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Propelled by sales of smartphones like the Apple iPhone and the Motorola Droid, mobile banking has caught on in a big way. I'm Claes Bell with the Bankrate.com personal finance minute.
A report by Javelin Research released in October found that in the preceding 12 months, the number of cell phone users conducting mobile banking rose from 19 percent to 30 percent.
The technology's popularity has led banks and credit unions to offer an ever-larger assortment of time-saving mobile banking tools for consumers.
Mobile banking generally comes to consumers in three ways: SMS texts, mobile browsers, such as Apple's Safari or the Android Browser, and downloadable apps available in smartphone "app stores."
Together, those tools can help bank customers do everything from check their balance and make person-to-person payments to pay bills, deposit checks remotely, get text reminders about a low balance or a bill that's due, and even locate the nearest ATM.
Security concerns among consumers may be holding mobile banking back, though. That doesn't necessarily match up with reality, as mobile banking can be every bit as safe as banking on a personal computer, but it does show banks have some work to do to convince customers.
For more on this and other personal finance topics, visit Bankrate.com. I'm Claes Bell.