Ever since the internet has taken over the world, the banking industry has undergone a major shift. Before the internet was so popular for carrying out banking transactions, people had to go the bank, stand in long queues and then wait for their turns even if they only wanted to check their account balance, withdraw cash or transfer money. But now they no longer need to visit a bank to carry out different kinds of banking transactions since they can use internet banking or mobile banking facilities.
Mobile banking has simplified the lives of many people and given them the option to send money, receive money, check account balance, pay bills, etc. using their mobile phones. And the best part is that banks offer mobile banking services for free.
Types of Mobile Banking Services
Banks provide mobile banking services to their clients in the ways listed here:
- Mobile Banking over Wireless Application Protocol (WAP)
- Mobile Banking over SMS (also known as SMS Banking)
- Mobile Banking over Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD)
These mobile banking services have been discussed in detail here:
Mobile Banking over WAP
The customers can download the mobile application of the concerned bank on their smartphones and then use it to avail various services provided by the bank. They need to register for mobile banking separately and receive their login credentials to use mobile banking applications, simply known as mobile apps. Most banks provide mobile apps for iOS and Android devices.
Different banks offer mobile apps to their customers to help them carry out common banking transactions conveniently. Some banks offer different mobile apps for different banking services. For instance, the bank may offer an e-Passbook app that only serves the purpose of account balance check since the app acts like a digital passbook and there is another mobile app for other services such as funds transfer, bill payment, and more in addition to balance check. The customers can choose to download one or more apps provided by the bank to avail mobile banking services. Some of the major mobile banking services have been mentioned here:
- Account Access: Customers can easily access their bank account using their smartphones by downloading the mobile banking All they need is to use their User ID and password to access their accounts. They can then carry out different banking transactions instantly.
- Balance Enquiry: One of the main reasons why people used to visit the bank was to keep their passbooks updated so that they always knew their current balance. When the balance enquiry service was offered through ATM, people started using it instead of visiting the bank. Now, it is even more convenient to check account balance using the mobile banking
- e-Passbook: Some banks offer a separate digital passbook mobile app that customers can download to check their previous transactions and the latest account balance while others just have this service as a part of their main mobile banking There is no need to visit a bank or ATM for balance enquiry or account statement.
- Account Statement: If you want to check your bank account statement, you no longer need to go to the bank or ATM since you can get the statement on the mobile app of your bank. Since there are only a few free ATM transactions available to everyone these days, it is better to avail them only for cash withdrawal; account balance or account statement should be checked using the mobile app. You can also download your account statement in PDF format and save it on your phone.
- Fund Transfer: If internet banking and mobile banking have made the lives of people any easier, it is mainly because of this service. People can now transfer money from their bank account to an account in their own bank or another bank easily. They may have to pay a nominal charge to carry out interbank transfers but intra-bank transfers are usually free. IMPS, NEFT or RTGS transactions can also be carried out easily using mobile apps.
- Bill Payment: Mobile banking has made it easy to pay your mobile, credit card or utility bills. You can even schedule payments on a certain day of the month so that you do not have to worry about the payments. There is no need to stand in long queues to pay your phone bills, credit card bills, etc.
- Branch Locator: If you are in a new city or area, you may need to find a branch of your bank then you can easily use the mobile banking app to find it. Most banks have a ‘Branch Locator’ that you can use to find the nearest branch.
- ATM Locator: When you are in a new city or area, you might want to withdraw cash from an ATM. The easiest way to find an ATM of your bank is to open your mobile banking app and go to the “ATM Locator.” You will be able to find the address and exact location of the ATM within your vicinity.
- Requests: There is no need to visit the bank to request a cheque book, new debit card, credit card, duplicate debit card, etc. since you can do so easily using the mobile app. Most banks also offer the service to hotlist or block a debit or credit card in the case of loss or theft.
Mobile Banking over SMS
Most banks offer mobile banking services over SMS. The customers need to sign up for this service, known as SMS Banking, by registering their mobile number. Then, they can send SMS to the bank to inquire about their account balance, check the mini account statement, etc. The bank then replies with an SMS that contains the information requested by the customer.
The customers do not need to own a smartphone or internet access to avail SMS banking services. Banks have a specific phone number registered and an SMS format that the customers need to follow to avail of this service.
For instance, to check the available balance in their account, they may have to send an SMS in the format: AVAIL BAL XXXX where XXXX is the last 4 digits of the account number. The bank replies with an SMS with the current available balance in the account.
It is important to note here that the mobile number registered with the bank and the one you use to send the SMS needs to be same to avail this service.
Mobile Banking over USSD
Banks offer mobile banking over USSD service to people who do not own a smartphone or have access to the internet. They can simply use USSD codes provided by the banks to avail banking services. The customers dial a prefix code and click send. Then, they receive a menu containing the banking services such as balance enquiry, mini account statement, etc. that they can avail using their phone. This service is quite popular in rural areas where most people do not own smartphones and do not have access to the internet.
Mobile Banking Features & Benefits
There are plenty of reasons why mobile banking has gained so much popularity ever since it was introduced in India. Here are a few features and benefits of mobile banking:
- One of the main benefits of mobile banking is the convenience of having banking services at your fingertips. There is no need to go to a bank or ATM and wait for the bank to open in order to check your account balance, transfer money, pay your bills or even see your account statement. You can do it all using your mobile phone. Fund transfer transactions may complete when the banks are open but you can check your account balance or get account statement irrespective of the time or day.
- Banks know that everyone does not have access to the internet and that is why they offer mobile banking services to their customers over SMS and USSD. People who own smartphones and have access to the internet can download and use the bank’s mobile apps while others can use the mobile banking SMS and USSD services. The customers only need to use the right SMS format to avail SMS banking services and right prefix for USSD services.
- Your bank account and your personal details are totally safe if you use mobile banking The bank will give you a set of login credentials which you can use to sign into your account and carry out the transactions. These login credentials are passed on to you securely and since you are the only one who knows your login ID and password, your account is always safe. Most banks allow you to enable two-step verification where you can only carry out banking transactions if you enter the One-Time Password (OTP) sent to your registered mobile number.
- Most people want to avail mobile banking services but think that it will cost them a lot. However, they will be delighted to find out that banks offer these services for free. You do not need to pay any extra charges to register for mobile banking Unlike ATM transactions where you get a limited number of free transactions, you can check your account statements, balance or pay your bills as many times as you want without paying any charges. After the implementation of GST, you only have to pay a nominal charge to transfer funds or pay your bills.