Ensure Your Financial Institution Is Ready for IRS Refund Checks

Jan  11 
Rodrigo Silva  General Manager, Deposit Solutions, Fiserv 

Five mobile deposit best practices to help you excel during this tax season

When people receive their IRS refund checks in the mail, they want immediate access to their money. Make sure you're ready for that onslaught of check activity.

Due in large part to the pandemic, more consumers are accessing their accounts using mobile devices. Recent research from Fiserv found that for the first time, mobile has overtaken branches as consumers' preferred method of interacting with their primary financial organization.

Sustain the mobile momentum by continuing to provide accountholders with options in the digital channel, especially mobile deposits. Mobile banking functions are quick, convenient and easy to use – at tax time or any time – and help make your institution run more efficiently.

Here are five best practices to help you provide faster funds access to your accountholders and lessen the burden on your branches and tellers.

1. Encourage Mobile Deposits

To make your accountholders' deposit process as convenient as possible, encourage U.S. Treasury check deposits through your mobile capture application. Mobile deposits are quick and secure, and they eliminate trips to the branch or ATM.

A 2021 Mobile Deposit Benchmark Report from Cornerstone Advisors found that 70 percent of mobile banking users now rate mobile deposit as a critical or important mobile banking feature. Now may be the time to capitalize on the mobile activity surge by driving adoption of your mobile deposit channel.

Mobile banking functions are quick, convenient and easy to use – at tax time or any time – and help make your institution run more efficiently.

2. Increase Mobile Deposit Limits and Funds Availability During Tax Season

Every institution sets its own policies for check deposit limits and funds availability, often based on the deposit channel. But it may be time to review your approach on mobile deposits. Consumers often think depositing a check with a teller may speed up the funds availability process, regardless of your institution's check limit policy. To change that perception and drive more check deposits in the mobile channel, you may consider:

  • Increasing deposit limits during tax season to accommodate higher‑dollar Treasury checks, as the average IRS refund check in 2020 was $2,827.00
  • Raising deposit-review thresholds and instructing staff to quickly review Treasury check deposits
  • Adjusting your policy for remote deposit funds availability to be consistent with that of branch deposits

3. Promote Mobile Deposits

Ramp up your marketing program to promote mobile deposits in preparation for the IRS refund-check season. An effective marketing campaign will educate your accountholders on the benefits of mobile transactions and help drive greater adoption in your digital channels. There are many cost-efficient sources for turnkey marketing programs and data analytics to help you promote this service. But don't forget, your frontline branch staff may be your most influential advocates for accountholder adoption of mobile deposits.

4. Give Accountholders What They Want

Customer attrition is a concern for every institution, especially among millennial accountholders who are often looking for a better digital experience. According to a Digital Banking Attitudes Study, 66 percent of millennials used mobile deposit in 2020.

If you aren't offering and promoting a mobile deposit option today, you can bet your competitors are. Depositor behavior is changing quickly. Building on the momentum of the digital shift can help increase mobile channel use and accountholder satisfaction.

5. Realize Efficiencies

Improving branch efficiency and reducing costs are constant challenges. The solution may be to drive more traffic to the mobile channel. Throughout the pandemic, accountholders appreciated and embraced digital options and greater control over their deposits. By shifting your business to mobile, you also reduce stress on your branch workforce while reducing per-transaction costs.

Sustain Mobile Momentum

Encouraging use of your digital channels during tax-refund season can be a starting point in driving mobile deposit synergy for your financial institution. And it's likely an initiative that aligns with your institution's overall digital transformation strategy. Now is an excellent time to begin.