Depositing money into a financial institution should be simple. But for many Americans that simply isn’t the case. “Bankers hours,” inconvenient locations, and draconian fee structures are just a few of the things that have sent legions of Americans looking for alternatives to banks and credit unions.

The FDIC’s latest survey of unbanked and underbanked households makes the point; it reveals that nearly 1 million U.S. households that were considered “banked” in 2009 were “unbanked” in 2011. An article published last week in the New York Times gives voice to the situation. “A Financial Service for People Fed Up with Banks” states the headline about Simple, a new branchless alternative to traditional banking.

Founded by a self-described technology nerd, Simple leverages the near ubiquity of smartphones. It features fee free, “checkless” checking accounts and what the New York Times described as “slick apps” that help clients better understand their finances. There’s even an app that allows customers to plot spending on a map, or search for transactions in a certain town or state.

Simply stated, Simple makes banking smarter and fun.

At the core of Simple’s offering is mobile a remote deposit service, Photo Check Deposit, supported by Cachet’s Select Mobile technology. With Photo Check Deposit, Simple’s clients can now deposit checks using their smartphones, anywhere, anytime. All transactions are protected by multiple layers of security, and are rich in information that Simple leverages to provide detailed analyses.

Mobile remote deposit is not just another slick feature. For Simple, it’s critically important because, after all, banks need deposits to make money.

Technically, Simple is not a bank; it has arrangements with federally insured banks that hold customers’ deposits. But Simple makes no bones about wanting to compete head-to-head with banks. “Get ready to leave your bank. And find clarity in your finances,” the company’s home page proclaims. And tens of thousands of consumers have already done just that.

In addition to traditional banking activities, Simple supports sophisticated analytical tools that help folks save and budget more intuitively. A Simple accountholder, for example, can add memos and tags to transactions to help track spending. A company tagline, “Simple is a smarter way to save and spend,” really sums it all.

Simple is just one of many new approaches to personal financial management made possible by emerging mobile technologies. The objective is pretty straight forward: make personal financial management simple, fun, inexpensive and responsive to today’s tech-savvy customers. Simple does this by leveraging state-of-the-art technologies, like mobile RDC and data analytics.

Banks and credit unions would do well by taking a page or two from the Simple playbook. Smartphones are nearly ubiquitous in the U.S. today; consumers from all socio-economic backgrounds are using these devices for all manner of important activities, including payments. Those financial institutions that leverage this critically important delivery channel now stand a much better chance of remaining relevant in the evolving financial services sector.