Bob has previously commented on how cred…

Bob has previously commented on how credit union branches are replacing teller windows with ATM-like video chat terminals that let you interact with a teller who may be in the next room or on another continent. These transactions usually involve the cashing or depositing of checks, because why else would you bother to drive to a branch nowadays? But the machine doesn’t actually send the check to the teller; it just scans it and sends an image to the teller wherever he or she is.

Well, if that’s how it works, we don’t actually have to drive to the branch, do we? We could easily send an image of the check from home — or anywhere, really, now that we all carry phones with built-in digital cameras.

At least one bank has embraced that argument. USAA now offers a free app to its customers who use iPhones. You use the app to photograph both sides of the check and send the images to USAA, which processes the deposit and credits your account. You can then void the check and file it with your other records, or just shred it.

One might ask why we still have to deal with paper checks at all, but as long as we do, this is an interesting approach to the problem.