Reporting Michelle Roberts
BOSTON (CBS) – No question banking on-the-go is easier than ever thanks to our smartphones. And now many banks are offering more services than just paying bills and depositing a check with your phone. Want to split the check for dinner with your friends, pay the babysitter on-the-spot, or the neighborhood kid to mow your lawn? Now you can use your phone for that too. No cash, no checks required.
“Customers love it because now they can transfer to anybody that they want. They don’t have to write a check. It saves them money because they’re not buying as many checks as they used to,” says Stacey Coyne of Rockland Trust. Coyne says it’s important for banks to offer services on-the-go, “Customers are busy. They are working seven days a week. We want to make sure the mobile technology is available to them when they need it 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
A Federal Reserve report found about half of all smartphone owners are using mobile banking and one-quarter of these customers are also making payments by phone. Up until now the only option for direct mobile payments were services like Google Wallet or PayPal. These payments are free if it’s linked directly to your bank account. If you use a credit card expect to pay a fee.
And now banks are finally catching on. “Banks have been in some ways a little bit slow but purposely slow moving into the mobile space because examiners are looking over their shoulder to make sure banks are doing it correctly to protect customers’ security. So, that’s not a bad thing,” says Bruce Spitzer of the Massachusetts Bankers Association. Spitzer says when it comes to direct mobile payments, it’s important to use a company you know you can trust, “It’s your money and you don’t want to put it at risk.” And you can minimize your risk by always using a password protected account. So, if you lose your phone you won’t lose your money too.