modern day risk of cyberattacks. Strong encryption and security measures however, are used by the suggested online solutions to mitigate such risks.
Also, once the payees receive the printable checks, they would still need to take action to deposit the money into their accounts, the same way with traditional checks.
This is done either by:
- filling out an online form, or
- printing out the check for deposit at a bank branch or via a mobile app
What’s the difference between an emailed check and an eCheck?
An email check, or digital check, is a different form of payment than an eCheck.
Email Checks and Digital Checks
Email checks and digital checks are digital versions of paper checks.
They can be deposited instantly via an electronic direct deposit function if the recipient enters their banking information into a secure online form.
Alternatively, digital checks can be printed and cashed or deposited in the same way as a paper check.
Digital checks are encrypted payments that only require senders to know recipients’ email addresses.
Where digital checks are representations of paper checks, eChecks are a type of ACH payment that requires the input of the recipient’s routing and account numbers.
Depending on how long the check is verified, typically between 1-2 days, and whether the sender has the available funds, they may require up to 5 days to clear.