What Is Mobile Banking? (2024)

Mobile banking refers to the use of a mobile device, such as a cellphone or tablet, to manage financial accounts. Traditional banks, credit unions, online banks, and fintech companies can offer mobile banking applications to customers who are looking for a simpler way to stay on top of their finances.

In terms of the advantages, mobile banking can save time since you can bank from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. It makes it easy and convenient to stay on top of your finances, since you can pay bills, send payments, or make deposits all from your mobile device. There are some downsides, however, as mobile banking apps may experience technical issues from time to time and they don't all feature the same functionality.

If you're new to using mobile banking, it helps to know how it works and where to find mobile banking apps.

Featured partner

What Is Mobile Banking? (1)

What Is Mobile Banking? (2)


Featured partner



Varies by transaction amount, currency, and delivery method

Max transaction limit

Up to $10,000 per online transaction, up to $10,000 per 30-day period; higher limits may be available in store

# of countries


Examples of mobile banking apps

Mobile banking apps share the same purpose: to make banking easier and more convenient for their users. They can be a complement to—or a substitute for—online banking, which entails visiting the bank's website to log in to your account.

The types of features and functions you have depends on which app you're using. Mobile banking apps include apps that are issued by banks and credit unions and ones that are offered by fintech platforms.

Bank and credit union mobile banking apps

If you have accounts at a bank or a credit union, there's a strong possibility that you have access to a mobile banking app. Banks and credit unions can offer mobile banking services through a branded app reserved just for their customers.

For example, if you have an account at Chase Bank then you could visit the Apple App Store or Google Play Store to download the Chase mobile banking app for free. Once you've got the app installed and have set up your login and password information, you can start managing your accounts. Some of the features the Chase banking app offers include:

  • Zelle payments.
  • QuickDeposit, which allows you to deposit checks on the go.
  • Autosave and budget planning.
  • Credit monitoring through Chase Credit Journey.

Of course, Chase is not the only bank that offers a mobile banking app. Here are some additional examples of mobile banking apps, with a brief overview of their features.

BankDescriptionTop Features

Axos Bank

The Axos Bank app is designed to offer a bird's-eye view of your finances by allowing you to sync all of your accounts, including ones held at other banks.

  • External account linking
  • Mobile check deposit
  • 24/7 chat help with Evo
  • Biometric login
  • Fraud monitoring

CIT Bank

CIT's mobile app makes it easy to access checking, savings, money market, and CD accounts from a compatible device. The app is available through the App Store and Google Play store for free.

  • Mobile check deposit
  • Online bill payment
  • Send and receive money with Zelle
  • Link to Apple Pay and Samsung Pay
  • Easy account transfers


Discover's mobile banking app works on a variety of devices, including wearables, which makes it even easier to manage your money from anywhere.

  • Send and receive money with Zelle
  • Mobile check deposit
  • ATM finder
  • Debit card lock/unlock
  • Online bill pay

First Citizens Bank

Even though it's a smaller, regional bank, First Citizens offers a robust mobile app that includes a wide range of features. Similar to Axos Bank, First Citizens allows users to view accounts from other banks through the mobile app.

  • Manage My Money, which offers a snapshot of all your financial accounts
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Digital wallet capabilities
  • Send and receive money with Zelle
  • Online bill pay

Live Oak Bank

Live Oak Bank offers mobile banking services for personal and business banking customers. Like CIT Bank, Live Oak is an online-only financial institution.

  • Online bill pay; Mobile check deposit
  • Transfer funds to external accounts
  • Open new accounts
  • Download statements

Quontic Bank

Quontic is an adaptive digital bank that offers mobile banking services as well as the option to make payments securely using a unique wearable device called the Quontic Pay Ring.

  • Mobile check deposit
  • Online bill pay
  • Debit card lock and unlock
  • Simplified account transfers
  • Receipt and expense tracking

U.S. Bank

U.S. Bank offers an award-winning mobile app with a full suite of money management tools. Users can connect accounts from other financial institutions for a complete snapshot of their money.

  • Digital wallet capabilities
  • Online bill pay
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Send and receive payments with Zelle
  • Debit card lock and unlock

Fintech mobile banking apps

Mobile banking apps offered by fintech companies can have many of the same features as apps from traditional banks. And in some cases, they may allow even greater functionality or offer access to a wider range of services.

