Tablet Banking Basics

Technology makes it easier than ever to bank. There’s hardly any need to visit branches, shuffle through statements, or even do math anymore. Tablet banking in particular gives you the ability to take care of most tasks yourself – things are done right, and done quickly.

Getting Started with Tablet Banking

How do you get started using a tablet for banking tasks? The most powerful way to bank is generally to use apps that your bank has designed for tablet users.

If you’ve been using mobile phone apps already, it’s worth checking to see if there’s a tablet-specific app as well – the larger tablet screen means more room for extra features and a more enjoyable experience.

You don’t necessarily need to use apps to bank with your tablet. But you’ll probably find that apps have more horsepower than your browser does. For example, the only way to deposit checks with your tablet is with an app. Standard web pages might be clunky and might not function properly with your tablet’s browser.

Of course, once you start banking with your tablet, you’ll need to be sure that you keep your tablet secure. Set a strong password on your device, and don’t allow tablet banking apps to store your username and password. Anybody who “finds” your tablet can find out where you bank based on your installed apps, and that’s a nice first step towards identity theft.

What can you Do?

Tablet banking allows you to do pretty much everything you can do online.

But you’ll find a few extra features, and you’ll also find that some tasks are easier with a tablet. For example, depositing a check is as easy as using your tablet’s camera to snap a photo of a check (there’s no need to sit at your desk, lay the check on a flatbed scanner, and upload the image to your bank’s website).

Here are some of the highlights of tablet banking, starting with the most notable and moving to the more mundane:

Deposit checks: the easiest way to deposit checks is to do it with a mobile device. Simply snap a photo through your bank’s app, verify some information, and wait for the funds to arrive. You don’t need to fill out deposit slips, visit a branch, or wait for the mail to deliver checks to your bank. Mobile check deposits are even better than ATM deposits: you can make deposits anywhere in the world, and you can hold on to the check until the funds appear in your account (as opposed to sticking it in a machine that might or might not process the deposit correctly).

Pay people and businesses: tablets make it easier than ever to make payments. For starters, your bank’s app may allow you to use an online bill payment service that comes with your checking account. Other apps, not necessarily from your bank, make it easy to make peer-to-peer payments – there’s no longer any need to write checks or come up with exact change when you want to split a bill with friends.

Example: Square Cash lets you send money using debit cards. Popmoney and PayPal are also options.

Calculate loans: whenever you borrow money, it’s essential to understand how much it costs to borrow.

Financial apps make it easy to understand the nuts and bolts of any loan. You can always calculate loans yourself using spreadsheets or online calculators, but apps make the process easy (and attractive) on your tablet. Knowing more about loans allows you to spend less on interest and make better decisions.

Example: EZ Financial Calculators can help you understand loans, and is available for iOS and Android.

Transfer money between accounts: this is something you can do easily online, but it’s typically a bit easier, faster, and more intuitive with tablet banking apps.

View account activity: again, this function has been available online for years, but you may find that you do it more regularly if it’s easier. Having a tablet handy means you can quickly check on your account without sitting down at your desk and booting up.

Manage your finances: your tablet can help you understand the big picture. In addition to tablet banking apps, there are countless apps that help you reach specific goals and manage multiple types of accounts. The screen size and resolution on most tablets allows apps to present information in an attractive, easy-to-understand, and interactive format.

Example: Mint is a popular for basic personal financial planning, and other apps allow you to focus on more specific goals.