The 3 Easiest Ways to Deposit a Check Virtually

Going to the ATM is out, cashing your checks virtually is in!  

Expecting a long-awaited check in the mail? Hurrah! Now you can pay your rent, your bills, and splurge on a fancy meal. 

But what if you’re thousands of miles away from the nearest bank?

Whether you’re traveling on a cruise ship, taking an international trip, or simply living out of your RV, plenty of folks have trouble depositing checks the old-fashioned way. 

Luckily, in 2023 we have virtual deposit options that don’t require a bank—or even land! Let’s break them down.

The 3 Easiest Ways to Deposit a Check Virtually

1. Try remote deposit from your bank's mobile app.

A remote check deposit gives an individual or business the ability to deposit a check without ever giving a physical check to the bank. If you have personal mobile banking, you’ve probably done this before.


For those of you who haven’t done a remote deposit, it’s nice and simple! 

Step 1: Sign the back of your physical check

Step 2: Log into your mobile bank app 

Step 3: Click “make a deposit”

Step 4: Take a picture of the front and back of your check

Step 5: Enter the amount

Step 6: Deposit! 


Most banks offer remote deposit options, but usually only through their mobile app—so if you don’t have a smartphone, you’re still stuck going to the ATM. However, remote deposit remains one of the most convenient solutions for individual deposits.

When do remote deposits clear? 

Remote deposits usually clear faster than paper checks, but the exact timeline depends on your bank and the date of deposit. If your remote deposit doesn’t clear, it’s always a good idea to check in with your bank and make sure you’re meeting mobile deposit requirements—especially including your deposit limit!  

2. Get instant credit with an online deposit.

Online deposits are a combination of virtual and physical deposits. You still avoid a trip to the bank with an online deposit, but you do have to get the physical check to them in order for your money to fully clear. 

What does that mean? 

When you do an online deposit, you are essentially asking the bank for a loan while you mail the check to them for verification. If you have a $200 check and you use an online deposit, you don’t actually have $200 until the bank receives that check in the mail. Instead, you have a credit of $200 from your bank that will disappear from your account if they don’t receive your check within a given amount of time (timelines differ depending on your bank).  

Online deposits may sound complicated, but they can be lifesavers for small businesses dealing with large numbers of checks who need to pay off business expenses before those checks could realistically cash. 

When do online deposits clear? 

Online deposit credits appear in your account almost immediately after you request them. However, getting them fully cleared depends on the speed of your mailed check. 

3. Take the easiest route with a virtual mailbox proxy deposit.

Proxy deposits with a virtual mailbox are the equivalent of asking your assistant to take your check(s) to the bank for you. When you see a check appear in your virtual mailbox portal, you simply select “deposit” on the envelope and send the request. Your virtual mailbox will then mail your check to your bank on your behalf with an understanding that you’ve given consent. 

That’s it! 

Proxy deposits work well for individuals and businesses, especially those dealing with bulk checks or travel. Virtual mailbox check deposit is the only option that doesn’t require you to have the physical check in hand, which makes it ideal if you’re traveling without a permanent address and want your money as quickly as possible.

When do virtual mailbox deposits clear? 

Virtual mailboxes send your checks to your bank within 24 hours of receiving your request. We find that most banks then deposit them within 24 hours of arrival, but the time in transit can vary depending on your bank’s location.

Go Digital.

  1. No matter where in the world you go, the digital age comes with numerous perks. One of those is online statements! You may have noticed on many of your accounts that you now have the option to “go paperless.” If you choose that option, all of your interaction with that particular company—including your bank—becomes fully digital and fully accessible from anywhere in the world.

    If you’re headed out of the States for a lengthy period of time, converting your accounts to paperless goes a long way towards decreasing your excess mail.  

    IMPORTANT NOTE: While most account-based mail can go digital these days, certain pieces of mail will always require a physical delivery address for security reasons. Those pieces include:

    • IRS notices: The IRS only communicates via physical mail—this is also a good fact to note to avoid tax scams! The IRS will never call you or email you. Trust us. 
    • New debit or credit cards: Even if you’re using Apple Pay or a related payment method, all new cards must first be delivered and activated physically. This one is crucial to account for if you’re living abroad. 
    • Jury duty summons: As an expat, you remain an American citizen. That means you retain the right to vote via absentee ballot…and you remain available for jury duty. Unless you unregister to vote, you are still eligible to serve on a jury in your home state. Granted, you’re likely to be excused once they learn you’re living thousands of miles away, but it’s best to avoid the headache. 
    • Government IDs: You can register for a new ID or passport online, but unfortunately you can only receive one at a physical address.  


What type of check deposit works best for businesses? 

Depending on the size of your business, there isn’t one type of virtual check deposit that works best. However, if you’re dealing in bulk checks, virtual mailbox deposit or online deposit tend to be less messy than remote. 

Remote deposit works best for individuals or small businesses that work with an extremely select number of clients. Once you get into bulk checks, however, you start wasting valuable time uploading photos for each and every deposit. 

Online deposit can be a great solution for businesses—but you have to qualify. Online deposit functions based on the idea that the bank credits your money until they receive the physical check. If they don’t trust your credit, you’re out of luck. 

Virtual mailbox deposit, however, works without limits! Because we deposit checks on your behalf, you don’t have to pass a credit check or deal with individual deposits. Simple tell us what you want deposited and we’ll take it to the bank. 

What happens to my checks when I use virtual deposit?

No matter which virtual deposit method you use, your checks should always be destroyed after a successful transaction. Once you see the money in your bank, that check becomes invalid and should be shredded before tossing to protect against fraud. 

Can I use virtual deposit abroad? 

You can absolutely use virtual deposit during international travels—that’s one of its key benefits! Whether you’re cruising on the seven seas or working through a high-paced business trip in Beijing, virtual deposit keeps your money safe in your bank. 

Note that if you’re not using a virtual mailbox, you have to have your check physically in hand to deposit via remote or online services. If you’re abroad and a check gets sent to your home, you’ll need to forward that check to your current vacation location or wait until you return and accept the risks.  


Try Traveling Mailbox today for fast check deposits no matter where your travels take you.