Al Bsharah Business Minded, Technically Inclined

Doing it Right: Wells Fargo Envelope-less ATM Deposits


ATM MachineWhile I’m not overly thrilled with my long-term bank Wells Fargo, mainly because of their recent assault of unexpected monthly fees across all of my accounts (I do all of my personal and business banking with them, including my mortgage), there are some things they’re doing very well…and that’s what the focus of this article is about.

Today I deposited a number of checks into both my personal and business checking accounts.  I got my checks lined up, signed, and added up the totals for each account so I could fill out my deposit envelopes when I got to the ATM machine.  It’s a routine, really.

I got to the bank and was disappointed to see that the envelope dispenser was empty.  No, wait…it’s not even THERE anymore.  What?  I walked around the ATM with a confused look, half expecting the new envelope dispenser to jump out of somewhere and bite me.  I’m sure I entertained at least a couple of on-lookers.

Eventually, I spotted a sticker where the envelope dispenser used to be.  This ATM no longer requires envelopes, it exclaimed.  I stared in astonishment.  Then I got excited to see how this might have been implemented…and immediately got distracted by my own pessimism about how this is probably something to benefit Wells Fargo and not me (like the plethora of fees I now pay).

So, off we go.  I insert my first first ATM card for the account I only have one check to deposit…I figure I’d better go easy on this new system until I get the hang of it.  I insert the check, sans envelope, and listen to it churn for a couple seconds.  Poof, there’s a snapshot of my check on-screen including the amount of the check.  Yes, it read a hand-written check perfectly.  I clicked the green confirm button, and got a receipt…WITH an image of the check on it.

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Wow, that was cool.  Ok, let’s see what it does with 7 checks at once.  Stacked ‘em all up (you don’t have to insert them individually) and shoved ‘em in.  Listened to the system sort the checks and start sifting through them.  In all, it probably took 10 seconds for the entire process and I was staring at snaps of my checks and amounts for each on the screen.  I confirmed and got a receipt with, you guessed it, all seven checks printed with amounts.


I have to give kudos to Wells Fargo for a VERY slick system.  Not only does it remove my pain of having to fill out (or even find) envelopes, do math, and lick an envelope…but it also saves a few trees along the way, by entirely eliminating envelopes.

Now, if they would simply allow me to deposit my checks by taking photo of them via my Wells Fargo iPhone app, like USAA Bank…I might have to do a little dance.

How is your bank making you happy?

About the author

Al Bsharah

Al is the Managing Partner at Interlock Capital, a community-driven startup fund that allows seasoned or aspiring angel investors to get into amazing companies within their own budget. Al’s been involved in multiple San Diego startups since 1999 after leaving the Detroit auto industry as an electrical engineer. He's started two of his own companies where he's raised capital from both VCs and angels, and sold one of them to both Seismic and Return Path. He's graduated both Techstars and Founder Institute accelerator programs where he now mentors. In his free time he manages to play a little beach volleyball, invest in startups, trade stocks, and camp with his wife, son, dog, and friends.

1 comment

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By Al Bsharah
Al Bsharah Business Minded, Technically Inclined