We live in a world that’s increasingly online, bringing people and ideas together in an instant, empowering people to do more than might’ve previously been imaginable. This is all thanks to smart phones. Mobile banking sprang up to meet the demands of this new world, but if you’ve never used your phone to bank before, you may be well be wondering “What is mobile banking?”
The difference between traditional, online and mobile banking accounts
Before diving into mobile banking, it may be helpful to learn about the main methods of accessing account services, which are broadly divided into three categories that all connect to the same bank account:
- Traditional banking: Traditional banking refers to the brick-and-mortar, in-person experience of banking that was once the only way to conduct your banking.
- Online banking: Online banking came about with the popular adoption of the internet and refers to accessing your bank’s services online by visiting their website on a web-based browser, typically on a computer.
- Mobile banking: Mobile banking refers to using your bank’s official mobile app to do your banking on a smart device such as a cellphone.
These days, many financial institutions offer customers access to all three, but there are also some banks that are exclusively online and primarily mobile.
Essentially, mobile banking isn’t all that different from the prior two options. All three banking options listed above allow you to conduct most of your important bank business like paying bills, receiving payments, viewing statements and more. The biggest difference is where that business is conducted. Compared to traditional banking, online and mobile banking offer a similar tradeoff: both offer the added convenience of doing your banking anywhere, anytime … but give up some of the in-person guidance and attention a teller might provide.
Online banking with mobile check deposit, and more
Mobile banking is basically just banking through your phone via your bank’s official app. Some of the things you can expect to be able to do include:
- Checking account balances
- Managing existing accounts and opening new ones
- Transferring money between accounts
- Initiating a wire transfer or Zelle® payment
- Paying bills
- Setting goals and planning a budget
- Depositing funds via mobile check deposit
If you ever need assistance, don’t worry. While mobile and online baking may not offer in-person benefits, both generally feature robust support systems including helpful articles, automated assistance and, yes, even guidance from real people over the phone. Note that specific features and support services may differ from one institution to another.
How safe is mobile banking online?
Mobile banking online is secured by several layers of technology, and financial institutions take great care to ensure customer data is kept safe. For example, here are some of the safety features you can find in the Chase Mobile® app:
- Card lock: This feature lets you lock a misplaced card to help prevent unauthorized purchases. You can also use it to unlock recovered cards.
- Face and Touch ID: Skip the password, not the security. The Chase Mobile® app supports Apple's Touch ID® and Face ID® or Android's Fingerprint Login for quick and secure account access.
- Chase QuickDeposit℠ security: This unique feature lets you safely and securely deposit checks to your account using your mobile phone.
These features are in addition to the 128-bit data encryption that helps ensure your personal information is kept safe from prying eyes.
How to get started with mobile banking
Getting started with mobile banking is a straightforward process:
- Download the official app: Start by visiting your financial institution’s website, where you’ll likely find an official link to download their mobile app if they have one.
- Log in: Once you download the app, you’ll need to log into your account using the credentials you’d use to sign into your account online. If you haven’t created these credentials, you’ll first need to do that following the requisite prompts. You may also need to verify your email or phone number, possibly via an email, text or phone call.
- Navigate to relevant sections: Upon logging in, you’ll likely be taken to a home screen where you can view and manage your linked accounts as well as access other useful features like check deposit or payments.
As you see, mobile banking has, in many ways, revolutionized the way people manage their finances. A mobile bank account provides a yet-unprecedented level of convenience regarding where and when you do your banking. Whether you want to check your balance, manage your accounts, make or receive payments or even set money goals, mobile banking lets you do it from the palm of your hand. The next time you hear someone ask, “What is mobile banking?” you can tell them — it’s an innovative way to make doing your banking more convenient and accessible.