Mobile banking is gaining in popularity, and banks are beginning to take notice. One of these forward-looking institutions is Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), and it has just taken a great stride toward maintaining its leading position in this arena.

Hot on the heels of an announcement that B of A would be closing more ATMs nationwide came the good news: The bank would soon be rolling out updated mobile banking apps for Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPad and iPhone, as well as for Google's Android-based tablets and smartphones. This update contains an extra special feature -- the ability for users to deposit checks into their bank accounts simply by using their device's camera to snap a photo of the front and back of the check.

No slouch when it comes to mobile banking
Bank of America is not the first bank to offer this service. Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) introduced the option for certain customers this spring, and plans to extend it to all customers by year's end. Citigroup (NYSE: C) announced their mobile deposit app's new feature earlier this year, while JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) rolled out their service over a year ago.

While it seems as if B of A is holding up the rear when it comes to this new technology, it is worth noting that their apps can also be used on tablets, not just smartphones. Both Citi and Bank of America have been ahead of the curve when it comes to tablet banking, but it looks like only B of A allows remote check deposit on tablets, though I wouldn't be surprised if Citi added this feature in the near future.

Fool's take
Now that B of A's new apps are available, it will likely take some of the sting out of the ATM and bank branch closures, steps that the bank is taking to save costs. In addition, the fact that its app updates include tablets will make the service available to a wider customer base, such as the underbanked.

Although it may look as if it's late to the mobile check deposit game, Bank of America is definitely the frontrunner in the mobile banking space. The bank was one of the pioneers in this area, and it has over 10 million mobile customers -- more than any of its rivals, and 3 million more than a year ago. It is also the undisputed leader in tablet banking, with apps for Apple, Amazon's Kindle, and Android-based devices.

Despite its myriad problems, it seems certain that Bank of America will continue to keep its focus on the future of banking -- while picking up more and more customers along the way.

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