The Green Sheet Online Edition
February 23, 2009 • Issue 09:02:02
RDC, scanner tandem for small merchants
Remote deposit capture (RDC) technology is relatively new, and for some small merchants the cost is prohibitive. A new product from Jack Henry & Associates Inc. called Dep@sit aims to fix that.
Dep@sit is essentially the same service provided by existing RDC systems but with one exception: It is compatible with a standard, off-the-shelf, flatbed scanner. Now small and micro-merchants on tight budgets need only buy the deposit service and avoid the expense of both a high-tech remote deposit scanner and the accompanying software. Users still must have high-speed Internet.
"This is merely an extension of a product we had already developed for remote deposit capture," said Debbie Wood, General Manager, Marketing and Industry Research for Jack Henry.
"We took it downstream in an effort to provide our customers - financial institutions as well as the businesses they do business with - with the opportunity to take remote deposit capture to a segment of the market that we'd been unable to provide for."
A complete service
Dep@sit, developed by the Jack Henry subsidiary ProfitStars, is not the first RDC device compatible with a standard scanner. But such devices are only just emerging, and Wood said most other micro-business RDC systems offer only a partial service. She said they do allow the electronic transmission of scanned checks but do not determine authenticity, so merchants still have to deposit physical checks at banks.
The single benefit of that service is the immediate acquisition of a credit payment for the scanned check; but a merchant stands to lose that money if the check is bad, or have it temporarily deducted if the physical item isn't promptly submitted. According to Wood, Dep@sit has two features that permit online verification. One, she said, is "an architectural difference in the software itself," and the other is the program's inclusion of fraud detection software.
She cautioned, however, that the service is not intended for a bustling store with a steady inflow of checks. A normal scanner still requires that every check be individually scanned by hand, a wearisome process with a big workload.
"Scanning 20 items front and back is going to take a while ... versus if you're using a remote deposit scanner; those actually have a little trap on them, and they transmit through in just a matter of seconds," she said. "So you can actually drop 20 checks in a scanner as opposed to having to feed them, and then it automatically feeds."
In some cases, Dep@sit may just be a short-term solution for merchants eager to forgo another tedious financial errand. "For a start-up business that starts slow, this gives them the opportunity to start out without a huge capital expenditure - or without any capital expenditure other than a PC and a scanner," Wood said.
"That way if a business starts to grow and they see more transactions coming in the way of checks, then this also gives financial institutions the opportunity to cross-sell to them: 'Now that you've grown, your needs are different than when you started out; let's migrate you to the next phase.'"
Jack Henry & Associates Inc.
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