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Fidelity Investments adds mobile deposits to streamline investing

Fidelity Investments has added a mobile deposit feature to its iPad application to help investors make quick deposits to their individual retirement accounts.

In addition to the company’s iPad app, Fidelity’s iPhone and Android apps also include mobile deposit features. Fidelity Investment claims that its mobile usage tripled year-over-year in 2011, showing that as mobile becomes more prevalent, consumers want to make complex transactions via their handsets.

“From the minute the iPad 2 came out with a camera feature, customers started asking us when we were going to enable mobile deposits,” said Richard Blunck, executive vice president of digital distribution at Fidelity Investments, Boston.

“A lot of customers demand to do things such as trade and look at their money, accounts and interact with their investment plans via mobile,” he said.

“We are trying to look for more opportunities to use more mobile features such as the camera to make it easier for customers.”

Tabbed investments
Using their device’s camera, Fidelity Investments clients can take pictures of checks and deposit them into either brokerage or IRA accounts.

Mobile deposits are a fairly sophisticated feature and by adding it to the app as an upgrade, Fidelity Investments is letting users do more than simply access their account information.

Fidelity claims that the company receives 45 percent of IRA contributions within the last month before the April 17 deadline, and the added app features are meant to help make the process easier and quicker for investors.

In addition to mobile deposits, the iPad app has also been updated to include news and market information, including a world map with quotes, that help investors stay up to date with their investments.

Investors can also access investing trend information from third researchers and analysts to helps clients keep all information inside one place on their handsets.

According to the company, log-ins across all of Fidelity Investments mobile properties doubled from December 2010 to December 2011.

Besides apps, Fidelity Investments also has had a mobile site for 10 years and has worked since then to ramp up its mobile offerings.

Cross-platform solutions
The company also sees Amazon’s Android-powered Kindle Fire as a strong tablet opportunity and is looking to develop more cross-platform solutions.

According to Mr. Blunck, Fidelity plans to roll out a HTML5-based Web site that will help solve the fragmentation issue.

Being able to manage investment stocks and accounts via a mobile device is an example of how consumers are becoming more tech-savvy with their devices.

“Potential customers are thinking about the mobile capabilities of a company now when setting up an account,” Mr. Blunck said.

“Mobile capabilities allow consumers to stay engaged while doing other things,” he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York