What Are the Different Types of Mobile Banking Technology?

Helen Akers

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.

Most banks incorporate smart phones into their mobile banking technology.
Most banks incorporate smart phones into their mobile banking technology.

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.

Mobile web browsers now enable a host of banking services on the go.
Mobile web browsers now enable a host of banking services on the go.

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.

Many online banks will waive ATM fees if they do not have a physical location in the area.
Many online banks will waive ATM fees if they do not have a physical location in the area.

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.

Many banks offer both smartphone apps as well as online access to account information.
Many banks offer both smartphone apps as well as online access to account information.

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.

Texting certain codes allows donations and money transfers to be processed automatically from a person's account.
Texting certain codes allows donations and money transfers to be processed automatically from a person's account.

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Discussion Comments


My son uses his phone for just about everything, including banking. His phone is his lifeline for his business and family communications.

He has his own business and has an application on his phone where he can receive credit card payments from customers. This is much cheaper than the traditional way of receiving credit card payments.

All of this mobile banking is done on this one device. With the availability of instant internet access, he can also check all of his accounts to see what is happening on a daily basis.

Because he is on the road a lot with his business, this really comes in handy. This also means he only has to worry about carrying one device with him instead of many.


I still remember the days when the only way you knew what your bank account statement looked like was when you received it in the mail every month, or walked in the bank and talked to someone.

The next step was telephone banking when you could get all this information over the telephone. Now I don't know what I would do if I didn't have my smart phone to keep up with my banking.

I also have a text alert set up on my phone if the bank needs to alert me of something that looks funny or suspicious on my account.

I think it is easier to know if something has happened with your account if you can have instant access like this. The mobile banking services have greatly improved in just the last few years, and I think there are even better changes to come.


@David09 - I’ve heard of that trend. I think it’s tightly integrated with a concept known as mobile money, which is an easy way to send and receive money.

I think the mobile payment units are added to your phone bill or something like that. I don’t know all about how it works, just that it’s supposed to be more secure than using credit card transactions. I think mobile money will become the de facto standard for making payments with your mobile device.


@hamje32 - There are some interesting mobile banking trends happening right now. One of these is the mobile ATM. The article mentions one aspect of this, like depositing into the ATM.

But in some parts of Europe you can now do the opposite. You can use your smart phone to withdraw money from the ATM, without needing a card.

I’m not sure how it works but it’s supposed to be very secure, and it’s also useful if you want to wire transfer money to people in other parts of Europe. I don’t doubt that soon we’ll have this technology in the United States.


The mobile Internet is here to stay, that’s for sure. I speak as a developer. One of our biggest development pushes is to develop applications for the mobile Internet.

Among the many drivers for mobile technology, bank is near the top of the list. This not only includes your regular bank but your credit card bank and investment banks. We develop streamlined versions of the websites for these customers.

Mobile websites have to be spare in terms of images and stuff, but they really have to deliver in terms of functionality. The mobile web browser needs to access the website quickly. Usually we create a whole new site that is a mini version of the larger banking site, and we build the site only around those functions that will be useful to the mobile consumer.


I love reading about all this new technology in banking that is coming around. I had never read about the thing of being able to take pictures of checks that the article mentioned. It seems like there could be some potential issues with that, but I'm sure they've got some sort of safeguards from people forging checks.

What I really think is interesting is that some places are solely mobile banking companies now. I switched over to using ING a couple of years ago. Some people say they don't like not having a real person to see at the bank, but my experience has been that you get the same or better service from online banks.

I have gotten loans from them before, and they actually send someone to your house to explain the paperwork and fill it out. They also have 24 hour customer service where you aren't supposed to wait more than a couple minutes to talk to a real person. They have always been efficient and helpful in my experience.

The best part is that since there is no overhead as far as running branches, they can offer better interest rates than brick and mortar banks.


@TreeMan - I am with you. I just have a small local bank that doesn't have all the technology of the bigger places, but I am not really too concerned about needing all the different features on my phone.

For my credit cards, though, they are all through the bigger companies, and they have a lot of different online features. The thing I really love about them is that you can make payments with your smartphone. There has been more than once where the due date came around and I had forgotten to make a payment and couldn't get to a computer before the end of the business day. In that case, I could just pull out my phone and pay the bill right then and there.

With all of this stuff that is out now that we can do on our phones, it's amazing that we ever made it before.


I have noticed that a lot of the larger national banks are starting to add more online features as well as mobile banking apps that connect to different services. I figure it is only a matter of time before small banks start adding these things.

I use a smaller bank where I live, and all they have now is an online portal where you can check your account balances. You can transfer money between accounts, but that is really all. It is a pretty handy system, though, when you can't get to a computer but you need to know whether a check has been cashed or deposited or something. I do think it would be helpful if they added some sort of bill paying feature, though. I am guessing that is probably the next step they will take.


My bank just started offering text message based banking. You text certain commands into a dedicated phone number and information is sent back to you almost immediately. I can get balances and other account info. It's great because I don't have a smartphone so I can't take advantage of all the apps that have come out.


@strawcake - I can definitely see your concern. Using mobile connections from a public space isn't as secure as if you were going through your router at home. That's not to mention the people who aren't bright enough to make sure they are on a secure connection when they are in public. I have plenty of friends who connect to public Wi-Fi hotspots that don't require a password, but then want to enter personal information online. It is very easy for someone to swipe that information.

I think as long as you are smart about entering your information over a mobile phone, you should be safe. You just have to make sure that you are on a trusted network. At that point, it's not really any more dangerous than using your router from home.

I do like your point about losing your phone, though. That is a situation I have never thought of.


I love mobile banking. I do a lot of banking for both my business and personal life but I rarely have to go into a physical branch location. This saves me a lot of time and hassle at the end of the day.

What excites me even more is that mobile banking is such a huge benefit to the banks because they don't have to pour resources into physical locations. So they will probably be more likely to expand and improve the service moving forward. Mobile banking is the way of the future.


I think I might be in the minority here, but I kind of hate mobile banking. I like to talk to a human when I'm making my bank transactions, instead of interacting with a tiny cell phone screen. Also, I really question mobile banking security.

What if you leave yourself signed into your account on your phone, and you lose it? Someone could easily access your banking information and steal your identity or something like that. Plus, I don't really feel like accessing the Internet over a cell phone is that secure. I'm sure someone could hack into your account this way if they really wanted to.


@JessicaLynn - I use my smart phone for mobile banking too. It is quite convenient! However, I don't really like to do mobile banking in the web browser on my phone. Instead, I downloaded a mobile banking app for each bank I have an account with.

I think using the app is a lot easier than using the web browser. I don't have to worry about navigating to the website and then logging in, I can stay logged in on the app. One tap of my phone screen, and I can do whatever I need to do with my bank account. I usually use it to do stuff like check my balance, transfer money between accounts, and pay my bills.


I have a smart phone, and I take advantage of mobile banking using my web browser all the time! I love when they incorporate new technology in banking to make things easier for the customers.

I primarily use mobile banking to check my balance. I used to overdraft my bank account all the time, but I haven't done it once since I started using mobile banking. Since I can check my balance any time I want, I never have to worry about accidentally spending too much since I wasn't sure how much money was in my account.

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