The difference is that fintech companies usually aren't banks themselves. Instead, they partner with Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)-insured banks to give their app users access to banking services and protection for their deposits. Chime is a great example.

Chime is a fintech company, not a bank. It offers banking services in partnership with The Bancorp Bank, N.A., and Strike Bank, N.A., both of which are FDIC-insured. Chime users can access those services through the Chime mobile banking app, which allows you to check balances, transfer funds, and pay bills online securely.

Here are a few other examples of mobile banking apps offered by fintech platforms.

AppDescriptionTop Features

CashApp is a finance app that lets you spend, save, invest, and make payments all in one place. You can link a bank account to CashApp but you don't need one to use it. Anyone 13 or older can create a CashApp account.

  • Send and receive payments for free
  • Spend using Cash
  • App Pay and Cash Card
  • File taxes for free
  • Invest in stocks
  • Buy and sell Bitcoin

Lili is an online and mobile banking platform that's designed for small business owners, including freelancers, independent contractors, and gig workers. Lili requires a monthly fee to use its banking and business tools.

  • Business checking account
  • Online bookkeeping
  • Send invoices and receive
  • payments
  • Track business expenses
  • Generate tax reports

MoneyGram is a money transfer service that allows you to send funds to virtually anywhere in the world. The MoneyGram app makes it easy to send and receive money without having to visit a MoneyGram location in person.

  • Send money abroad or within the U.S.
  • Pay bills from anywhere
  • Check currency exchange rates
  • Find MoneyGram locations near you

PayPal offers a mobile app for personal use, as well as an app that's designed for business owners who use PayPal to send and receive payments. One of the newest app features is the option to buy, sell, and hold cryptocurrencies.

  • Send and receive money instantly
  • Pay bills through the app
  • Store cards in a secure digital wallet
  • Get paid early with direct deposit

Remitly is a money transfer app that allows you to send and receive funds internationally. You might consider Remitly if you'd prefer to avoid the high wire transfer fees that banks can charge.

  • Send money to over 170 countries around the world
  • Receive funds securely using convenient delivery options

Revolut is a global finance app that's designed to simplify money management. Users can see all of their financial accounts in one place and use the app to spend and save.

  • Send and request money with the tap of a button
  • Earn interest on savings
  • Get rewards for purchases
  • Invest and store crypto

Mobile banking: Pros and cons

Mobile banking has some advantages and disadvantages. Comparing the pros and cons is helpful for understanding what mobile banking might be able to do for you, and where it has limitations.


  • Bank from anywhere, any time
  • Usually free to use
  • Can save you money on fees
  • Wide range of capabilities


  • Risk of hacking and identity theft
  • Tech issues or bugs can affect usability
  • Some mobile banking apps charge fees
  • Features aren't the same for all apps

Advantages of mobile banking

Mobile banking has some definite benefits that can make your financial life easier. Taking a closer look at the advantages can help you decide if using mobile banking might be right for you.


Mobile banking makes it easy to track your bank accounts from virtually anywhere. As long as you've got a stable internet connection, you can log in to the app to view your accounts and perform other banking functions. That's much easier and less time-consuming than having to visit a branch or call your bank on the phone.


Using mobile banking could save you money if you're using features like online bill pay or free money transfer services. Scheduling bill payments through a mobile banking app can help you to avoid late fees. And with a service like Zelle, you can avoid the surcharges that other money transfer services might charge.

RELATED: Best High Yield Savings Accounts


Mobile banking apps can allow you to handle a wide range of banking services in one place. For example, you might be able to pay bills, deposit checks, open new accounts, or adjust your security settings all with a few taps of a button. Thanks to evolving technology, new features are being added to mobile banking apps all the time.

Disadvantages of mobile banking

Is mobile banking perfect? No, and there are a few downsides that you might want to be aware of before you start using it.


While banks and fintech companies can take steps to make sure their apps are secure, vulnerabilities may still exist. If your mobile banking app is hacked, that could put your personal and financial information at risk. Taking advantage of every security feature your bank offers is one way to minimize your risk should the app become compromised. And never do mobile banking on public wi-fi. Always use a secure line, be sure you’re connected to a secure line at the bank, and consider using a VPN.

