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Banks grow check deposit, other mobile services

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Mobile banking is here to stay.

Bank of America has become the latest of the big banks to roll aggressively into this new area, launching a service that allows retail customers to deposit checks by transmitting a photo of the check via hand-held devices. It also launched a P2P program that will allow money transfers via email addresses and mobile phone numbers.

These programs will increasingly be seen as de rigueur. Wells Fargo has already launched a mobile check deposit service for retail customers. Recall also that the clearXchange P2P initiative, involving JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Bank of America, was also launched earlier this year.

At this point, all retail banks ought to have plans for these sorts of consumer services, but the most interesting part of the new launches may be in the realm of rewards programs optimized for online and mobile banking. Bank of America has announced that it will expand a coupon program that allows customers to access special offers from retailers by clicking on promotions sent to their online banking accounts. The program, called BankAmeriDeals, was tested in January and will be expanding to the entire country by the end of summer. The strategy offers discounts to customers, while encouraging customers to use their Bank of America debit and credit cards.

It remains to be seen whether next-generation rewards programs will be able to fill the shoes of traditional rewards programs, which are in decline. Mobile rewards loom as perhaps the most important niche of all. That's all still being formulated by banks, digital wallet providers and others.

For more: 
- here's a Reuters article

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