Canadian Banks Racing to Offer ‘Photo Chequing’ from your iPhone


It appears Canadians will soon be able to deposit cheques from your smartphone camera, also known as photo chequing. The latest report from The Globe and Mail notes our ‘Big Six’ banks (CIBC, TD, RBC, Scotiabank, BMO, National Bank of Canada) have plans to introduce this new feature in Canada, according to NCR, the company behind the technology:

“They’re all working on plans right now,” said Steven Nogalo, vice-president of Global Payments at NCR in Waterloo, Ont., the Canadian-based company that created the technology, which is used by U.S. banks such as JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup, and Bank of America.

With the arrival of updated federal legislation this year that will allow more modern kinds of digital payments in Canada, the technology is expected to make its debut at Canadian banks within months. Most of the Big Six lenders are expecting to roll out photo chequing by the end of summer or soon after.

“There is going to be a race among the Canadian financial institutions to get to market first,” Mr. Nogalo said.

The technology behind this is NCR’s APTRA Passport for Mobile, which will allow users to take pictures of cheques and deposit them safely. Security features would include:

…unique advanced fraud features, such as cross channel duplicate detect, cross channel deposit limits, item level deposit limits and deposit information availability.

Essentially, once information from a cheque is received it is entered into a massive online database. Duplication of any information would quickly raise a red flag. In April of 2009, NCR teamed used Mitek’s ImageNet Mobile Deposit software technology for image processing–there’s no word if this will also be used in Canada.

Check out a video demo below (it’s an older video but the steps will be the similar):

Depositing cheques via a snap from your smartphone has turned into a popular feature in the U.S.; Chase Bank in New York has had more than $3 billion U.S. cashed since July 2010.

CIBC was the first bank to launch a fully-featured iPhone app to allow customers to pay bills, check balances, transfer funds, and more back in February of 2010. Soon after we saw similar apps from TD, RBC, Scotiabank, and BMO. The race is now on to see which bank will be the first to update their iPhone app to include photo chequing. This is one more reason to never wait in line at the teller window again or use an ATM. Are you excited for photo chequing to come to Canada?

[via The Globe and Mail]


  • Jbohn

    Still waiting for PC Financial to release and iPhone app, so I doubt they will have this feature soon too!

  • D42K_KN1GH7

    I as well, however I don’t think they’ll be doing this anytime soon as they’re a “free” bank.

  • djepsilon

    I surprisingly still deal with a lot of cheques in my life, so this would be a pretty cool feature I think! Kind of a waste of paper though. Sign the cheque, take a pic, rip it up!

  • draz

    This would be an awesome idea to bring to Canada. Can’t wait!

    Cheques are so last century. Time to move forward and get with the digital age

  • Hank Romualdez

    I do not think you get the idea. This will not trash out mankind’s use of cheques. It will just aid in the process of depositing cheques into the financial institution of the receiver.

  • Hank Romualdez

    The app does not add to paper wasted. You already have the paper cheque to start with. App just helps recievers deposit their cheque to their financial institution.

  • MleB1

    People and companies still use cheques?

    Freelancing, most companies pay me by direct deposit and yeah, I guess I still pay rent by cheque – but really? Cheques?

  • djepsilon

     Good point.

  • Guest

    The video suggests there be a monthly or item by item fee charged to customers using this! Another case of the customer being charged for saving the bank money?

  • LoWd0Wn

    yes great new technology but the banks will find a way to charge us for something that we did not pay for before. To think we are giving them our money and paying them to do it.

  • Guest

    So…over one year later and nothing…

  • joe

    I don’t think the banks will charge for this service. I’m self employed and quite often have 2 or 3 checks sitting in my glove compartment waiting for me to take the time to take them to the bank. Which costs the banks money. If the cheques were deposited right away they would have more time to play with the money.

  • TL

    Does BMO have this app yet?

  • David

    Amazingly yes. One of my US suppliers only takes payments via Cheque. They won’t take credit card or ANY form of electronic payment. Cheques only. And given how often I order from them it’s a real pain in the backside. They are the only people I have to go get a cheque for. Stupid process slows down everything.

  • allanl

    Vancouver City Savings Credit Union (Vancity) already provides this which is awesome! I use it often.

  • majik

    Which banks have this in Canada now?