Android Pay has become a popular method of digital payment since its launch in the US and Europe. It hasn't been launched in India, however, where the mobile payments landscape is a bit different. A government-endorsed platform called UPI (Universal Payments Interface) is widely used in India, with banks, e-commerce sites, and even tech companies like WhatsApp and Truecaller launching payment services based on it, hoping to grab a slice of the lucrative pie. Google is almost ready to enter this crowded space, with the launch rumored to be happening on Monday September 18th.
Using biometric authentication for banking logins is nothing new. It adds a level of convenience with only a slight decrease in security, although I find it only a bit faster than using a PIN. Apps like PayPal and USAA have had it for some time, and Discover is finally joining the party.
Banking apps are traditionally terrible and slow to adopt new features. That has never been the case with Simple, and the developers are reminding us of that with an update that (among other things) adds support for Nexus Imprint.
Simple is a bank from the future (or the past, I guess), one that lacks physical branches and expects you to handle all of your transactions over the web from a PC or mobile device. After quite a wait, the Portland-based company has pushed out an update to its Android app that comes with enough visual tweaks to make the experience look Lollipop-friendly.
The previous version—which was already clean and, dare I say, simple—looked like a KitKat holdover. With 2.2, the designers have slid the hamburger button from the edge of the screen and tossed a floating action button into the bottom right corner.
Bank of America's official Android app has been able to cash checks by taking photos of them for the last few years. It's an extremely useful feature that eliminates one of the last common reasons to stand in a teller line. It's also bloody frustrating, at least with Bank of America's implementation - I'm a customer, and I've often had to find a solid black backdrop and a couple of table lamps just to make the photo clear enough for BofA's strangely picky system.
The update to version 6.0 (all the way from 5.0) seems to have fixed that. I just tried out a test run with an old-fashioned paper check, and even on a light background in poor light, it passed the image verification.
Back in mid-August, Simple pushed out version 2.0 of its app, bringing with it a bold, yet simplistic new interface, as well as a handful of other new features. Now the company is pushing version 2.1 to the Play Store (as well as Appstore for iOS devices), which brings a couple more useful features to the table.
First off, Wear support. As of now, Simple will send push notifications to your Wear device, which includes both support messages and transaction notifications. Hooray for not having to pick up your phone when notifications come in.
Secondly, there's now an option to attach an image to transactions.
Banking apps aren't terribly exciting in general. In fact, they're usually awful, buggy apps that make you hate yourself. The Bank of America app has gone through a few iterations (most of them bad), but the newest update is actually a solid improvement.
T-Mobile is doing a lot of unconventional things for the mobile industry, and now it's branching out to banking as well. The carrier has announced a new service called Mobile Money that works like any number of other online banks. You set up the account, deposit your checks through an app, and use a Visa debit card to spend. As for the fees, most of them are waived for T-Mobile customers.
As a Bank of America customer for almost ten years, I can give you a lot of reasons to hate them. But I must admit that the Android app isn't one. While initially a little shaky, the app has gently evolved into something that's perfectly serviceable, and today it gets another substantial update. The biggest addition is the ability to send or receive money through email addresses or phone numbers. Yes, that's exactly how PayPal works, but if you do it via BOFA, you won't have to wait 2-3 business days for another transfer. And look! It's only three months behind the iOS version.
GoBank is pretty similar to Simple in a few new ways: it's online only, designed for mobile use, and turns the traditional banking system on its head. From there, though, GoBank branches off and does its own thing. For example, you can choose how much your monthly fees are – from nothing at all to $9 a month.