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Five ways you can combine banking and mobile

By David Delony / August 7, 2013

With everything becoming more mobile, many traditional industries are undergoing fundamental changes. The financial sector is one of them. Banking and mobile now seem to go hand in hand, with more people and businesses relying on apps and payment systems like PayPal to check their balances, transfer funds and even process transactions. Customers still have to step into a branch on occasion, but mobile tech can make it quick and painless. That said, here are five ways banks are using mobile to their advantage:

1) Apps are the new tellers

As Apple is fond of telling us, “there’s an app for that.” Just about every major bank has an app that allows you to check your balance, view statements, transfer money and even deposit checks. With nearly 20% of online adults regularly using banking apps, brick-and-mortar branches are seeing a significant decrease in foot traffic.

Take the recently updated Bank of America app. In addition to the banking activities mentioned above, the new BoA app lets users make credit card payments from checking accounts at other banks, manage their Bill Pay accounts and send money from their phone. That’s three less reasons for BoA customers to enter a branch, use an ATM or sign on via personal computer.

This, however, doesn’t mean the days of the local bank branch are numbered. According to a Forrester Report, 40% of online Americans go to physical branches to sign up for financial services, and only 19% of them do research online beforehand.

2) Tablets are the new fast pass

Nobody likes waiting in lines, especially when they’re trying to quickly swing by the bank on their lunch break. As great as ATMs and mobile banking apps are, customers still need to visit a branch every once in a while. Fortunately, tellers can take the pain out of waiting by using tablets to gather a customer’s information before they reach the window or speak to a representative. These devices allow customers to do things like begin a loan application or view mortgage rates during their wait so they’ll be good to go by the time they speak to a bank employee.

3) Employees can be trained anywhere

Mobile devices are a great way to ensure new and existing employees are up to speed on the latest products and services in the industry (as long as Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds don’t get in the way). Through tablets, branch managers can track employee performance and offer extra assistance to those who start to slip. Staff can also review training materials at any time on their devices no matter where they are. The faster staff are trained, the more quickly they become productive and profitable.

4) Binders go bye bye

The days of bulky binders and coffee stained charts are over. Tablets are the lightweight, attractive and functional alternative for financial advisors on off-site client calls. When paired with the right presentation software, these portable devices give bank employees the ability to show investment forecasts, display portfolio options and pull up a client’s current information with more ease than even a laptop can provide.

Additionally, advisors have the option to either walk the customer through the presentation or let them utilize the tablets intuitive UI on their own, leading to a more interactive and engaging transaction.

5) ATMs get an upgrade

Until companies start creating apps that can literally print money, ATMs will always have a place in the U.S. banking system, but that doesn’t mean they can rest on their laurels. Much like our mobile devices and computers, teller machines have to make sure they’re compatible with modern times, and society has never moved faster.

To meet this need for speed, some banking apps make it possible for customers to access their services via mobile devices without making them insert a card or enter a pin on arrival. The ATM simply scans their phone, remembers the transaction and processes it without making the customer touch a single button. But the ATM/tablet relationship isn’t all give and take. Banks are beginning to ditch the noisy keypad for touchscreen navigation like you’d find in an app.

Believe it or not, this is just a handful of ways mobile technology and the banking system are beginning to merge. As devices like Google Glass and smart watches enter the market, you can bet your bottom dollar there will be even more changes taking place in our financial institutions.