Tamara here, AllClear ID Investigator. Financial institutions have been working for years to make banking more accessible and convenient for their members. It started with ATMs, then with Internet banking, and now mobile banking. Mobile banking is convenient in that with a phone that has the capabilities, starting with text transaction processing and now moving to online access. Let’s compare mobile banking versus Internet banking.

Mobile Banking

Mobile banking is just starting to arrive as an option to handle your finances. There are two types of transactions, a push transaction and a pull transaction.

A pull transaction is where the member initiates the transaction. One requests their balance, a funds transfer, or a transaction history request. The pull transaction is a two way notification, with a request from the member and a response from the financial institution. The push transaction is a one way notification, from the financial institution to the member.

Mobile banking can be used anywhere you take your device. Depending on what type of device is used, the options available to the member vary. Take a look at these:

First, there is the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system that can be used on any phone, even if it is not a mobile phone. It is the automated system you find when dialing the bank’s phone number. You can press a certain prompt for the option you want, and it navigates the menu to arrive at the final page. There are few items that can be accessed through this feature.

Second, there is Short Message Service (SMS). Essentially, text messaging. SMS is capable of handling both push and pull transactions. It also works on almost all mobile devices, and is cost effective. But a few drawbacks are limited in the number of characters in the message and are generically generated.

Third, there is the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) option. This is offered on smart phones and other more advanced devices. Being able to access the internet allows the user to visit the financial institution’s website. Because the screen on the device is small, the financial institution addresses that by adjusting their mobile site. That can lead to having to navigate through more clicks than what would be on a personal computer. Also, these types of devices are not enabled with anti-virus and firewall protection.

And last, there is the Mobile App. Banks create this application to be downloaded to the device in use. The app creates a reliable channel to access the accounts and perform more complex transactions. Though this option creates efficiency, the application may be only available to certain devices. And, again, the device itself is vulnerable to attack.

Online Banking

Online banking, from a personal computer, also has its pros and cons. One con is that the personal computer is stationary. Another is that the system itself may have a virus, malware, or a keylogger (a program that records the keystrokes on the system, often gaining usernames and passwords). But, ensuring that your personal computer is protected and safe, having access to the banks full website allows full access to the accounts.

There are many different advantages and disadvantages to both mobile and online banking. Online banking has been around a bit longer than mobile banking, and banks are constantly working on improving the options available to consumers. Consider the device you own, speak with your financial institution’s representative, and figure out which option works best for you.