Mobile banking allows customers to make a deposit by taking a photo of a check with a smart phone. Staff photo.u00a0

First Tennessee bank officials announced Wednesday that their customers can now deposit checks from anywhere if they have an iPhone or Android smartphone.

The new service, which is part of the mobile banking application, allows customers to take a photo of both sides of a check with a smart phone to make a deposit.

“It’s about convenience,” Keith Sanford, market president for the bank, said. “Bank anywhere. Bank in your bathroom or out of town.”

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First Tennessee is the first regional bank in the state to offer mobile deposit, the bank’s leaders said Wednesday at a news conference.  

Other banks, such as Chase and USAA, also offer the service.

Customer interest drove the decision to add the feature, Angela Copeland, vice president of digital and e-commerce for First Tennessee, said.

“We’ve heard a lot of interest from our customers and we’ve really been listening to that interest,” she said. “There is a trend in banking that people want to bank wherever they are. It’s kind of like having the branch in the palm of your hand.”

With about 35 percent of adults using smart phones, according to Copeland, and popularity of mobile services increasing throughout the banking industry as a whole – the new service was a logical next step, she said.

In 2001, mobile banking has doubled industry-wide and since launching mobile banking in August 2010, First Tennessee has seen a 350 percent increase in mobile transactions, Copeland said.

Despite recent warnings about smart phone hacking, First Tennessee officials said the mobile deposit option is secure.

“You’ll notice, as you use mobile banking, you are very quickly logged out,” Copeland said. “It’s like any other very secure app, where you must know your own log-in credentials.”

Sanford said he takes two steps to secure his smart phone, by requiring a log-in both for the phone and the mobile banking service.

The service is free and Sanford said there are no plans to charge for it.  

First Tennessee is the first regional bank in the state to offer mobile deposit, the banku2019s leaders said Wednesday at a news conference. Staff photo.

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