Gone are the days when you need to travel to your bank branch to deposit a check or transfer funds. Many institutions now offer mobile banking apps so you can access your account and manage your money right from your phone or tablet.
Read on for a closer look at what mobile banking is and how you can use it to manage your accounts.
What is mobile banking?
Mobile banking involves managing your bank account from your smartphone or tablet. Many banks offer mobile banking apps, which you can download on your device and use to log into your account.
Through mobile banking, you can do many of the same activities that you would do online or in person at your bank. You can order or deposit checks, transfer funds, and track your spending and savings.
Some mobile banking apps automatically track your cash flow and send notifications about withdrawals and deposits. Plus, they’ll notify you of any suspicious activity, so you can cancel your debit card or take other steps to protect your account.
While you can’t withdraw or deposit cash through a mobile banking app, you can do almost anything else. Using a mobile banking app is like carrying your bank around in your pocket as long as you’re connected to the internet or a mobile data plan.
The difference between online and mobile banking
The main difference between online and mobile banking is how you access your accounts. With online banking, you sign in through your bank’s website using a web browser on your desktop computer or another device. You can use online banking without using your bank’s app.
On the other hand, mobile banking involves downloading your bank’s app and signing in on your smartphone, tablet, or other device. If you’re not on Wi-Fi, you might still be able to sign in using your cell phone service. This way, mobile banking offers easy access when you’re on the go.
Plus, mobile banking apps can send push notifications if you receive a deposit, are in danger of overdrawing your account, or complete a transaction. That said, a bank might offer a slightly wider range of activities through its website than through its mobile app. For instance, you might need to use online banking to open a new account, an option that may or may not be available on a mobile app.
Is mobile banking safe?
Mobile banking is considered safe since banks use secure, high-end encryption technology to safeguard your data. However, cyber attacks are always possible, so take steps to protect your money from fraud.
First, download the official, verified mobile banking app from your bank. Don’t get fooled by third-party apps posing as your financial institution in an attempt to steal your information.
Choose a secure password containing capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and punctuation marks. Consider setting up multi-factor authentication, which requires you to enter a numeric passcode every time you sign in.
You might also be able to sign in with your facial ID or fingerprint, further safeguarding your accounts. Avoid logging into your mobile banking app on public Wi-Fi networks since doing so risks your personal information.
Finally, set up push notifications on the app to alert you of any fraudulent activity. If you receive a notification, contact your bank right away to address the problem.
How does mobile banking work?
Getting started with mobile banking is easy. Simply head to the Google Play Store or Apple App Store to find your bank’s mobile app. If you have a specific mobile banking app in mind, you might open a new account with the institution that offers it first.
If you already use online banking, you should be able to log into your accounts with your same username and password. As mentioned, you might also set up multi-factor authentication, Face ID, or fingerprint ID as an added layer of mobile banking security.
Once you’ve logged in, you can use the app to manage your accounts. You might start with an overview of your accounts, reviewing the balance in your checking and savings accounts. Some apps also let you turn on notifications about your balance, so you’ll know when it increases or decreases.
You can also use mobile banking to deposit checks. To get started, you’ll endorse your check (some banks also ask you to write “for remote deposit” or something similar below your signature). Then, you’ll open the deposit checks section of the app and take a photograph of the front and back of your check.
Some mobile banking activities, such as transfers between accounts, may process instantly, whereas others, such as mobile check deposits, may take a day or two. Make sure to save any checks or other paperwork until the deposit has gone through in case of any delays.
What is the best mobile banking app?
The best mobile banking app is the one that offers the features that are most important to you. As you’re exploring your options, here are some features to keep an eye out for:
- Easy mobile check deposit
- Automatic transfers to a savings account
- Integration with mobile payment apps, such as Apple Pay and Google Pay
- Peer-to-peer payments
- Security features, such as Face ID login or instant cancellation of your debit card if you spot fraudulent activity
- Option to order checks for yourself or to send as payment to individuals or businesses
- ATM and bank locator tool, so you can find the most convenient locations
- Budget-tracking, cash-flow analysis, and savings tools to help you meet your financial goals
- Ability to order a new debit card if yours has been lost or canceled
- Instant transaction alerts so you know whenever money has been deposited or withdrawn
Besides scoping out the features of a mobile banking app, look for one that has a user-friendly design and experience. Mobile banking can have a leg-up on online banking due to its ease of use. Check out the user reviews on the app store to see what apps are user-friendly.
In the end, you want a mobile banking app to help you easily manage your bank accounts. Here’s a closer look at the top mobile banking app features to look for when choosing the right app for you.
Which is safer: online or mobile banking?
Both online and mobile banking are safe, though security tips differ slightly between the two.
You should avoid logging into your online and mobile accounts on public Wi-Fi, but with online banking, you also shouldn’t log in while using a public computer. Mobile banking apps may also allow you to log in with your face or fingerprint.
As long as you keep your accounts secure, online and mobile banking offer safe and secure ways to do your banking. Check out our top tips to avoid P2P fraud and scams to learn more.
What is the advantage of mobile banking?
Mobile banking makes banking accessible and convenient. You can access your accounts 24/7 from your smartphone or other device. With a mobile banking app, you can review your balances, deposit checks, transfer funds, and complete other transactions without traveling to your bank.
What are the risks of mobile banking?
Mobile banking apps use high-end security and encryption technologies to keep your money safe, but common scams can target any online account.
If you’re using mobile banking, take precautions to keep your sensitive information safe. Set a secure password, avoid logging in on public Wi-Fi networks, and enable fraud alerts to notify you of any suspicious activity instantly.
These steps can reduce mobile banking risks and help keep your account secure.
Mobile banking makes managing your money easy and convenient
You have enough on your to-do list without having to travel to your bank every time you want to deposit a check or transfer money to your savings account. With mobile banking, you can manage your money 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
This convenience may be why 76% of adults use their bank’s mobile app to access their accounts, monitor their balances, and deposit checks, according to an Ipsos-Forbes Advisor U.S. Weekly Consumer Confidence Survey.¹
If you’re ready to switch to mobile banking, check out the Chime app, the #1 most-loved banking app² with over 600,000 five-star reviews.