Technical issues

Glitches and bugs happen but when they do, it can be highly inconvenient if you need to log in to your mobile banking app to pay a bill or send a payment. Technical issues can be even more frustrating to deal with if they happen frequently or the bank seems to be slow in addressing them, resulting in longer outages.


While mobile banking apps can offer plenty of features, they aren't all the same. Some apps can be almost overwhelming in terms of how many features they include, while others are decidedly more bare-bones. Choosing the right mobile banking app ultimately comes down to finding the one that offers the features you need most.

How to use a mobile banking app

Using a mobile banking app isn't that complicated. If you're a first-timer, here's how it works:

  • Navigate to the Apple App Store for iOS devices or Google Play Store for Android devices on your mobile device and search for the mobile banking app you want to download.
  • Once you find the app, select the option to install it.
  • Open the app when prompted to do so once it's finished installing.
  • Choose the option to sign up or create a new account and follow the prompts.
  • Log in with your unique user ID and password to start managing money.

Once you've got your mobile app set up, you can personalize your app experience. For example, you might choose to add an additional layer of security beyond a password, such as two-factor authentication or fingerprint ID.

You can also link external accounts to the app if you have that option. That could make transferring funds between accounts easier and you may be able to view all of your accounts in one place.

When you're done using the app, you can log out. The next time you open the app on your device, you'll just need to enter your user ID and password.

What can you do through a mobile banking app?

What you're able to do depends on the app. But generally speaking, some of the things you may be able to do through mobile banking include:

  • Paying bills.
  • Sending money to friends and family.
  • Receiving payments.
  • Transferring funds between accounts.
  • Depositing checks.
  • Setting and tracking savings goals.
  • Creating a monthly budget.
  • Applying for loans or lines of credit.
  • Opening new bank accounts.
  • Checking your credit scores.
  • Setting up alerts and notifications.
  • Viewing and downloading statements or tax documents.
  • Updating your address, email, or phone number.

If you're looking for the best mobile banking app to use, it helps to compare the full range of features offered. It's also important to look at what you might pay to use the app as some may charge fees for access.

TIME Stamp: Mobile banking can save time, money

Mobile banking has changed how people manage their money in a big way. It's worth considering if you're not taking advantage of its features yet. There are lots of apps to choose from, so it's a good idea to take your time and shop around. Start with your current bank's mobile app, then cast the net wider to include other mobile banking options.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Is online banking safe?

While there are always security concerns surrounding online access to financial accounts, online and mobile banking are safe, by and large. Banks and other financial institutions, as well as fintech platforms, can implement numerous security and safety features that are designed to protect their customers' personal and financial information. Just follow commonsense security rules, such as not banking on public wi-fi networks and using dual-factor authentication.

Do I have to pay for using a mobile banking app?

Typically no. However, some apps, such as Lili, might require you to pay a monthly fee for access, while others might charge fees when you use certain features of the app. For example, if you want to use your bank's mobile app to send a wire transfer, you might pay a wire transfer fee.

What is meant by MPIN?

In banking, MPIN stands for “mobile personal identification number.” This is a four- or six-digit number that must be entered when using a mobile banking app in order to complete banking transactions. MPIN is a term that's more frequently used in international banking.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

What Is Mobile Banking? (2024)


What is mobile banking and how it works? ›

What Is Mobile Banking? Mobile banking is the act of making financial transactions on a mobile device (cell phone, tablet, etc.). This activity can be as simple as a bank sending fraud or usage activity to a client's cell phone or as complex as a client paying bills or sending money abroad.

What is difference between online banking and mobile banking? ›

The biggest difference between the two is their functionality. Internet Banking allows you to conduct online transactions through your PC or laptop and an internet connection. On the other hand, mobile banking can be done with or without internet. Many banks nowadays have their mobile apps for mobile banking.

Why do people use mobile banking? ›

Mobile banking offers expense tracking, automated savings, account access for those who might not have a branch nearby and more to aid in your finances.

What is the difference between digital and mobile banking? ›

Functionality. Digital Banking allows you to perform banking through multiple avenues like your desktop computer, tablet, laptop, etc., whereas Mobile Banking is only accomplished via mobile devices. Plus, you can conduct mobile Banking with the internet via banking apps or without the internet via SMS.

