Just Got Your First Smartphone? What Should You Know About Your Bank's Features?

If you've recently purchased your first smartphone, you may feel a bit overwhelmed at the number of web apps and other features available compared to your former "dumb" phone. Indeed, hardly a single industry exists that has not adapted its platform or web presence to appeal to smartphone owners and allow them to perform tasks on the go. Your bank is no exception; however, those unfamiliar with the variety of web-based features offered by most banks may not know where to begin. Read on to learn more about some tech-savvy changes in the products and services offered by your bank that can provide you with convenience and cost savings.

What money- and time-saving smartphone features do many banks offer? 

Even if you don't have an account with a nationwide bank, many smaller local banks and even credit unions like Weyco Community Credit Union have developed their own apps using those designed by larger banks as a launching platform. These apps can include features like the following: 

  • Mobile check deposit

This allows you to remotely deposit a check using your phone's camera to take clear photos of the front and back. After you've completed your deposit, you'll need to hang onto your check until it clears -- but after that point, you're free to shred it without ever needing to step foot into the bank or even find an ATM.

  • Instant payments and transfers

If you've ever been out at a restaurant with friends and cringed after hearing that the bill cannot be split, you now have an easy way to handle reimbursements -- or to allow friends to chip in on the bill. Using the instant payment feature of your phone's app, you should be able to send money to a friend who banks with the same bank just by entering their email address. Unlike checks, which can take a day or more to clear, this transferred cash is immediately available in your account.  

Is there anything you should consider when using your smartphone to conduct banking business? 

If you're new to the world of smartphone apps, you may have security concerns when it comes to displaying banking information through a third-party application. Fortunately, reviewing your bank app's Terms and Conditions document should provide you with some peace of mind. These terms and conditions should set forth at least a general summary of the security measures the bank uses to safeguard your information, as well as any fraud protection offered. (For example, many banks will handle fraudulent charges, transfers, or even withdrawals on your behalf if you report your smartphone stolen.)