A couple of blog entries ago I had lamented about how I was invited to sign-up for Checkfree's electronic deposit, and I never heard back from them. Well, I finally did hear back. Last week I received an email asking me to fax them a voided check for verification.
Of course as things go these days, you can't trust an email at its face value. For all know it could have been from a Russian gang trying to access my bank account. What else could be more perfect for them than receiving a copy of my check via fax? So it took me some time to verify the fax number indeed belonged to the Checkfree organization. Once confirmed, I faxed in a copy and followed it up with an email to make sure they had received the fax.
I didn't receive a response to my email, but today I received a fax indicating that a Checkfree payment had been wired to my account. I surfed to my bank account and verified that the funds were indeed deposited. This is truly a time-saver. No more waiting for a check to arrive by mail, dealing with the hassles of lost or misdirected mail, standing in line to make a deposit, and waiting for the check to clear.
Of course Checkfree is only one of a number of organizations that handle online payments. This system only works if the payer makes an online payment and the payment is handled by Checkfree. I'm sure if I change bank accounts, or if my address changes, or if a payment is made via another payment system, it's back to the mailbox for me.
Still this is a step in the right direction. It has brought online banking another notch closer to a truly paper-free operation. What about the confirmation fax I received, you might ask? That is also paper-free, thanks to my fax service that forwards my faxes via email attachments.
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