Wednesday, April 8, 2009

USAA Deposit at Home on Linux *It works now!!!*

*update 10/12/11* IT WORKS!!  Thanks to Garrett, and Mr. Brown from USAA, you no longer need to use any special software to trick the website into letting you post your deposits.  A message on the site reads: "Your system does not meet the minimum system requirements. You may choose to continue, but we recommend using a supported system".  No problem, click next and you are on your way.   Thanks for listening, USAA!!

*update* Thanks to Dave for the idea,
*update* Thanks Garrett, see his comment below.  We may all be wise to send USAA a suggestion via the feedback link.  Just remember to be nice.  The last thing we need is for USAA to decide to implement better browser detection to specifically block linux.  Or worse, implement Silverlight.  In the meantime:

Just set your user agent using a firefox addon to:

Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X 10.5; sv-SE; rv: Gecko/2009032608 Firefox/3.0.8

If you have trouble adding that user agent, here is what I did after you install the add-on above:
Tools-->User Agent Switcher-->Options-->Options
Description: Firefox Macitosh Intel for USAA (or whatever you want)
Useragent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X 10.5; sv-SE; rv: Gecko/2009032608 Firefox/3.0.8

Make sure you switch to that user agent before even going to USAA.

And make sure you have the java plugin and you are good to go! Thank you macintosh for having a marketshare to help us linux fools get stuff working. The macintosh java client allows you to simply select pre-scanned checks with your choice of software. Nice!

Note: This assumes you can get your scanner to work in linux which is assuming quite a bit :-)


William said...

I've tried adding your user agent (well done; didn't get USAA's message, "You don't meet the minimum system requirements" or anything like that), but am having problems when I get to that section were I'd scan the check (or, apparently, upload the image of the scanned check).

I've got my scanner working in Linux, which is great. And I know the java plugin is installed. But I'm a newbie to Linux (Ubuntu), and am confused - by a lot of aspects of Linux, frankly.

You wrote, "The macintosh java client allows you to simply select pre-scanned checks with your choice of software." How can I install the Mac java client if the OS I'm running is Linux?

brien said...

That last bit was just an aside-- you don't use any Macintosh software to get this working.

What you do is scan in your checks to JPG files using the software of your choice. I use XSane for this. So when you go to USAA it will say something like "scan your checks black and white at 200DPI with whatever software you use to do that".

So, assuming you've scanned the front and back of your check to filenames like front.jpg and back.jpg, you go to USAA, go to deposit at home, enter the check amount. Then a java plugin will launch and give you a BROWSE button. You just click that and upload front.jpg. Then it shows you the check on the screen and asks you to crop it. Then you do the same with back.jpg. That's pretty much it. If you don't get the java plugin then something is wrong with your Java. I use Debian Lenny so you should be able to get Ubuntu to work since it is nearly the same. Just install package sun-java6-plugin.

brien said...

I keep saying java plugin but I should be saying java applet. That's the interface that USAA displays on the web page using the java plugin. You can test your java plugin here:

William said...

Hey, thanks for the quick reply. Must be an issue with the Java applet, then, which I thought was installed correctly, but isn't giving me any interface for uploading scanned jpegs.

Thanks for the clarification on the Mac software question, too - the only reason why I was confused was because, when you're using, say, a Mac user agent, and you go to Java's website, it gives you the instructions for downloading/installing the Mac version, not the Linux. I couldn't imagine you'd be able to install the Mac version under Linux, but I've been surprised before, you know?

Thanks again - I'll give the whole thing another go.

William said...

Success! Thanks again.
Also, for anyone else who might land on this posting and be wondering about installing Java in Ubuntu, a friend of mine directed me to this page:

brien said...

Awesome, glad you got it working. Now you should do the USAA feedback thing and beg them to allow Linux users to use the Macintosh version of their software-- so we don't have to do this silly useragent stuff! I submitted one but haven't heard anything back other than "Thanks, we value your comments!" or whatever.

