Benefits of Mobile Banking: Key Features and Innovations

By Dan Miller · July 08, 2024 · 5 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right.

Benefits of Mobile Banking: Key Features and Innovations

Once upon a time, people had to fit their schedules around the limited “bankers’ hours” of bank branches. Today, it’s easy to take care of almost all of your banking needs without ever stepping inside a physical branch. As long as you have your smartphone and a wifi connection, you’re good to go.

The rise of mobile banking has boosted convenience without sacrificing the features you come to expect with a bank account. It’s no wonder that one recent survey found that 78% of respondents use their bank’s mobile app weekly and 62% said they couldn’t live without it. Read on to learn more about what’s available in the world of mobile banking — and what’s ahead.

Key Features of Mobile Banking Apps

Mobile banking apps offer tools that are increasingly becoming more personalized and sophisticated. While nearly every major bank allows customers to do some business on their website and/or through their mobile app, the exact mobile banking features will vary depending on the bank.

Here are a few of the most common mobile banking app features:

•   Account opening and closing

•   Bill pay, including instant payments

•   Mobile check deposit

•   ATM and branch locator

•   Low balance notifications

•   Transaction history

•   Budgeting and planning tools

•   Direct deposit

Check your bank or credit union’s app or website to see what mobile banking features are available to you.

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How Mobile Banking Simplifies Your Finances

Mobile banking can truly makes it much easier to monitor your checking account and other account balances so that you can keep your budget on track. You can quickly transfer money from your checking to your savings account to meet your financial goals, for example, or potentially automate that process so that a portion of your paycheck is funneled to your savings. You can also set up recurring payments to make sure bills are automatically handled on time.

As mentioned above, some mobile banking platforms include budgeting tools you can use to plan your spending and saving. Some also include the ability to save money in vaults, or subaccounts, that earmark funds for specific goals, such as vacations, holiday spending, or emergency funds.

Many banks have mobile banking account alerts that will notify you if your balance drops below a certain threshold. (This can help you avoid pricey overdraft fees.) You can generally customize these alerts, both by setting the amount that triggers the alert as well as indicating how you want to be notified.

You can also typically access options for sending money quickly to others, whether through an integrated payment platform or possibly via a wire transfer that is initiated on your phone.

There are, of course, both mobile banking pros and cons, but most people find that the benefits of using mobile banking apps outweigh any potential negatives.

Mobile Banking & Security

One of the biggest questions that many people have about mobile banking is whether mobile banking is safe.

It’s reassuring to know that most major banks and financial institutions follow state-of-the-art encryption, security, and fraud protection best practices, such as SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption and two-factor authentication (2FA). Additionally, many banks have a no-fault policy that says that you won’t be held liable for unauthorized transactions.

Also worth noting: Not all of the ways your account could be vulnerable are under the bank’s control. For example, hackers and scammers can be relentless when trying to gain access to checking and savings accounts. It’s smart to acquaint yourself with their latest ruses and follow best practices, like having a strong password that you don’t use for other sites as well as enabling 2FA.

Innovation & the Future of Mobile Banking

Mobile banking continues to evolve and innovate. Over the past decade, many people have adopted mobile wallets that allow them to store and access banking and credit card information instead of carrying around a physical card. You also are probably familiar with new forms of biometric authentication that are gaining ground, such as using facial or voice recognition to unlock your mobile account.

Cardless ATM withdrawals, which involve using your phone at a terminal vs. a card, is another new direction, and a growing number of banks are incorporating the latest AI and chatbot technologies to offer more personalized customer service while clients use their app.

Recommended: How Long Does It Take for a Mobile Deposit to Clear?

The Takeaway

Mobile banking provides convenience and security for bank users. It can simplify and speed up such banking tasks as depositing checks, bill payments, checking account balances, and receiving account alerts. The features of a mobile banking app will vary somewhat depending on the financial institution, so check with your bank or credit union to see what mobile banking features are available to you.

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What are the key features of mobile banking apps?

Most mobile banking apps have a core set of features, such as account management, bill pay, account alerts, and mobile check deposits. Some banks may offer additional features, such as dashboards that track your earnings, spending, and savings, as well as vault bank accounts, which allow users to bucket their money into subaccounts.

How does mobile banking make saving easier?

Mobile banking makes saving easier in a number of different ways. You’re able to have more insight into your finances just by glancing at your smartphone. You can also set up automatic transfers from checking to savings on payday and often track your spending via the app’s dashboard. Establishing low balance alerts can also help you avoid pricey overdraft fees, which is another way to save money.

What security measures are in place with mobile banking?

Most major banks use industry-standard security best practices involving encryption, continuous authentication, and other features. It’s also wise to follow such security measures as not reusing your password, regularly monitoring your account, and setting up 2FA on your account.

How does mobile banking offer clarity about financial data?

Mobile banking lets you check your account balances, allowing you to get a better picture of your overall financial health, anytime and anywhere. Many mobile banking apps also allow you to track your spending and will alert you of upcoming payments that are due, which can also offer greater control and clarity.

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As an alternative to direct deposit, SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

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