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A Closer Look at Mobile Banking

With advances in technology, financial institutions are now increasingly providing customers the ability to use mobile phones for banking transactions and to pay for just about anything from a retail purchase to a restaurant bill. Mobile phones provide opportunities for consumers to conduct their banking transactions and make payments from anywhere at any time. This is a convenient and beneficial way for consumers to incorporate banking and shopping into their busy lives.

Here is the latest overview to help consumers better understand the current state of mobile financial services and how they might benefit.

Mobile Banking

While many people access their bank accounts by going to their bank, using the telephone or an ATM, or accessing services online with their personal computer, consumers use their mobile banking options more. That might involve accessing a bank’s website or using mobile applications (apps) to check account balances and retrieving account information or initiating financial transactions.

A mobile banking application makes it easy to transfer funds within your bank, perhaps to send money to a child’s account or confirm if you have enough funds to make a purchase or pay a bill. The mobile banking app can also often be used for payments across banks.

Mobile banking also can assist consumers in making informed decisions. Many banking users check their account balance on their phone before making a large purchase in the store, and others may decide not to purchase an item as a result of their account balance or credit limit.

Consumers also can conveniently deposit checks from practically anywhere by transmitting an electronic image of each check and relevant information. Many consumers also are using high-tech wristwatches (called “smartwatches”) to read bank alerts or to make purchases applied to their credit, debit, or prepaid cards (the latter have money deposited on them but they are not linked to a checking or savings account). Ask your bank what services might be available.

Mobile Payments

For years, consumers have been using smartphones to make purchases at retailers’ sales terminals and person-to-person or “P2P” payment services (mobile apps) to conduct everyday payment transactions among family or friends without exchanging cash or a check.

One of the benefits of mobile P2P apps is that payments are typically initiated on a mobile device using the recipient’s smartphone number or email address. In this way, a consumer does not have to give the recipient a bank account or card number to make a payment; this information remains behind the scenes. Some of these services offer recipients quicker access to their received (deposited) funds, typically within minutes during business days.