David said...

brien, can you be more specific on setting up user agent switcher? is this still working for you?


William said...

Hi, David,

Don't know about Brien, but it's still working for me. I just deposited a check yesterday.

Not sure what your question is, so just to supplement what Brien said in the original post:

You want to do a Google search for "Useragent Switcher". This will pull up the Firefox add-on by that name (currently, the link is at - and the developer has it available for download at

Run the download and install, and restart Firefox.

Then, choose Tools --> Useragent Switcher --> Options --> Options.
A settings window opens.

In the left-hand panel are two options: "General" and "User Agents." Choose "User Agents," then "Add." A new settings window opens, with several form fields.

You're only interested, to use Brien's brilliant little workaround, in the top two fields. In the first one, "Description," put whatever you want to put to let you know that that's what you'll choose (I have "USAA Deposit at Home," or something like that). In the second, copy and paste the text, "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X 10.5; sv-SE; rv: Gecko/2009032608 Firefox/3.0.8". Then click, OK, and OK again.

Perhaps, just to make sure the settings "take," you can close out Firefox and re-open it.

In any case, whenever you need to deposit a check, the FIRST thing you should do after opening Firefox, BEFORE you go to USAA's website at all, is go to Tools --> Useragent Switcher, and choose the one you set up using Brien's settings. THEN go to USAA. I find that, if I forget to do this, and switch the Useragent AFTER having opened USAA's website at ANY time during the current Firefox session, it doesn't work. Start fresh: Close Firefox, re-open it, switch Useragents, go to USAA.

If this still isn't working, then my guess is, you've probably got a problem with Java, which was my issue --- EVEN THOUGH certain other Java apps were working ok in Linux. Uninstall Java and reinstall it using the Ubuntu Forums site I referenced above.

And again, thanks to Brien for the original post. I was really pulling my hair out.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, this worked perfectly for me. I was getting ready to set everything up in a virtual box when I came across this post.

Anonymous said...

I was unable to change my printer to scan at 200 DPI per USAA requirement. I am using Ubuntu and Xsane version 0.996

William said...

Hmmm. I'm not sure why that's not working for you. I'm not at my computer that runs Ubuntu right now, but I do remember that the setting to change the DPI is in the main window for XSANE. I usually select flatbed/ADF, which (if I'm remembering correctly) resets the DPI to 0. Then I select the X and the Y DPI, and I'm set.
If all of that sounds like I'm stating the obvious, I apologize - maybe take a screenshot of what you're seeing and put it up somewhere it can be shared, like Picasa, and provide the link.
You may have already seen this, but in case not, the XSANE tutorial can be found at

Good luck!


brien said...

I thought mine was missing for a moment there (trying a new scanner)-- then I went to View--> Show Resolution List. Now it is there, look for the black dots and either a slider or a drop-down menu. Weird thing is now I can't get it to disappear again. Maybe I was crazy.

William said...

Huh! Yeah, I've never seen that option! And I'm the kind of guy who likes to play around with all the settings and really learn a program.

Garrett said...

Hey guys,

BTW... I am using your technique these days to use the deposit@home feature and it works great! However I am writing to actually request your help. I am currently trying to get the USAA web team to lift the linux/other OS restrictions from their website.

Everyone who sees this and would like to be able to use their system with USAA please do the following:
1. Open up your USAA account and go to the message center (located at the very top right of the website: Messages).
2. Start a new message with them (right side "Send a new e-mail to USAA).
3. Under topic select "feedback" then "Website" then "suggestion".
4. Subject "Deposit@home unlock OS"
5. Copy this text, "Attn: Anthony Garza

I would like to express my desire to see the USAA Deposit@home website drop its OS restrictions so that I may use an OS of my choice. I understand there are concerns of using various configurations and so would ask that a "Use Unsupported" option be implemented. This offers alternative users the ability to use the site while also keeping costs low for the USAA deposit@home support team. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Your blog is the #1 hit to deposit at home linux on google and so I was wondering if you could do me a favor. Would you please consider updating your blog to list the above recommendation? Thank you.

