Cheques, Cameras and Banking Apps

My loathing of having to go to my local bank branch has caused me to review one of my rules about doing on-line banking on wireless devices (and using wireless phone networks). Pretty much every bank now offers “free cheque” deposit using your phone or tablet, (and their ATM machines are effectively doing the same thing i.e. photographing your cheque and clearing it that way).

You simply take a picture of the front and the back of the cheque, with your mobile phone (inside of your banks mobile banking app), input in the app how much the cheque is for (with a note to associate with it as well), note on the actual cheque that you have done the deposit (and when), keep the cheque for 10 days (to make sure it clears) and once it clears, shred the cheque (TD offers this, as does Tangerine and a few other banks).

Secure Wi Fi

Only Work in a Secure Wi Fi Environment

Previously I have ranted about the insecurity of doing your on-line banking over a wireless network (it’s also incredibly bad to do your on-line banking in an Internet Cafe or on any computer that you don’t control (even the one in your office, assuming your place of work is safe can be a dangerous assumption)), however, given using this new service means I don’t have to go to my “brick and mortar” bank, I will qualify my rant about wireless on-line banking.

  • Surprisingly it is better to use this on your a cellular data network (the security on those networks is much better than you might think), so if you are going to use this service and you are not at home don’t use public wi-fi or any stuff like that, use your cellular data network.
  • Don’t use Public Wi-Fi, Restaurant Wi-Fi, or “Hey look I found open Wi-Fi”, for anything, but especially not for Internet Banking, seriously, you aren’t doing that, are you?
  • If you have a home Wi-Fi Network and it is not open (i.e. you use WPA2, WPA or WEP protocols) then you can use your home Wi-Fi (also don’t broadcast your SSID either) for on-line banking.

An interesting issue can arise (that I read about on this Reddit Thread) that if you try to deposit a post dated cheque early (using your camera and your mobile phone app), you are going to end up being in a bit of a mess. To sum it up, the bank will negate the deposit, and the cheque you have will be useless, as it has been refused by a bank, so whomever wrote you the cheque will have to write you a new one (this is why it is well worthwhile reading the /r/PersonalFinanceCanada Reddit sub).


More Blocked Mutual Fund Transactions at TD

Again, I am tripped up by my “investing profile” at TD? Yes, again, due to my Mutual Funds account investing profile was not “up to date” and thus my risky transfer from a Money Market Fund, to a Bond Fund was blocked. What do I mean by blocked? It was disallowed and my money remains in the Money Market Fund.

Transaction Denied

Dikembe must work for TD ?

I sent the following message:

So AGAIN, my transaction in a TD Mutual Fund account is BLOCKED because my “Profile” is not up to date? I was just in my bank branch, having to do the EXACT SAME THING for another Mutual account, yet I must do it again?

Can I do this on-line? If not, why not? My level of frustration with this system is nearing a critical level, and feel that while it is good that you care enough about your customers to ask them about their investing needs, I am also growing weary having to wander into my local branch to update my profile once a year.

I figured I’d hear nothing back, however, I got the following even more frustrating message back, using the secure message feature of TD’s On-line banking interface.

Thanks for connecting with us. I am happy to offer further guidance.

The idea of reviewing your investments once a year is to make sure they still align with the level of risk that you are comfortable with. Since your investment goals and some events in life might have changed, by reviewing your profile, you are reducing the chance of being affected by unpredictable changes.

You can revisit your priprities and review your Mutual Funds Investment profile by calling us at 1-866-222-3456 option 5. A licensed representative will be happy to assist you with your Mutual Funds from the comfort of your home.

I trust this will help. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

How does this address my query? How is this helpful? Telling me that yes, you need to review your investing profile every year seems to suggest my e-mail was not quite understood?

OK, so this has now convinced me, I only have 2 TD Mutual fund accounts left, and I will be closing those, enough is enough.



iPad Compatible Banking Apps

A while back I purchased an iPad for myself to see if I could “run” my small business (yes, this web site is a small business, stop snickering) on an iPad. I have learned a fair amount about the apps on the iPad and such, but I have also learned that for some odd reason many different apps only have iPhone compatible versions.

For those unfamiliar, you can run iPhone compatible apps on your iPad, however, they only run in Portrait Mode (short across top, longer on the side) and it looks pretty clunky (and most likely, if anything goes wrong, you are not going to get any customer support).

Apple iPad

Your New Banking Device ?

Whilst attempting to figure out how things work, I tripped across a couple of interesting issues with the Canadian Banks and their “apps”:

  • TD has an iPad compatible app, as does Tangerine bank, haven’t tested to see if the scan cheques capability works on either app
  • PC Financial, Capital One and Amex all have iPhone apps, but nothing that runs on an iPad, currently
  • For those of you curious this site is supposed to be iPad compatible too.

Having iPhone compatible apps is fun, and convenient, an iPad version with a few more features would help consumers more (although you would be banking over very unsafe WiFi networks).

How did I deal with this shortcoming? I tweeted about it (naturally):

Amazing stuff. Boomer and Echo pointed out that ten years ago I wouldn’t be making these complaints, but I had a retort for that as well:

No answers to my tweets (yet), aside from TD favoriting my comment about how their app did work with an iPad.

This was written on an iPad using Microsoft Word, and OneDisk to store it, which was then transferred to my web site, convoluted, but it works (for now).

Do you use your Tablet for on-line banking? How about your Smart Phone?


Bell Ringing Banks and Frank Costanza

One of my favourite Seinfeld episode (if I can have just one) is the episode where Frank Costanza (played by Jerry Stiller) starts a PC Sales company out of his garage, and every time someone made a sale (not George, but that Lloyd Braun!) they  rang a table bell, needless to say things get a little out of control and “SERENITY NOW!!!” (something I also yell a lot) was in great usage in that episode.

Why would I bring up such an obtuse TV reference, maybe I had nothing better to write (did I just hear a bell ring), or maybe it was because I was in my local TD Canada Trust branch and saw the following sign:

“… if you like the job we did ring our bell to show your satisfaction…”

(Or something like that). My wife dutifully rang the bell after visiting with the young teller she was at, but as I left, I rang the bell as well and pronounced loudly:

“That was for the banking machine it did a GREAT JOB as well!”

I just wish I’d yelled, SERENITY NOW! right after that .


What is this Cheque From?

Twice now my wife has deposited a large cheque and the teller has asked her either:

  • What is this cheque from?
  • What is this cheque for?

One of My Favorite Parts of Mad Magazine

Courtesy of Mad Magazine (click for site)

Now I have already talked about Snappy Answer to Stupid Financial Questions, however, this question begs a commentary from me as well.

I understand why the question is being asked, however, it really smells of a “Lawyer Question”. You know the “Lawyer Question”, it’s a question that  the lawyers make you ask so you have the “I told them not to do that” or “Yes, I asked them if this was illegal”.

Just to be helpful here are some answers that you should not give if you are asked this question at the bank:

It’s the proceeds of selling my Crystal Meth business, I already endorsed it as Walter White

While I think this is funny, my guess is you will not make any friends except with law enforcement.

 What’s it to you? Cash the damn cheque and shut up, I am the customer.

That’s one of those, it feels good for 5 seconds and it hurts for weeks after that, never talk to anyone in the service industry like this if you ever want to have service.

The guy who wrote it told me to come in and cash it right away.

No bank would cash anything after you make that statement (without a 2 week hold on it). If your buddy told you that, you might want to keep that to yourself.

I got it from a Nigerian Prince who is trying to get money out of his country

OK, that one I went a little too far.



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