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iPhone Making Inroads in Banks

Reuters reports today that Standard Chartered Bank is allowing employees to swap their BlackBerries for iPhones, with the bank's full support. This is one of the few large banks we know of to adopt an enterprise version of the iPhone internally, but this may open the door to other, similar announcements.

Reuters reports today that Standard Chartered Bank is allowing employees to swap their BlackBerries for iPhones, with the bank's full support. This is one of the few large banks we know of to adopt an enterprise version of the iPhone internally, but this may open the door to other, similar announcements.

On the customer-facing front, dozens of banks have extended their mobile banking applications to the iPhone. Most recently, the Bank of Missouri rolled out an iPhone application that lets customers do their online banking, set up alerts, perform funds transfers and pay bills on Apple's smart phone. It's a Jack Henry application available at Apple's App Store (the bank's website says the application can be downloaded from iTunes, but this is not so; iTunes is strictly a music store).

A search for "bank" at the App Store turns up iPhone mobile banking applications from Bank of America, Wells Fargo, PNC, Citi, Regions Bank, Zions Bank, Israeli Discount Bank, Amarillo National Bank, Capital City Bank, People's Bank, Bank Leumi, ANZ National Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Happy State Bank (in Happy, Texas), Simmons First Bank, Amegy Bank, Arvest, FirstBank, Standard Chartered Bank, National Bank of Arizona, Sun National Bank, BancorpSouth, JPMorgan Chase, M&I Bank, Susquehanna Bank, Ohio Valley Bank and of course, Bank of Missouri, Community First Bank (and probably more, but after scrolling through several hundred apps our iPhone's battery ran low). AT&T offers a free mobile banking application that iPhoners can use to access multiple bank and card accounts. An app for cash-challenged iPhone users, called Fake-A-Bank Account from Excelltech, lets them show friends and dates the bank balances they wish they had (or conversely, a low balance and fake credit card debt when they need to explain why they can't pay for lunch).

But while banks are obviously active about formating their mobile banking applications to the iPhone, nonbank competitors seem to be beating banks to the punch when it comes to offering personal finance management applications. We found two bank PFM apps at the iPhone store - U.S. Bank's Mobile Wallet and PNC's Virtual Wallet. But there's a long list of nonbank competitor PFMs, including Quicken, Mint.com, iXpenseIt, Budget, TapExpense, Every Nickel, Paper Finance, PocketMoney, Day Bank, Checkbook, QuickBank Checkbook, iBank, HomeBudget, Personal Assistant, Bank of Mom (for helping kids manage their money), SplashMoney, iPiggy, Credit Card Debt, CashFlow Free, iCheckBalance, Bankarama, Budget Touch, and Bank of Me (an application that tracks what the user owes friends).

The "bank" search also pulled up a few mortgage calculator, an app intended to trick friends into thinking the iPhone can print money, and several games, including Monopoly, a lemonade sales game, a game called Bank Run ("Your employer has turned against you and wants you dead. Even worse, they are holding your girlfriend hostage until you comply with their demands. Bottom line: It's kill or be killed in this interactive movie/game adventure") and Ninja Bank Robbers.

There's also an iPhone app for sending money to the dead by burning fake monetary papers, called Hell Bank Note. When Apple says expansively in its commercials, "there's an App for that," they're not kidding.

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