June 8 2011|08.00 AM UTC

Stan Reybern

Mobile Apps: Banking, Payments and Scanners; Oh My!

Category: SR, WirelessTags: , , , , , ,


From smart phones to tablets, there is an explosion of smart devices on the market, each of which has more computing power than NASA did back in 1969 when they sent astronauts to the moon. These powerful devices have paved the way for some new and truly innovative user applications. These applications aim to change the way people live their lives and are making many everyday tasks more efficient. Some of the most exciting applications in the market revolve around banking, payments and barcode scanners.

Banking

In the banking world, mobile apps seem to be the biggest innovation since the ATM. Banking apps are so much more than simply checking your balance and paying your bills. One example is Chase’s Quick Deposit app. This app saves you a trip to your local Chase bank or ATM by allowing you to use your phone’s camera to take a picture of both sides of your check to deposit it.

Another example is the Bank of America app that uses your phone’s GPS to find the nearest ATM or branch so you can always have access to your money, no matter where you are.

However, these apps make it evident that we have only seen the tip of the iceberg. For the Chase app, it assumes that you will still have checks to deposit in the future and the Bank of America app assumes you will have a need for a bank branch or ATM. While these apps are innovative and useful to accountholders now, we could see a whole new batch of apps in the next five years.

Payments

Payments are another booming area with smart devices. Apps are now entering the market that help people not only pay each other but also help make purchases at their favorite retailers.

In the world of Person-to-Person payments, ING Direct recently launched a new app that easily allows P2P payments between friends and family. Rather than entering personal banking information to transfer funds, ING allows people to “bump” their smart phones to seamlessly pay each other. Now, it’s easier than ever to collect the rent or cover dinner for your friends.

Starbucks has taken this a step further and has launched a mobile app that actually lets you pay for your coffee by swiping your phone. Once you download the app, you can load in your Starbucks card and manage the card straight from your phone. When you’re at Starbucks, you can easily swipe your phone at the cash register – paying for the coffee and earning your Starbucks rewards even faster.

Scanners

As smart phones become more a part of our lives, the need for paper becomes less and less. One way that this is evident is from the United Airlines mobile app. With the United Airlines app, you can actually use mobile boarding passes rather than printing your boarding pass at home or at the kiosks. This can save vital time at the airport and allows you to quickly have security and the airline scan your documents without you fumbling through papers. While not all airports are accepting mobile boarding documents, they are becoming more commonplace. Here is a complete list of the airports that accept these futuristic documents.

Apps like ShopSavvy allow consumers to benefit from barcode scanning and save some money while they shop. If you are out shopping and you see an item you like, you can launch the ShopSavvy app and take a picture of the barcode. This app while then scour the Internet to see if it can find a better price for you elsewhere. This is a great way to make sure you are always getting the best deal possible.

Some new apps actually aim to integrate these three categories. BillShrink’s StatementRewards recently announced a mobile app that will be integrated with your bank’s mobile app to give you relevant, location-based rewards. Based on where you shop and where you are, you can get special rewards that you can purchase on your phone and use immediately with barcode on your phone. The more you shop, the better the rewards you will be eligible for.

Only time will tell what sort of apps we will see in the future; however, you can be sure that there will be ones that aim to change how we live our lives and how we use our phones.

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