Banking technology has had to keep up with customers whose lives are increasingly demanding. While online banking has been around for quite a few years compared to mobile banking, many people assume that they refer to the same thing – the two are closely related, but there are some distinct differences between them.


Online Banking

Online banking refers to any banking transaction that can be conducted over the internet, generally through a bank’s website under a private profile, and with a desktop or laptop computer. These transactions include services traditionally offered at local branches without having to go to one. Online banking is generally defined as having the following characteristics:

  • Financial transactions are conducted over the internet through a bank’s secure website.
  • The bank may have physical branch locations or it may exist only online.
  • The user must register with the financial institution online and create a login ID and password.

Customers can perform financial transactions while banking online, like paying bills or transferring money from one account to another. Other basic activities include:

  • Viewing account balances at any time of day
  • Viewing or printing statements
  • Viewing images of checks
  • Applying for loans or credit cards

In essence, a customer can do almost any activity online that he or she would be able to do in person when visiting a branch.

Mobile Banking

Mobile banking allows you to perform many of the same activities as online banking using a smartphone or tablet instead of a desktop computer. However, simply accessing the bank’s website on a mobile device is not the only method of mobile banking. Mobile banking’s versatility includes:

  • Logging into a bank’s mobile website
  • Using a mobile banking app
  • Text message (SMS) banking

While more banks are making their sites easier to use on mobile devices, mobile banking is more commonly associated with accessing your accounts through an app. Last year, mobile banking apps were used on 52% of smartphones in the US, according to a consumer and mobile financial services report by the Federal Reserve.

Apps can offer a wide range of services that are not limited to account access and include the following:

  • Making mobile check deposits
  • Transferring money
  • Paying Bills
  • Locating ATMs

Mobile and online banking provides convenience to customers who want to manage their finances while on-the-go; both options allow a person to conduct financial business from outside a banking facility. Customers interested in using either method of doing business should learn about both their bank’s mobile banking app and online banking website to better manage their finances.

Discover Bank, Member FDIC

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