Money IQ: What is Mobile Banking?

Money IQ
By MONIE BLUM

What is Mobile Banking? 

Mobile Banking is just what it sounds like, banking from a mobile device. Mobile banking allows customers to access their accounts anywhere, anytime, by texting their bank or credit union or by using their smart phone web browser. 

Most mobile banking products allow customers to check account balances, verify transaction history, set up and receive automatic alerts and transfer funds within a user’s accounts. For added convenience customers can typically locate branch offices and ATMs. 

Some banks or credit unions provide mobile banking by using an application that can be downloaded to your mobile device, while other banks will allow you to activate this service through their online banking program. 

In either case, this service is usually offered free of charge by most banks and credit unions.

You should know, mobile banking customers could incur fees from their mobile phone service provider and should check with their provider as it relates to text messaging. 

An unlimited text message plan is highly recommended if this service is going to be used frequently.

Do you need a special phone?

Almost every mobile phone on the market today supports text messaging. To use mobile banking, you may need to have your text messaging activated on your phone plan. 

Your phone must also support web browsing to access your account using a smart phone web browser. Remember to check with your mobile phone service provider to understand the fees for these services.

Is Mobile Banking Secure?

Mobile banking is as secure as any online banking service.  Personal information and account numbers are not sent to a mobile device and accounts are accessed using “nick-names.”

The only information that is stored on the mobile device is old text messages that do not contain confidential information, but may contain old balances. Typically money can only be transferred between a customer’s accounts or to previously authorized parties. 

For added confidence, you can password protect many mobile devices and enable an automatic screen-locking mechanism to lock your mobile device when it is not being used. 

As with any online banking service, criminals may try to obtain your information by sending you a text message or email under the pretense that it is coming from your bank or credit union. 

It is important to remember, a bank or credit union will never ask you to verify information in this manner and you should never respond to these text messages or emails. 

Check with your bank or credit union representative to understand their mobile banking capabilities and security features. 

What if your mobile phone is lost or stolen?

Statistically a person notices that their mobile phone is missing much sooner than they notice a missing wallet or credit card. If your phone is lost or stolen, you should contact your service provider right away. 

Most providers will allow you to suspend service, which suspends text messaging capabilities. Web-browsing capabilities, however, may still function. This is why you should never save passwords on your mobile phone. 

You should also notify your bank or credit union and have your mobile banking service suspended. 

Ask your bank or credit union representative about its mobile banking service. Mobile banking can be one more way to help you manage your busy life. 

Editor’s note: Monie Blum is Vice President of Operations, in Santa Fe and has been with LANB since 1995.

  • Look for Money IQ every Wednesday in the Los Alamos Daily Post.
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