Imagine a world where you are surrounded by dozens of tired, bored people. People with crying babies, squirming toddlers, and loud cell phone conversations. People who grow increasingly more annoyed with each passing moment. People with better places to be and better things to be doing. People in line, arranged by queue ropes and sweating under harsh florescent lighting. People with one thing in common: The need to deposit their pay check. You have entered… the payday deposit zone.

That was the payday reality before technology. Many companies have paydays in common, which meant thousands—millions—of workers across the country flocked to their bank or credit union to deposit their paychecks around the same time. The line would be long, no matter how exceptional your credit union’s service is (and it undoubtedly is exceptional: In the American Customer Satisfaction Index 2015 survey from CFI Group, credit unions beat banks, with customers rating their overall satisfaction at a score of 87 out of 100, 8 points greater than the banking average). 

But now checking is so much simpler. Here are the greatest checking innovations.

Direct Deposit: According to, 75% of employees in the United States are paid via direct deposit. So if you haven't already made the switch, join your fellow Americans in enjoying your hard-earned money as soon as it's available in your account the morning of ever payday. No waiting in line, then waiting for the check to clear. You can also help reduce your (and your company’s) impact on the environment by reducing the need for printing, stamping, or mailing your check.

Mobile Deposit: This service is great in cases where your company doesn’t offer direct deposit services (rare, but not entirely unheard of), or when you get that big shiny birthday check from Grandma. Many credit unions are offering technologies once thought only available at banks, and mobile deposit is one of them.

You can simply take a picture of the front and back of your check, and then deposit it to your account using your smart phone or tablet, from your CU’s mobile banking app or website. Once again, no line! Funds are generally available within a few days, and may even be available on the same day, depending on your CU’s policy.

Automatic Bill Pay: You know what? I am completely terrible at remembering to pay my bills on time. I know! Gasp! I teach this stuff for a living, and yet struggle to remember to make payments before the due date.

So you know what else? I don’t even do it anymore. Yep, that’s right—I have taken bill payments out of my forgetful hands, and put it in the computerized capabilities of my online banking system. You can use automatic bill pay for just about everything from utilities, to cell phone bills, to insurance payments, rent payments, loan payments, and even automatic savings transfers to your own savings accounts.

There are many, many more tools and technologies your credit union offers that can make your banking life easier. To learn even more, you can check out our quick, easy and fun course on simplifying your checking account.