Hands On With PayPal Check Scanning for Android

Android(s goog) device owners have one less reason to drive to the bank now that PayPal(s ebay) has added check scanning to its software. PayPal today released an update to its mobile app for Google’s platform that brings the feature: Users can snap a picture of a check with their Android 2.1 or better phone and have the amount automatically deposited to their PayPal account. The newest version of the mobile app, version 2.8, also allows the software to be stored on a handset’s memory card, which can free up internal storage on the device.
iPhone owners have had the check scanning feature since October of last year and they don’t seem shy about using it. In a blog post today, Shimone Samuel, the Product Experience Manager for PayPal Mobile, says that iOS device owners have been scanning about a million dollars per month using the image capture feature with checks. I noticed some lengthy terms of service upon installation of the new PayPal app; notably that users are limited to $1,000 per day and $3,000 per month for check scans. After accepting the terms, I ran through a quick test by writing myself a quick check for $5; note that you can’t write checks to “Cash” using the software.

After signing in to the PayPal app on my Nexus One, I simply followed the simple steps of snapping the front and then back of my signed check. If you hiccup during one of the image snaps, you can easily retake the photo. Once the two pictures are captured, you manually enter the check amount in a calculator-like interface and tap the “Process Check” button. That action shoots the check information and images to PayPal’s servers; I did this over a 3G connection and it took about 10 seconds. After PayPal has the info, you get a…. confirmation, but not your money. It can take up to six days to process the deposit and PayPal suggests you hold the check for at least 15 days.
Aside from a let down of my instant gratification need not being met, the process is simple and seamless. For a while I had hoped that my bank would support mobile check cashing like this, but PayPal’s implementation means I don’t have to wait any longer. And that’s the benefit: By providing the service to millions of iOS (s aapl), and now Android, devices, PayPal is going after a far wider audience than any one single bank. Not everyone will be a PayPal user, but for those that are and have Android devices, this is a great feature addition.