Is it safe to do mobile banking? ›

Is Mobile Banking Safe on iPhone / Android Phone? Mobile banking can be safe on both iPhone and Android phones, it has built-in security features, regular security updates to protect you against malware or unauthorized access but it also has potential risks depending on how informed you are.

Which is safer online or mobile banking? ›

Banking apps can be safer than using an online banking portal due to biometric-enabled login options for your phone and the app itself. Your face, your fingerprint and your phone are a lot harder to hack than your username and password.

Are there any disadvantages to online on mobile banking? ›

Are there disadvantages of online banking? Online banking does have some potential disadvantages. These include a lack of face-to-face customer support, cash deposit services and a risk of technology failures or security breaches.

How do you stay safe on online and mobile banking? ›

7 Online Banking Safety Tips You Need To Know
  1. Never use unsecured public WiFi. ...
  2. Don't save logins. ...
  3. Use passphrases instead of passwords. ...
  4. Keep up on updates. ...
  5. Never click on email links. ...
  6. Check your account often from a safe location. ...
  7. Use a unique username.

Why do people not use mobile banking? ›

And there are budget-conscious people who monitor their data usage very closely, which can be a reason that people avoid mobile banking. They simply don't need it: A 2015 survey found that 87.9 percent of U.S. adults did not use mobile banking because they felt their banking needs were being met without it.

Who uses mobile banking? ›

Mobile banking usage statistics

Further, a massive 97% of millennials indicated that they use mobile banking. Mobile banking is not solely for younger generations, however, as 91% of Gen Xers and 79% of baby boomers also reported seeing the benefits of these services.

Should I use a mobile banking app? ›

Cybersecurity experts say mobile banking is safe, but urge consumers to take certain precautions. “If you download the mobile app from a secure store, that is just as safe as visiting a bank branch,” says Paul Benda, senior vice president for operational risk and cybersecurity at American Bankers Association.

Is it safe to do online banking? ›

If they're FDIC-insured, online banks are as safe as traditional brick-and-mortar banks in many ways. You can also take steps as a consumer to ensure your account is as protected as possible when banking online, whether you bank with a brick-and-mortar or an online bank, also called a direct or digital bank.

What is the difference between mobile banking and mobile payment? ›

Mobile Money lets you send and receive money with the help of a mobile phone and the internet, while Mobile Banking allows you to carry out banking related transactions or transfers through a bank app.

Why do banks send SMS to your phone? ›

It may also be an alert that some payment is due, an amount has been credited to the customer's account or that an e-statement is ready to be downloaded. Another type of push message is one-time password (OTPs). OTPs are the latest tool used by financial institutions to combat cyber fraud.

What is required for mobile banking? ›

The registration process is followed by activation, and this includes creating a mobile banking personal identification number (MPIN) — a four to six digit passcode required to access the banking account via mobile banking app. Once the MPIN is set up, you can proceed to login to access your banking account.

What are the requirements for mobile banking? ›

However, here are some common requirements for a mobile banking app: Money transfers, card management, personalization, QR code scanner, online payments, automatic bill payments, waller integration, safe passwords, user data privacy, security certificates, and secure authentication.

What are the pros and cons of mobile banking? ›

What are the advantages and disadvantages of mobile banking. The advantages of mobile banking include 24/7 access to funds, convenient way of paying bills, taxes, and loans. The top disadvantage of mobile banking is potential security risks, tech issues, and extra charges for services.

How to use mobile banking safely? ›

How to use mobile banking safely
  1. Don't lose your phone. ...
  2. Use the official banking app, not the browser. ...
  3. Don't just follow any link you see. ...
  4. Don't use mobile banking on public Wi-Fi. ...
  5. Use strong passwords and 2FA. ...
  6. Use antivirus software with malware and phishing protection. ...
  7. Keep your software up to date.
Dec 20, 2023

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Prof. Nancy Dach

Last Updated:

Views: 5459

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (77 voted)

Reviews: 84% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Prof. Nancy Dach

Birthday: 1993-08-23

Address: 569 Waelchi Ports, South Blainebury, LA 11589

Phone: +9958996486049

Job: Sales Manager

Hobby: Web surfing, Scuba diving, Mountaineering, Writing, Sailing, Dance, Blacksmithing

Introduction: My name is Prof. Nancy Dach, I am a lively, joyous, courageous, lovely, tender, charming, open person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.