The banking industry underwent a major shift with the advent of the internet. Gone are the days when we stood in long queues in banks to transfer funds, check account balances, apply for a debit/credit card, etc. We can do all bank related work wherever we are and whenever we want with the help of Internet Banking and Mobile Banking.
With the advent of Mobile Banking, the lives of many people became easy as they can send/receive money, pay bills, check account balance, etc. using their mobile phones. And the best part of both internet and mobile banking is that they offer these services for free.
Almost all the banks these days provide mobile banking services to their customers in the ways listed here:
Mobile Banking over SMS (also known as SMS Banking)
Mobile Banking over Wireless Application Protocol (WAP)
Mobile Banking over Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD)
Let us discuss these mobile banking services in detail.
In simple terms, it refers to Mobile Banking through an application. Customers can simply download the mobile application of a concerned bank on their smartphones and enjoy all the services provided by the bank. Almost all banks provide mobile applications for Android and iOS devices. In order to use mobile banking, you must register separately and receive the login credentials. You can get these login credentials by applying for mobile banking at the bank, through SMS, or through internet banking.
Banks, these days, offer mobile applications to customers to make banking services simple. They may offer different applications for different services, such as - if you are someone wanting to know your account balance, you can just download the e-passbook app (a digital passbook) that serves your purpose. In a similar way, there are apps for bill payment, funds transfer, etc. The customers, based on their needs, can download one or more apps provided by the bank and avail mobile banking services. Here’s the list of the major mobile banking services:
Balance Inquiry: It is one of the main purposes to download the mobile app. In the beginning, customers used to visit banks to inquire about their account balance, which was quite a tiresome process. Later, this facility was introduced in the ATMs, and people started using ATMs instead of visiting the banks. And now, such facilities are available at the tip of our fingers on our mobile phones.
Account Access: You can simply access your account by downloading the bank application on your smartphone. All you need for accessing your account is a user ID and password. You can log in using these credentials and then use the services you need.
e-Passbook: There is no need for you to visit a bank or ATM for an account statement/balance inquiry. Many banks offer a separate e-passbook app that customers can download to check previous transactions and the latest account balance, while others can just have this service as a part of the main mobile banking.
Account Statement: In the beginning, the account statements could be obtained only by visiting the banks. So, customers used to stand in long queues to get the statements. Later on, it was made available in the ATMs. But as the transactions are limited in ATMs, checking your account statement could cost you one transaction. So, it is better to use ATMs for withdrawals. Now, you can check your account statement in your mobile application instantly. Also, you can download and save your account statement in PDF format on your phone.
Funds Transfer: Almost all customers use internet banking and mobile banking for transferring funds. This service has made the lives of people easier. Customers can transfer money from their bank account to another account easily with this service. Intra-bank transfers are usually free, but inter-bank transfers sometimes have nominal charges. You can transfer funds using IMPS, NEFT or RTGS easily through your mobile app.
Bill Payment: You have the facility of paying your monthly mobile bills, credit card payments and utility bills by simply sitting at your home. Also, you have the option to schedule payments on a certain day of the month so that there is no need for you to worry about the payments.
Branch Locator: If you want to find a branch of your bank in a new city or area, you can easily locate it using the mobile application. Most of the banks have ‘Branch Locator,’ to help customers find the nearest branch.
ATM Locator: If you want to find an ATM of your bank in a new city or area, you can easily locate it using the application. Most of the banks have ‘ATM Locators’ that help you find out the address and exact location of the ATM in your vicinity.
Requests: There is no need to visit the bank to request for a new/duplicate debit card, checkbook, credit card, etc. since it is easily available in the mobile app. Also, many banks offer the service to block a debit/credit card in the case of loss or theft.
Most banks offer mobile banking services over SMS. Customers need to sign up for this service, known as SMS Banking, by registering their mobile number with the bank. Then, they can send SMS to the bank to inquire about their account balance, receive a mini account statement, and even transfer limited amounts of funds. After sending the SMS, you'll receive an SMS from the bank containing the information requested by the customer.
So, in SMS banking, there is no need for the customers to have a smartphone or internet access to avail of this service. There is a specific SMS format for each service in each bank, and you must follow those to get the required information.
For instance, to check the available balance in your account, type BAL XXXX (here, XXXX is the last four digits of your account number) and send it to the designated number. After the bank receives this SMS, it replies with an SMS stating the current available balance in your account.
Make sure that you are sending the SMS with the registered mobile number, else you cannot avail this service.
Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) service is provided by the banks to those people who do not have a smartphone or access to the internet. The customers can use the USSD codes provided by the banks to use banking services. Customers are supposed to dial a prefix code and click on ‘send’ and then they receive a menu containing the banking services such as balance inquiry, mini statement, etc. that can be availed using their phone. This service is quite prevalent in rural areas where most of the people have neither smartphones nor access to the internet.
Ever since mobile banking was introduced in India, it has gained a lot of popularity due to its features. Here is a list of popular mobile banking features:
The main benefit of mobile banking is that the convenience of having almost all the banking services at your fingertips. Checking your account balance/statement, transferring money, paying your bills can be done using your mobile phone. Of course, transactions may be completed when the banks are open, but several services such as checking your account balance or getting the account statement irrespective of the time/day.
Banks know that not everyone has access to the internet, and hence banks offer mobile banking services to their customers over USSD and SMS. People who do not have smartphones can use mobile banking SMS and USSD services. The only concern is that the customers need to use the right SMS format and the registered mobile number to avail of SMS banking services and the right code for USSD services.
It is totally safe to use mobile banking as the bank gives you a set of login credentials that you can use to sign into your account, change the credentials to something of your preference and then carry out your transactions. You are not supposed to reveal your login credentials to anyone - not even the bank. The transactions will be done only if you enter the One-Time Password (OTP) sent to your registered mobile number.
Most of the customers think that using mobile banking services may cost them a lot. However, they should be happy to find out that banks offer these services for free. There is no need to pay any extra charges to avail of mobile banking services. These services are not limited like ATM transactions - you can check your balance, account statements, transfer funds or pay your bills as many times as you want, yet you'll not be charged. You may have to pay a nominal charge for few services.