Remote deposit capture is the hottest new twist to banking since the introduction of ATMs. With some of the largest banks in the country now onboard with mobile RDC – stoking consumer interest and giving it a cool factor – RDC generally and mobile RDC in particular are fast becoming competitive necessities for every financial institution, large and small.

Under these circumstances, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the public dialogue over RDC risk management has taken on a renewed sense of urgency. It’s not that RDC is any more risky today than it was say a year ago. Nevertheless, the level of concern has grown with greater adoption.

Douglas King, a payments risk expert at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, has addressed this issue in posts to the Atlanta Fed’s Portals and Rails blog. In a post last year King asked, rhetorically, if FIs were exposing themselves to increased fraud by rolling out RDC more broadly. And in a post last month King responded to his original question. “We’ve seen no evidence in the past year to support an uptick in fraud. However,” he wrote, “we have ample evidence demonstrating that the product is becoming mainstream through the mobile channel.”

Concerns over RDC risks and strategies for controlling risks are two pressing issues on the minds of many of the FI executives and industry experts I’ve met and worked with in 2012. This isn’t surprising, really. Financial products, by their very nature, create risks, and it is incumbent upon FIs to recognize and develop strategies to mitigate these risks.

Cachet has prepared a brief on RDC risks which we have shared at numerous industry events this fall. I was honored and pleased that King referenced a presentation my colleague, Hunter Wolf, and I gave drawing on the work we put into that brief in his Portals and Rails post last month. As I continually try to impress upon audiences I’m asked to address, and as King reiterates in his latest post on the topic, good customer management practices are essential to managing risk in a mobile RDC environment.

In fact, know your customer (KYC) procedures assume a new sense of urgency for banks and credit unions when customers use their mobile devices to deposit checks. Questions such as “how long has this person banked with us?” and “how many products and services do they use?” are excellent starting points for assessing which customers should be targeted with solicitations for RDC.

But some of the toughest work comes after a customer signs up and begins using an RDC service. Setting and monitoring “realistic” deposit limits, setting and maintaining strong image validation processes, and establishing and enforcing rules about what happens with the paper once a check has been deposited are just a few of the things on an FIs ongoing to-do list.

Of course, FIs that miss the RDC boat won’t have to worry about any of this pesky risk stuff. Because, as King so eloquently states: “As this product begins to become commoditized, perhaps the biggest risk to financial institutions may be losing customers if they don’t offer the product.”

I wholeheartedly agree.