The difference between traditional branch capture and front counter teller capture

The Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act (also known as Check 21) is a federal law that was passed back in 2004 to enable banks to handle more checks electronically, making check processing faster and significantly more efficient.

Thirteen years later, many financial institutions have yet to fully capitalize on the efficiencies and cost-saving measures this law affords them. This article will explain the benefits of front counter teller capture and how it differs from the more traditional branch capture method.

First, what is branch capture?

Branch capture is what many financial institutions are already used to. The customer hands the teller the check. Then the teller brings it back to be processed, which could happen a few minutes later. It also could wait until the end of the day. In branch capture, the personal computer and scanner are coupled to a central server.

The upsides of branch capture are it’s less costly in terms of capital expenditures in the short-term. And training is faster because most tellers are used to this type of process. However, as we’ll soon explain, when compared to front counter teller capture, traditional branch capture takes more time, leaves more room for human error and severely limits back-office efficiencies and savings in the long-run.

What is teller capture?

Front counter teller capture is a solution that equips every teller at a branch with his or her own check scanner. This allows check images to be captured immediately as they’re handed to the teller, thus automating the deposit process. By capturing document images during over-the-counter transactions, it makes cash tickets, checks, loan payments and other documents instantly available and auditable by the teller - and can therefore be reconciled with the customer present.

Because front counter teller capture demands image scanners for each teller, it demands more up-front capital expenditures. But because of its many compounding benefits, teller capture has continued its surge in popularity among banks and financial institutions in recent years.

The simple benefits of front counter teller capture

One of the biggest reasons teller capture continues to grow in popularity is because the higher up-front implementation costs financial institutions make in teller capture are quickly recuperated and turn into lasting, long-term savings and branch efficiencies. Here’s a brief rundown of some of the most impactful benefits of front counter teller capture:

  • Back-office savings are significantly greater because instead the work is balanced by the teller in real-time. A large bank with more than 200 branches saves 20 minutes per day, per teller with teller capture, plus 15 minutes per day, per branch at close-out time.
  • Transaction processing time improves because clearing and posting transactions at the same time reduces errors. Some banks attribute teller capture for eliminating virtually all of their account adjustments.
  • The teller spends significantly more face time with the customer, allowing them to develop strong relationships and talk about additional bank products and specials.
  • A more paperless environment significantly eliminates printing/paper costs and also reduces transportation/courier costs.
  • Fraud is reduced because potentially fraudulent items are immediately flagged with the presenter still in the branch.
  • It eliminates risks incurred when walking items to the back-counter system, reducing the possibility of misplacing a document or compromising the integrity of a transaction.

These are just a few of the major benefits financial institutions realize upon switching to front counter teller capture. Overall, the back-office savings and efficiencies are immediately noticeable and become significant over time. To learn more about front counter teller capture and how to implement it for your financial institution, contact UniLink or check out our free PDF Guide: 8 Benefits of Front Counter Teller Capture All Banking Executives Must Know.

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