William said...

All right, guys, once again I'm back. For the last few weeks, on my home computer, on my laptop, and on my work computer, I've been encountering the following message: "There was an error starting Deposit@Home. Please press "Cancel" to try again." Java is installed correctly on all of them, and all previous Java versions have been uninstalled. The User Agent string I'm running is the same as always: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X 10.5; sv-SE; rv: Gecko/2009032608 Firefox/3.0.8.
I know the error message is as generic as you get, but any thoughts? Anyone else encountering this?

S. Piazza said...

I'm having the same problem William is describing. I know his post was from a few months ago, but did anyone ever solve this? Is it a Java issue?

As an interesting aside, when I try to use the UserAgentSwitcher trick on the Windows version of Firefox, it seems to work just fine. Insights are appreciated.

- Scott

brien said...

I don't have any checks right now, but I got as far as uploading an image just fine. My current setup is Debian Lenny 64bit. Iceweasel 3.5.11 with
Java(TM) Plug-in 1.6.0_20
Maybe try starting with Fresh Firefox/Iceweasel profile and test java on another site too.
Good luck!

William said...

Just thought I'd let everyone know, today I tried, for the first time since Brien's last post (Sept. 20, 2010) to deposit a check, and it worked. I'm running Ubuntu 11.04, with GNOME 3, and my Firefox version is 4.0.1. My Java version is 6, update 24.

As Scott said on Sept. 8, 2010, I have been able to deposit fine on Windows using the user agent switcher, but it hadn't been working on Linux; I chalked it up to a Java issue that, given the approaching deadline on my dissertation, I didn't have time to tinker with. For some reason, internet was having problems today in Windows, so I decided I'd give the newest version of Ubuntu a shot at the Deposit at Home, and as I'd hoped, it was a go.

Again, I have a hunch the problem was Java related, but can't verify that. In any case, the latest Ubuntu works!

Garrett said...

Update on USAA efforts:

Hello all,

So I've been working still on USAA to open up the platform more appropriately to Linux (and others) by asking them to drop their Agent string filtering (or make a "use unsupported" option). My POC is Ashley Brown who has promised me that they have examined their process and decided to "open it up" (which means reverse their filtering practices). I'll call again today and see if I can get some more status.

William said...

Awesome! Great news, Garrett - thanks for your work. At the risk of displaying my ignorance of the difficulties that are probably involved in this, let me just say that this really seems like an obvious solution: if uploading works for people using a Mac, there doesn't seem to be any reason why they can't use the same system for other operating systems. It's Java in a web browser; how os-independent can you get?
Thanks again, and looking forward to hearing how the process goes!

Garrett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Garrett said...

Hey guys,

Got in contact with Mr. Brown and he indicated that a release "soon" would be coming (within the next few QA testing cycles) but asked me to not release a date until he gets back to me next week (I have begun pushing for dates).

So... hopefully by Wed next week I'll have a date for you. At least then we can start counting down.

P.S. If there are any twitterati out there or facebook wizards the social media attention only helps I found.

*Edit for spelling

Garrett said...

Hello everyone! After giving a week to USAA to investigate whether there would be any unforseen difficulties they have come back and indicated to me that they are finally starting work. Yes thats right... they are just now saying they are starting the actual work. So I asked them if they anticipate being completed by the end of their monthly QA cycle. This means that they should be getting this issue fixed by September 1st (their QA cycles align with the month).

SO... Again I would ask any monitoring to post the date and spread the word. Hopefully the finish line is in sight.

William said...

Thanks for all the leg work, Garrett! Awesome news!

Garrett said...

Still trying. I missed a call but they won't reply to me in writing anymore. I guess I'll have to start recording phone calls lol.

brien said...

Garrett! You did it! It works!! You and Ms. Brown, you both are awesome. Thanks a million! And thank you, USAA, for listening to the humble Linux users!