Entry 645: The Latest Thing in Electronic Banking: Money

Well, I just got a promotional flyer in the mail from Chase Bank that is just unbelievable. But it seems like they send me something like this every few years.

I remember when I received their mailer informing me that I no longer needed deposit slips at the ATM. That was unbelievable. I could just toss money, checks, whatever–maybe even winning lottery tickets–into the machine and it would print out a receipt–with pictures, even! Amazing!

Then, a few years after that, they sent me a flyer about something that was even more unbelievable. It said that I didn’t even need to go to the bank to make deposits anymore. I could just use my phone to take a picture of a check, and they would deposit it for me! I didn’t even have to bring the actual check in later–they would trust me that I wouldn’t try to deposit the check again at another bank. Incredible!

But I just received a notice from Chase that tops everything they’ve ever done.  It announces two major advances that are virtually inconceivable.

First, evidently you can now deposit cash using your cell phone! You merely have to take a photograph of the bill and send it. Admittedly, it’s a little inconvenient because you have to photograph each bill individually, so you probably wouldn’t do it with $200 in fives. But if you have just mugged a tourist and you have a couple of hundreds you want to deposit right away? Sure! Keep in mind, though, that you then have to destroy the bills to take them out of circulation. I guess they track the serial numbers on the bills in the pictures so you can’t reuse the money. But, hey, you can cut the bills up outside your house so the neighbors think you’re rich!

But cash deposits by phone isn’t even the MOST unbelievable thing! This is: you no longer have to go to the bank to get cash. Instead, you can just visit the Chase website, log onto your account, enter the amount you want to withdraw, and–I can’t believe I’m actually saying this–print the money out on your printer, just like you can print postage at Stamps.com!

Now, to be fair, it only works on certain Bluetooth mobile printers and a few HP color LaserJets (the website has a list), and you first need to download special software that can handle all the anti-counterfeiting things that are built into money these days, and you can only withdraw $100 at a time, but still…isn’t that the most amazing thing you’ve ever heard of?

Now you never have to leave your house at all, except to spend the cash you print out, unless you just use it to tip the pizza delivery guy.

What will they think of next?

See you soon.

P.S. Around 1987, before most people had even heard of the Internet, there was an online service called Prodigy. (This was even before America Online–AOL.) My ad agency had the Prodigy account, and one of the things you could do with it was manage your banking…if you didn’t mind waiting about an hour for each page to load over a 1200 baud dial-up modem. When I was writing the copy for this feature, I jokingly added that you could make withdrawals and print the cash out at home. And most of the folks at the agency believed it, because in those days, nobody knew what you’d be able to do online!  So…30 years later, did you believe this post, even for a second? Happy April Fools Day.

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