Cash is going extinct, and at the very least we can hope that means the end of annoying coins and, maybe, just maybe, the end of $x.99 prices. Just charge me $4 so I'm not stuck with that penny, okay?

But we diverge.

Mobile payments have taken over transactions everywhere and now mobile banking wants to make the other side of money—saving it—just as easy.

According to the American Bankers Association, 1 in 3 Americans deposited a check with a mobile device in 2016. And many of those users reported doing it frequently.

Mobile check deposits are a big part of the mobile banking boom that's escalating with the increasing security of mobile phones. Without having to visit a bank or ATM, you can take a picture of both sides of your check and securely deposit it into your bank account through their mobile app.

With only a few short steps, you can deposit that check from your couch, even on a Sunday, even at midnight, in as many steps as it takes to Snap a selfie with dog whiskers.

The possible drawbacks to mobile deposits are basically the same as when you deposit at a bank. You'll still have to deal with the usual delays if your bank holds funds for a day or two. Some banks hold funds longer after a mobile deposit, but at this point, most of the most popular banks follow the standard regulations that you're already used to.

Banks have faced pretty rare instances of fraud where, because you can keep the check after you've deposited it, people have tried to deposit it again. In some of those instances, a different person deposited the check, causing the bank to remove the money from the legitimate depositor's account. But banks have generally solved these problems. One recommendation is to sign the check with "for mobile deposit only," to reduce the chances of this happening.

Santander's website suggests that you write "Deposited" and the date on your check after you've sent pictures of it as added precaution. They also advise that you keep it for two weeks for reference and then destroy it. Shredding is a safe way to prevent a lucky snooper from getting any ideas, and it's also a great stress-reliever! (Side recommendation: shred everything if you have the opportunity! It's just fun).

Mobile device security is higher than ever, so a secure connection to your bank is not something to worry about. They store the images on their end, anyway, so losing your phone or falling victim to a hack won't make any of your deposits vulnerable.

Every bank has its own suggestions for mobile deposit. If you follow their guidelines and use the same precautions you always have, the process should be smooth and as stunningly simple as it is on paper. So go ahead, cash that check with your phone. Just make sure you're on your bank's app and not Snapchat when you take the pictures.

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What do you do when financial hardship hits and you can't make your monthly mortgage payments? This is a question on many homeowner's minds as nearly 17.8 million Americans are reportedly unemployed during the coronavirus pandemic.

When homeowners face financial hardship, such as the loss of a job, they often look to obtain a forbearance agreement from their lender. A forbearance happens when your lender grants you a temporary pause or reduction in monthly payments on your mortgage. Forbearance is not the same as payment forgiveness, in that you still have to pay the entire amount back by an agreed-upon time.

Mortgage lending institutions differ on their mortgage relief policies and qualifications; however, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act were signed into law in late March of this year to protect government-backed mortgages.

Federally backed mortgages include:

  • Fannie Mae
  • Freddie Mac
  • The Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
  • The US Department of Veteran Affairs (VA)
  • The US Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Under the CARES Act, homeowners with a federally backed loan who either directly or indirectly suffer financial hardship due to coronavirus automatically qualify for mortgage forbearance.

Even if your mortgage is not secured by one of these agencies, you still can call and see if you qualify, as many lenders will still offer the option in order to avoid foreclosures.

Under the CARES act, homeowners can claim mortgage forbearance due to financial hardship from COVID-19 for up to 12 months without requiring any documentation or verification. During the forbearance period, mortgage lenders cannot charge late fees or penalties.

Additionally, as long as your mortgage is current at the time you claim forbearance, the lender is required to keep reporting your mortgage as paid current throughout the entire period.

At the end of the forbearance, the CARES act protects consumers from having to make a lump sum payment. Instead, you will be given a repayment plan from your provider. Since repayment options vary, it's important you ask your provider about all of your repayment options.

Possible Repayment Options:

You may be eligible for a loan modification at the end of your forbearance. With modification, the mortgage terms are changed in order to add payments that were missed during the forbearance onto the end of the loan, extending the term.

Another option that may work for some is a reduced payment option. This allows you to keep paying monthly payments at a reduced amount. The amount missed is usually added back into the monthly payments at the end of the forbearance.

For example:

Regular payment: $1000 per month

Reduced payment: $500 per month

Payment after forbearance period: $1500 (until caught up)

Balloon payments, or lump sum payments at the end of the forbearance, are prohibited under the CARES Act. However, mortgage lenders may require homeowners who are not protected under the CARES Act to make a balloon payment at the end, so again it is best to check first with your provider.

Mortgage forbearance should only be considered in true financial hardship. In other words, just because of the pandemic, you should not take a forbearance on your mortgage if you can still afford your payments. Likewise, if you are able to start making payments before the forbearance period is up, it's best to do so as soon as possible.

The Next Steps:

Before you get in touch with your mortgage servicer, save time by gathering as much documentation about the mortgage as you can. Also, be ready to list your income and monthly expenses. Due to an influx in calls, financial institutions are experiencing extremely long wait times right now, and having your information at the ready will help.

Have questions ready to ask. Here are some questions you should be asking:

  • What fees are associated with the forbearance?
  • What are all the repayment options available to you at the end of the forbearance?
  • Will you be charged interest during the forbearance period?

If your forbearance is approved, make sure to keep all documentation pertaining to it. Make sure to cancel any automatic payments to the mortgage during the forbearance period, and keep tabs on your credit report to make sure your lender doesn't report the loan as unpaid.


For more information on forbearance, contact your lender and discuss your options. If you need more assistance with understanding your options, you can contact a local agent for the housing counseling agency, or call their hotline at 1-800-569-4287.