I dislike going into Bank of America branches. Long lines, lots of trainee employees. One reason I have been diversifying away from them after years of relationships. But I have enjoyed the new automated deposit capabilities at their ATMs.
It scans printed checks and automatically OCRs the amount. For manual checks, you enter the deposit amount when prompted. You don't need to put the check in an envelope and the receipt shows image of the check for your records.
If you have more than 3-4 checks, though it could take a while as it scans each check individually.
It can also accept up to 40 currency notes (and has a counterfeit detection feature).
Of course, as with other machines, they can have a mind of their own as comments on this blog show, but so far the machines have been good to me
Intuit (of Quicken fame) has started a new service called Beam where you can get by text message balances and recent transactions from your banks, credit card, and other financial companies. Several banks offer a similar feature, but only for their accounts. Quicken allows you to register several accounts - and then set filters to alert you where transactions exceed a certain amount or balances go above or below amount - or you can proactively text the service and it will return balances, recent transactions etc.
The service is aimed at consumers (as the image below shows) but there do not appear to be any limits on number of accounts tracked so small business owners could potentially set alerts for each employee's corporate cards. You have to have an existing electronic banking relationship with the financial institutions you want to track, though, as Beam uses their sign on process.
While some folks will be afraid to share financial info with Intuit, to me the alerts actually let me know if someone is messing with our credit. Besides the ability to check balances by SMS is handy when you are not near web or phone banking access.
Unlike most Intuit products, Beam is free (at least for now and there is a single button which will supposedly wipe out all your data from their servers when you decide to cancel). Of course, the SMS charges can add up ..