Mobile banking has already gained a foothold among banking customers, but the next year could see the medium evolve even further for banks and tech-savvy customers.

The calendar year 2011 could see banks move past offering nothing but basic services on mobile and smart phone platforms, according to Bank Systems & Technology. The website projects mobile banking technology will take strides as banks issue second-generation applications for the iPhone, Android, Blackberry and other smart phones.

Banks Offer Basic Apps

At this point, most moderate-to-large banks offer mobile banking apps that give customers the ability to check their balances, make transfers and locate bank branches near them. All these features are nice, but in many cases, banks’ apps do not add much, if anything, to a customer’s online banking experience.

Banks can’t be blamed for offering scaled-back iPhone and Android apps. Within the past year or two, most sizable banks have entered the mobile market, meaning banks risked being left behind if they did not offer a mobile app. One interesting way many banks are leveraging mobile technology is by sending alerts to customers when their balance falls below a preset level.

Second-Gen Apps on the Way

Now that banks and customers have had a while to grow accustomed to banking on the go, the way banks the technology should continue to evolve.

One way banks and financial services companies could improve their mobile offerings is by opening their systems up to third-party app developers. MasterCard last month announced plans to open its API to developers in order to further “build the ecoystem” of smart phone payments. As a result of the card company opening its API we could expect to see apps that harness MasterCard’s payment-accepting capabilities in a host of new personal finance apps.

One of the most creative ways smart phone technology has been used to add convenience to mobile banking services is the mobile deposit service from Chase. Chase Bank’s mobile app allows you to open the app and snap a picture of a check to make a deposit to your account or a money transfer. Online payment service PayPal adopted similar technology on its mobile app, and we could see more banks incorporate the photo deposits into their apps.

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