It's a challenge not lost on RCB Bank, which is visiting with select businesspeople in its footprint to discuss its remote deposit capture technology.
"We're running into a little bit of the [RDC adoption] challenge as well," says Allen Ledbetter, a business services executive for the $2 billion-asset Claremore, OK-based RCB Bank, which serves a region in and around Tulsa and offers small business services that include debt financing, savings and checking. These services also include remote deposit capture, which Ledbetter says can sometimes be a tough sell.
The bank is not alone. Aite says fewer than five percent of small businesses use RDC.
"We're finding that small businesses are having trouble justifying the cost," he says.
The cost of scanners has come down, but even the least expensive models still cost several hundred dollars.
To defray those costs, RCB Bank rents out scanners to its clients for about $25 to $30 per month and then charges a cost per deposited item — a charge that varies based on the relationship the bank has with each business client. "If the business deposits eight to ten checks per day, that's pretty cost effective [for the small businesses]," Ledbetter says.
But more importantly, Ledbetter travels to the bank's 31 branches to train staff and also meets with businesses personally to discuss remote deposit capture, which can have benefits for even the smallest businesses. Part of the shortcoming in small business remote deposit capture adoption is the lack of awareness among businesses of the tangible benefits in cost reduction and the soft benefits of workflow and staff efficiency.
"Even if you're a small merchant, a one or two person operation, we point out that you're in the business by yourself, and have to leave to make a deposit," Ledbetter says.
The educational and personalized approach is also being applied by the bank to mobile remote deposit capture, which is being embraced by banks to target consumers and businesses of all sizes as a way to reduce check processing costs. In a new report on remote deposit capture, Celent says mobile RDC will be on the forefront of both banks' and vendors' minds, and will lead to a wave of new mobile RDC products in the near future.
"We are planning to offer mobile RDC, and are planning how we're going to roll it out," says Ledbetter.
Ledbetter says the bank is identifying which small business clients it wants to pitch RDC to — based on vetting and the bank's relationship with those customers. He will then visit those customers to discuss mobile RDC, how it works and what the options and benefits are — visits that will help form the eventual service that the bank offers.
Ledbetter did not provide exact adoption numbers tied to its efforts to bring remote deposit capture to more businesses, but says the education program is resulting in better uptake — "we're shipping scanners every month," he says.
The higher focus on user education is also catching on with hardware and software providers. Panini, which sells RDC scanners in competition with firms such as Borroughs, Canon, Digital Check, Epson, RDM and Tasq, conducted individual RDC project consulting at the recent Association for Financial Professionals conference in Boston. The tech firm has also formed a team to assist businesses with the evaluation, project development, management and implementation of RDC solutions.
And Jack Henry's ProfitStars, RCB's remote deposit capture tech provider, says it also provides instruction for merchants and takes service calls from small business. "We also do training for our financial institutions to help them understand how to target customers," says David Foss, president of ProfitStars, which faces competition in the RDC space from Fiserv through its CheckFree division as well as FIS.