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How has the iPad 2 made banking easier?

Some banks have released apps to help you do your banking on your tablet computer. See more banking pictures.
William Andrew/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

It wasn't that long ago that making a deposit or withdrawing money from your checking account meant physically going to the bank and speaking with a teller. With the advent of the Internet, however, all that changed. Transactions could be completed from your computer at any time of the day or night. Now, with the release of tablet devices like the iPad 2, this process is becoming even easier.

While online banking can still be done on the iPad 2's Internet browser, many banks now offer purpose-built applications, or apps, with which you can manage your accounts from any iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch. These programs, which are obtained through Apple's App Store, display the financial institution's online banking functions in a simplified format that's typically more intuitive and user-friendly than that of a traditional Web site. Such apps are usually free and though many are optimized for the iPhone's smaller screen, more and more banks are now releasing iPad 2-specific apps, including Bank of America, Chase and Citibank.

The iPad 2's online banking apps offer much of the functionality that you'd expect from a Web site, plus a few more innovative features. Like their browser-based counterparts, these apps allow you to check account balances, view recent transactions, transfer funds and pay bills. More advanced tasks are possible, thanks to the iPad 2's global positioning system (GPS) and camera. Most banking apps can use GPS to pinpoint your location and find the nearest bank branch or ATM. They also give the business hours and services provided at these outlets, as well as driving directions on the iPad 2's Maps application. Some banking apps also allow you to deposit checks remotely. While the process varies from bank to bank, you generally sign in to your online account app, then select the deposit option. When prompted, you enter the deposit amount, then take a picture of both sides of the endorsed check. After you accept the deposit, the images are securely sent to your bank over the iPad 2's 3G or Wi-Fi connection. After the account name and number on the check are verified, the funds are credited to your account.

Managing your finances with the iPad 2 clearly represents a significant advancement over traditional banking. Read on to find out more about the pros and cons of this technology and exactly how secure it is to use.