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Preet Banerjee

The phone that works like a bank Add to ...

I used to work with an older gentleman who vaguely remembers being issued a debit card, but never brings it with him anywhere. Once a month, he lines up at his bank branch and takes out about a thousand dollars in cash. That, along with one credit card and a driver's licence, is all that he carries around with him.

In contrast, I can't clearly remember the last time I walked into a bank, except to access an in-branch ATM. With the advances in banking technology, specifically online banking apps for smartphones, I imagine it's going to be a while before I do.

We both think the other is crazy. I've been banking online from my home computer for about a decade, but not long ago I started banking from my smartphone. TD Canada Trust recently found that about one in five Canadians aged 18 to 34 are also using banking apps .

I imagine that number is going to increase as people get used to the idea and as new functions, like trading stocks from apps, are introduced.

I know my money personality weakness is that if I have cash in my wallet, it's as good as spent. So I don't normally carry around cash. I can obviously buy most things using my debit card, and I've opted to receive an e-mail for every transaction. So if I pay for dinner on my debit card, I get an e-mail right away that shows me my new account balance.

To me this is as good, if not better, than carrying around cash, because I get an accurate accounting right away. And while for me cash on hand is easily spent,if the money is still in my bank I tend to want to keep it there.

Speaking of dinner, splitting the bill with people always used to be an issue when we forgot to ask for separate bills. Rarely do people have exact change for their share, and by one person paying and either collecting from the others immediately or later, it ends up being a sloppy affair.

Now I can just open my smart-phone app and send an instant e-mail money transfer to my dining companion. Very neat and tidy. And accurate. Your standard fees apply so if your bank doesn't charge you for an e-mail transfer from a computer, you won’t get charged for doing it through the app.

My friend and I are probably on the extreme opposite ends of the spectrum with banking technology adoption. I don’t think he's going to change his ways anytime soon, nor am I. Chances are, the next time I step into a bank branch will be if we are out together and he needs to get some cash.

To each his own, I suppose.

Mobile Banking Features

Features are being added constantly. ING Direct Canada allows you to buy and sell mutual funds. CIBC recently unveiled mobile brokerage access, so that customers can trade stocks right from their smart phones.

Standard features include: Locating ATM and branches Viewing account balance Viewing transaction details Paying bills E-mailing money transfers

Preet Banerjee, BSc, FMA, DMS, FCSI is a W Network Money Expert, and blogs at . You can also follow him on twitter at @PreetBanerjee

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Follow on Twitter: @preetbanerjee


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