What kind of services can I get with mobile banking and how does it work?

Mobile banking is similar to online banking but instead of using your PC, you use your smartphone to access your financial services. The technology has significantly increased in popularity over the past few years, especially among young adults. Indeed, just over half of all millennials and baby boomers reportedly bank from their smartphones.

This rise in the adoption of mobile banking has also been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In early April 2020, new mobile banking registrations jumped approximately 200% over the daily average compared to March, as customers could no longer physically go in-branch to do their banking. These changes are likely to persist even after the pandemic, with customers’ new mobile banking habits established during this period of upheaval becoming the norm.

Firstly, it is worth noting that mobile banking apps are just as secure as internet banking. Any data that flows from the app to servers is encrypted and go through the HTTPS protocol – making your transactions secure. In addition, no data is stored on your mobile except your subscriber number if you activate this storage option. However, just as with internet banking, you should avoid using public Wi-Fi to access any sort of banking service. This is because using public Wi-Fi puts you at risk of becoming a victim of a man-in-the-middle attack, allowing your account details to be read by a hacker.


What services are available on a mobile banking app?

There are a number of benefits of banking from your smartphone including 24/7 access to mobile statements, the ability to transfer money from anywhere, the option to block your card from being used if you believe it has been lost or stolen, as well as allowing you to order a new card, the opportunity to open a new account, as well as making payments and transferring money instantly.

With new functions continually being added, mobile banking will soon offer almost all the services you’d be able to receive if you make a visit in branch.

Additionally, when you bank from your mobile, you’re able to set up notification alerts that can warn you when you’re close to your spending limit, or of any suspicious fraud attempts – useful if you haven’t yet realised your card has been stolen. What’s more, with PSD2 regulations requiring banks to verify their customers identity more frequently, when you make an online transaction today, your bank might ask you to open your mobile app, thereby authenticating yourself and get you to confirm the transaction was made by you, there.

Finally, in mobile banking can also see a breakdown of your transactions filtered by category, so you can see where you’re spending most of your money, for example at restaurants, on entertainment, or on transport, allowing you make more informed decisions about the future of your financial habits.


How to set up mobile banking

To start using mobile banking, you’ll firstly need to download an app to your smartphone. This will be the app of the bank you currently bank with and will usually come up when you search the name of the bank in the App/Google Play store. Always avoid going to your bank’s website from a link in an email or a text message as this could be a phishing or smishing attempt.

Next, you’ll be asked to register your account. This might involve putting a few of your personal details, such as your customer number, date of birth, and address, as well as taking a photo of your ID document for verification. In many cases nowadays, you’ll also be asked to upload a ‘selfie’ so that biometric face matching can be done against your ID – confirming it is really you. You’ll also at this point be asked to create a secret code or password to access your account when logging in. This password is not remembered by the application and will need to be reset if you forget it. However, it is NOT advisable to make this the same as your bank PIN code or any other easily searchable information, like your birthdate. For our top tips on how to create a secure password see our post here.

Once this process has been confirmed, you will have immediate access to your mobile banking and all the services on offer. You will also be able to request for a digital bank card that can be placed in your mobile wallet.

Each time you login to your mobile banking you’ll be asked to either put in the secret code created earlier or, you might be able to use some form of biometric authentication to access your account. This is to ensure your account remains secure – verifying your unique physical characteristics each time you make a login attempt to prevent fraud. For added security, you are automatically logged out of the app after a few minutes of inactivity.


What if I lose or sell my device?

Having your device stolen or suddenly realising you don’t have it on you anymore can be a cause for panic – especially if you have sensitive information or precious memories stored on the device. If you suspect theft or a remote attack on your device the best thing to do is immediately block access to your app. This can be done in two ways:

  • Block access to the Mobile Banking app in Internet Banking under “Settings”.
  • Contact the customer service help desk for your bank

If you sell the device, the best thing to do is to remove all the apps and restore it to the factory settings before you had it over to the new owner. That way, there’s no chance anything on the device can be linked to your personal information. However, if you get a new phone or tablet and try to login to your mobile banking it will likely be flagged as suspicious by your bank and you’ll be locked out of your account, unable to access any services. To prevent this, as soon as you have your new phone number, ring the customer service helpline for your bank and get them to update your information – including having them remove the old device (and phone number) from being associated with the bank account.

Have you recently started using mobile banking? What do you think of it? Let us know in the comments section below. You can also read other posts on similar topics here: