If I deposit a check with a smartphone (remote deposit capture) and the check is returned for whatever reason (insufficient funds, etc.) can the check be returned with a penalty charge (even though the check is not physically deposited)?
Not sure if my case applies to your question. I once uploaded my check using a credit union's mobile app. The next day, I got an email telling me that the check was unclear. So the deposit was unsuccessful. I was not charged any fee. The deposit process goes through from the mobile app though. NSF fee would apply I believe.
You can still be charged NSF or any other fee that would apply to a returned check when using a smartphone to deposit. The fees will depend on the bank and what type of checking account you have. If you received a check from a craigslist buyer it is a scam, do not deposit it. If you know the account the check was drawn on does not have enough money do not deposit the check.
I had this happen to me. Check (money order actually) deposited with smartphone was returned as "altered/fictitious". I was charged a returned check fee, which was reversed when I politely asked them to. It then took two months to get my money back from Western Union. I still don't know what really happened.
What will happen, at least for the couple banks I use, is you will get a letter in the mail stating whatever the issue was along with a printed copy of the scanned "bad check" with a printed line about how this 'instrument it is suitable for deposit.'
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