Monday, August 10, 2009
Technology takes another step forward, as private bank USAA has announced plans to allow members to deposit checks via their updated iPhone application. Members will have to take a picture of both sides of the check, then send to the bank and it's electronic system will get the account number, amount, and other information before making the deposit. USAA plans to avoid the risk of fraud in these situations by requiring members to have both a bank account, and an insurance product with the bank before using the new system. This is a big step as far as technology bringing convenience to something like making a bank deposit. There has to be a lot of concern with security issues and such with all the iPhone hack attempts going on and such, so this should be interesting to see how this goes. If it becomes a success, in a few years time, or maybe even sooner, the big banks could adopt similar systems. Also it could be another big selling point for the iPhone as far as marketing it as the "everything phone."
If you have any sort of credit card or even phone bill, you know that you are constantly being asked by the company to "go paperless" and receive statements online only. This is a cost cutting measure for the company, which lowers the cost of paper and mailing, so of course they would prefer you go paperless. Well T-Mobile is taking it to the next level by beginning to actually charge customers who want a paper bill. The cost will be $1.50 for a basic paper bill. Currently, T-Mobile already charges customers $1.99 per month for detailed bills that include details on all calls and text messages made, so T-Mobile customers who want a detailed paper bill will now be charged $3.49 per month. Of course T-Mobile customers can avoid all the charges by going paperless and receiving statements online. This is a tough call on this one. Technology is making things like paper bills a thing of the past, but some people still prefer the old way for record keeping purposes, or some people still aren't computer savvy and want their bills the old fashioned way, except now they'll have to pay for it. The new charges go into effect September 12, so T-Mobile customers have about a month to decide to go paperless or pay up.