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Scan 'Em Up, Send 'Em Out

Wouldn't it be nice to deposit your customers' checks without leaving the office? A new service from Wells Fargo called Desktop Deposit lets you do just that. It takes advantage of a law commonly known as Check 21, which went into effect in October, 2004, allowing banks to clear electronic reproductions of checks.

The process is simple: Buy a scanner from the bank -- prices start at $869, or you can lease one for $33 a month -- and plug it into your PC's USB port. Then log on to Wells's secure Web site, scan the checks, key in the amounts, and send. The scanner prints "electronically deposited" on the back of the checks so you'll know which ones have been scanned. If you want to hang on to the paper copies, the bank will provide tamper-evident bags, or they'll pick them up -- then store or shred them -- for you.

The service is most useful for businesses located far from bank branches or with multiple locations or a large volume of checks. "If the only reason you go to the bank is to make deposits, this will save you the trip," says Susan Feinberg, analyst at Tower Group in Needham, Mass. That's time better spent on your business.

By Susan Price

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