You’re used to doing everything on the go, thanks to smartphones. But do you conduct banking on your phone? Do you consider it a convenient way to avoid long lines and annoying automated phone systems, or a potential threat to your security?
Citibank reported, via a 2018 press release, that mobile banking is the third most common app type on people’s phones (after social media and weather apps). And Statista notes that 57 million people are using some kind of mobile banking. With the ability to get alerts on the run, downloading your bank’s app may seem like a good idea. But security and smishing scams may be holding you back from taking the plunge. We’ll help you weigh the pros and cons so you can make an informed decision.
Advantages of Mobile Banking
If you take a few precautions, mobile banking can save you time and hassles.
Check Balances on the Run
If you’re on the go and need to make a purchase, you can automatically check your account balances. This comes in handy if it’s a pricier purchase and you aren’t sure if you have enough funds to complete the purchase.
Because your app is connected to your smartphone, you can opt-in for text messages or app notifications. The alerts can be for any reason, such as news about rewards and points, you’ve overdrawn your account, or your account balances have reached a certain amount of money.
Help Find In-Network ATMs
Using your own bank’s ATMs is important because they won’t charge you a fee. If you use another bank’s ATMs, they’ll charge you a small fee. But with mobile banking, the app can show you where your bank’s ATMs are, saving you a little money.
Deposit Checks Remotely
A lot of the big banks make it easy to deposit checks when you use the app. To do this, make sure your check is endorsed on the back. Then open your app and follow the instructions. If you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to stop by the actual bank or ATM, it’s an easy way to deposit your money. Just be sure to dispose of the check properly once it’s in your account.
Can Pay Bills Automatically
Is there anything scarier than realizing a bill is due the next day, and you haven’t paid it yet? Instead of racking up late fees, if you do mobile banking, you can log into your app and pay the bill automatically, eliminating the stress that comes along with late fees and not paying on time.
Disadvantages of Mobile Banking
Like everything, mobile banking brings downsides.
Security is the main disadvantage of mobile banking. You want your money to stay safe. Your bank should already encrypt your data to make sure everything is protected. The good news is, according to TechWalla, the majority of security experts say smartphone banking is safer than desktop or laptop banking. If your bank’s app offers two-factor authentication (like a password and a fingerprint or retina scan) take advantage of it. No one else has your fingerprint, making it harder for someone else to access your accounts. Some banks allow you to shut down services should your phone be stolen, preventing thieves from accessing data. Your bank wants to protect your money as much as you do, so they’ll have protections in place.
You’ve heard of phishing on your desktop computer and may have assumed you were safer on a smartphone. However, smishing (smartphone phishing) has been on the rise. In order to weed out actual correspondence with your bank versus a hacker, remember that they will never ask for your account information. And if you’re ever unsure, it’s best not to provide account details if you didn’t initiate something.
Technology isn’t perfect. Don’t let a technological fail be the reason you can’t pay a credit card bill or your mortgage. The ability to pay bills instantly is a significant advantage. But if technology fails, whether the app is down or your internet connection is faulty, can negatively affect you. And, if you accumulate too much debt from not paying on time, it can adversely affect your ability to retire early or your ability to get a mortgage.
While mobile banking allows you to make deposits, transfers, and check account balances, it doesn’t have a full range of services offered when compared to your actual bank. If your main reason for mobile banking is that you’ll never have to set foot in a real bank again, you’ll have to rethink your priorities.
While mobile banking has its perks, there are also significant drawbacks to mobile banking. Ultimately, maintaining control over your accounts is going to a major deciding factor in turning to mobile banking. Keeping a smart attitude and staying vigilant will make mobile banking work best for you.