The different types of mobile banking technology can be classified by the means a financial institution uses to communicate with customers and allow them access to its services. Most of the technology applications that banks use integrate with smart phones, such as the iPhone® and the Blackberry®. The three widely available types of mobile banking technology receive and send data via text messaging, web browsers and smart phone applications.
For those customers who wish to take advantage of mobile banking but do not have a smart phone, text messaging may be their primary option. Banks send customer alerts via text messages. These alerts are available for account balances, sent payments, direct deposits, and a myriad of account activity. Some banks allow users to sign up for these alerts through their online banking service for free while others charge a fee, in addition to the text messaging fees customers are charged by their cell phone carriers.
Some text messaging may be used to communicate with bank personnel in lieu of e-mail or sending a message through an online web site's contact center. By texting certain codes or instructions, bank customers may be able to send donations from their deposit accounts. These donations are sent to charitable organizations or causes with which the bank has an established partnership.
A second type of mobile banking technology is the mobile web browser. Individuals who own cell phones with web access are able to go to a modified version of the bank's online site. Full account access is given from the site, allowing users can monitor activity, request account transfers and make payments. Accessing the bank's website from a mobile phone does not usually result in a charge from the bank, but the user will most likely incur data charges from his wireless carrier.
One of the most exciting forms of mobile banking technology is the development of smart phone banking applications. These give users one-touch access to many account features. Similar to the web browser technology, customers have full access to their accounts through a mobile phone application. Some banks or payment services allow users to take a picture of a check and make a virtual ATM deposit through their phones.
More typical services include account transfers, bill payments and activity monitoring. These services allow customers to conduct banking transactions even if they are not near a computer. They can monitor for fraudulent activity and instantly notify bank personnel if there is an issue.