Mobile Banking Review: Online Banking With Your Cell Phone

October 20, 2008

I’m convinced that someday we will be able to perform every task imaginable on our cell phones. Apple is getting close, but there are still some functions you can’t perform in your every day life with a cell phone. The break through of mobile banking technology on your cell phone is just another attempt at helping you perform another every day function from the convenience of your cell phone.

Do you need to transfer money from one account to another? Do you need to check your available balance before making a large purchase? Mobile banking is the way to go for those of you who don’t want to use the automated robot that answers the customer service number. In this article, I’ll highlight the major players in the mobile banking sector, costs associated with it, the capabilities available, and benefits/consequences of mobile banking.

Major Banks Offering Mobile Banking

Which is the best? I haven’t tested all of these, because it would require me to have a bank account at all of these institutions, which I don’t. I’ve tried Bank of America’s, and it’s pretty basic. For someone that has an iPhone or another phone that displays the internet as it appears on computers, simply logging into online banking is the easier way to go. Many of these banks listed offer a text message option that gives you basic information such as account balance and recent transactions made.


  • Quickly check account balances
  • Transfer funds from one account to another
  • Online bill pay
  • View recent transactions made
  • See if a check has cleared
  • Look for a nearby ATM

How To Sign Up

You must be signed up with the bank’s online banking system in order to use their mobile banking application. For instance, if you have a Bank of America online username and password, you would use the same user name and password to log in to the mobile banking application. Some banks such as Citi Bank and Wells Fargo require that you enroll in their mobile banking application online while signed into your online banking account. This is so you can also use the texting feature that gives you a basic snapshot of your account just by texting a certain number.

Benefits and Considerations

The benefits to mobile banking are obvious. Convenience is what we all strive for in life when it comes to technology. We love technology that makes our life easier. The fact that we can access our bank accounts, make money transfers, and pay bills all from the convenience of our cell phone is a beautiful thing. it might also prevent you from getting more bank fees, because you can constantly update yourself on your account balance.

The considerations of mobile banking are security, ease of use, and reliance on a cell phone signal.

Security – All of the major players claim to have high levels of security on their mobile devices, but the reality is that you are still transmitting financial information over the air waves. Plus, some of your financial information could be stored on your phone without you knowing it, and if you lose your phone, that could be trouble.

Information Week took a look at what some of the providers are doing to secure mobile banking:

Citibank: Transactions conducted using its Citi Mobile service are secured with 128-bit encryption, the same technology that’s used at The cell phone doesn’t store any bank account information.


Bank of America: Customers using its mobile banking service are protected by the bank’s SiteKey security technology, where they would have to answer a series of questions to access their account. Information remains encrypted when it’s sent between the phone and the bank.


AT&T: Once the carrier rolls out mobile devices with a pre-loaded banking application, which will include access to banks like Wachovia, BancorpSouth, Regions Financial, and SunTrust Banks, it will have the ability to remotely wipe the device clean of personal data if it’s lost or stolen.

Ease of Use – Some of these applications, including the ING mobile banking, have been criticized for not being easy to use. However, I am sure that many of these problems are solved when using a phone with a full QWERTY keyboard.

Signal Access – The other consideration is that many people might start relying on mobile banking as their sole way of managing their bank account, but cell phone signals are still not omnipresent. It’s tough to get a signal in tall buildings and there are many gaps in the country and in the mountains.

Costs Associated With Mobile Banking

As far as i know, the only costs associated with mobile banking are standard text messaging rates when using the text feature to retrieve basic information about your checking account or credit card. Enrolling in mobile banking is completely free for all of the major banks that offer the service.

Will it Catch On?

According to Bank of America, they have over 800,000 mobile banking customers and counting, yet they over 25 million customers total so that’s a small percentage. Most of their mobile banking users were people under the age of 35, which doesn’t surprise me, because Generation Y prefers doing all of their business over the internet.

Personally, I don’t use mobile banking, because I’m never far enough away from a computer throughout my day to need to do my banking business online. However, I don’t have a nice cell phone with mobile internet use. I’m sure if I had an iPhone or a Blackberry, I’d be more interested in using the feature. We want to hear from you. Do you use mobile banking? What was your experience with it?


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Erik Folgate is a husband and father living in Orlando who's been writing about money online for 6 years. Digging himself out of $20k of debt after college and his former experience in the insurance industry give him some useful insights into personal finance issues.

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15 Responses to Mobile Banking Review: Online Banking With Your Cell Phone

  • jh28Ruby

    You want order already written essays about this topic, at the writing service. You definately will need use plagiarism detector. Now, you don’t have to worry about getting a failing mark simply because you have been accused of plagiarizing someone else’s work.

  • Roberto I. Ortiz

    Personally I use another method of online banking. I can receive payments from my clients without having to accept paper checks or go to the bank to make a deposit. I don’t have to wait for checks to clear either. I know on the spot whether the check cleared or not. I use Mobile eCheck and it makes my business run a whole lot smoother.

  • Maria

    Hi Erik,

    Here in the US, Citibank has recently partnered with Obopay to offer mobile-to-mobile money transfer. It’s another added benefit … now if we could only get the signals to work everywhere!


  • Michael York

    I experienced a similar problem. When I bought my iPhone, I first checked with “Got Reception?” ( It’s a great resource for finding out where reception problems are most likely to occur BEFORE you lock yourself with a specific carrier.

  • Money Transfers

    Great information. It’s always good to know new ways to save money.

  • marci

    What’ll they think of next!

    No, I don’t use it. The cell signals are terrible here, and I wouldn’t anyway. I don’t even use online banking, except to check my balances.
    I live within 8 blocks of my banks and they are only a phone call away if I have a problem, so it’s just not worth my time (and worries) to even attempt to do it over the phone.

    Some ‘old dogs’ just like it the old fashioned way 🙂


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