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Fiservs CheckFree lets consumers scan checks at home to deposit them into bank accounts
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    MILWAUKEE — Online banking service provider CheckFree Corp. is rolling out technology that could mean consumers will no longer have to go to a bank branch to deposit checks.
    Called Remote Deposit Capture, the technology lets people scan checks through their home computers and deposit them electronically has been around for several years, but it has been used mainly for businesses.
    Customers want to be able to deposit checks without having to go to banks, said Rod Springhetti, CheckFree’s vice president of global strategic marketing, and banks want to be able to offer that.
    ‘‘I think the ability to remotely capture a check will become part of the standard features and functions of online banking,’’ Springhetti said.
    CheckFree said the service is available starting this week for any consumers who bank online, as long as their banks offer it.
    Recently acquired by Brookfield-based Fiserv Inc. for about $4.4 billion, CheckFree has been in discussions with institutions large and small, though none have committed to using the technology, Springhetti said.
    Bob Meara, a senior analyst for research firm Celent, said lots of smaller competitors may follow CheckFree’s lead, but it remains unclear how many banks will adopt it and how consumers will react.
    ‘‘Eventually it will be a staple element in banks online and the mobile banking platform,’’ he said. ‘‘That doesn’t mean every consumer is going to pay attention to it.’’
    A recent Celent survey found that about 20 percent of banks had the technology for consumers or planned to get it, and another 20 percent were considering it — while about 90 percent either use the technology with business clients or want to.
    CheckFree’s technology already is in the top 150 banks. Springhetti said it is fairly simple to use, and banks can tailor it for their clients.
    Customers need a scanner, which is often standard on printers now, a computer and an Internet connection. They’ll go to their home banking site, enter the amount of the check, scan both sides, do a quick review and submit it to the bank. Banks will have the option to add their own fraud protection to make sure bad checks aren’t being cashed, he said. Normal processing times will apply, he said.

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