Mobile banking lets you do a range of banking tasks without visiting a branch or logging onto a computer. We’ve rounded up the best mobile banking apps available today, so you can choose the one that’s right for you.
How did we choose the best mobile banking apps?
The best banks for mobile banking use the latest technology to help you better manage your finances. For our best list, we analyzed over 20 banks and focused on low-fee institutions with top-rated mobile apps that go above and beyond simply allowing you to manage transactions. That meant diving into factors like bank fees, accessibility, account perks and in-app features.
What’s changed in 2020?
For 2020, we added a list of the best mobile banking apps available today. All of our recommendations offer unique mobile app features that help you budget, save and track your money.
6 top banks for mobile banking
Ally Bank has a sleek mobile app that lets you remote deposit checks, transfer money, pay bills, find nearby ATMs and set debit card preferences. The app requires fingerprint or face authentication for extra security. Plus, those who use Ally Invest can manage their investments and their bank accounts all in one place.
No fees or minimum balance requirements. Ally doesn’t charge monthly fees and you can open an account with as little as $0.
Large ATM network. Withdraw cash for free at over 55,000 Allpoint ATMs nationwide. Plus, Ally reimburses up to $10 in non-network ATM fees a month.
Financial education and security. Ally offers free security software to its customers and has a comprehensive learning center to help you develop responsible money habits.
Difficult deposits and withdrawals. Ally doesn’t have any physical branches, so it’s difficult to deposit cash and savings accounts don’t come with an ATM card.
Limited product selection. Ally offers checking accounts, savings accounts, money markets and CDs, but you’ll typically only find one account option in each category.
With the Capital One mobile app, you can pay bills, monitor your credit, send and receive money through Zelle, remote deposit checks and get real-time notifications about your spending. Capital One also offers sophisticated savings tools that allow you to set, manage and track savings goals directly in the mobile app.
Complimentary access to CreditWise. Monitor your credit score for free and get actionable advice on how to improve it.
Extensive ATM network. With Capital One, you get free access to over 55,000 Capital One and Allpoint ATMs nationwide.
Expensive outbound wires. You’ll pay $40 for outbound wire transfers and you’ll need to fill out a Wire Request Form.
Low APYs on short-term CDs. Six month CDs have a 0.6% APY and eight-month CDs top out at 0.8% APY, which is lower than a savings account.
Monthly fees for business accounts. Most of Capital One’s bank accounts are free, but fees range from $15 to $35 for business accounts.
Chime keeps you informed with real-time transaction alerts and daily balance updates through its mobile app. You can connect your debit card to Apple Pay or Google Pay. Plus, you get access to standard features like remote check deposits, money transfers and more.
Low fees. Chime doesn’t have most of the annoying fees charged by other banks, such as minimum balance, monthly maintenance and foreign transaction fees.
Automatic savings tools. Chime automatically rounds up debit card purchases to the nearest whole dollar and sweeps the spare change into savings. Plus, you can opt in and have Chime transfer 10% of every paycheck to savings.
Two accounts in one. When you sign up for Chime, you get a checking and savings account to help you manage your money all in one place.
No 24/7 support. Chime’s mobile app is available 24/7, but customer service isn’t available at all times.
No overdraft protection. If you make a purchase that would bring your account balance below $0, Chime automatically declines it.
No joint accounts. If you’re looking to open a joint account with a family member or significant other, this isn’t the bank for you.
Discover has a top-rated mobile app that allows customers to mobile deposit checks, view and redeem rewards, locate an ATM and manage your debit card. If you have a Discover credit card or loan, you can also manage those in the mobile app.
No fees. With Discover, you won’t pay anything for monthly maintenance, incoming wire transfers, debit card replacements, insufficient funds, and checks.
Expensive wire transfers. Income wire transfers are free, but you’ll pay $30 for outgoing wire transfers.
The Simple mobile app has built-in budgeting and savings tools that help you manage your money on the go. You can block your debit card from your phone, deposit checks, send transfers and use third-party services like Square, Venmo and PayPal.
Competitive APYs. You’ll earn 1% APY on all account balances when you open a free Protected Goals Account.
Safe-to-Spend feature. Simple automatically deducts expenses, savings and transfers from your account balance to show how much money you can safely spend each month.
Fee-free. There are no fees for monthly maintenance, overdrafts, card replacements, minimum balances and more.
APY requirements. If you don’t open a Protected Goals Account, you’ll only earn 0.01% APY.
No bill pay. Simple used to offer an online bill pay service, but it no longer does.
No cash deposits. You’ll have to link an external bank account, use a third-party service like Venmo or get a money order to deposit cash in your account.
With PNC’s virtual wallet, you can track your expenses, manage budgeting categories, see upcoming due dates for bills and more. You can also use the app to make cardless payments and ATM withdrawals with your PNC debit card.
ATM reimbursements. Several of PNC’s checking accounts come with ATM refunds when you withdraw cash at non-network ATMs.
Sign-up bonuses. PNC offers sign-up bonuses pretty regularly for its Virtual Wallet accounts, giving you a jump start on your savings.
Low opening deposits. Most of its standard checking and savings accounts can be opened with as little as $25.
APYs aren’t the highest. Most of PNC’s interest rates are lower than the competition. Plus, some rates aren’t advertised online. Instead, you have to call customer service to find out what you’re eligible for.
Monthly fees. All of PNC’s checking accounts have monthly fees. But you can waive them when you meet a minimum direct deposit requirement or maintain a certain balance in your account.
All accounts aren’t available nationwide. PNC has a broad selection of accounts but not all are available nationwide. When you go to its website, you’ll need to type in your zip code to see which ones are offered in your area.
What is mobile banking?
Mobile banking is a system that lets the customer of a financial institution process transactions through an app on your smartphone or tablet. This is not to be confused with contactless payments, which use Near Field Communications (NFC) technology to allow you to use your phone to pay for things by tapping it near another device.
Mobile banking apps and features
Most major banks have a mobile app that allows their customers to access their accounts on the go. Here’s what the Big Four have to offer:
Set up account alerts to notify you if your balance dips too low
Find nearby Citibank branches and ATMs
Check your balance and search up to your last 150 transactions
Buy and sell ETFs, equities and mutual funds with your iPhone or Apple Watch
What are the advantages of mobile banking?
Save on time. Instead of going to a bank and waiting in line to talk to someone, you can check account balances, schedule and receive payments, transfer money and organize your accounts from anywhere.
Convenient for managing funds on-the-go. Do your banking at a time and place that suits you without having to worry about business hours.
Stay on top of your finances while traveling. Banking apps allow you to pay your bills, send and request money, and get help from anywhere in the world with Wi-Fi, regardless of whether or not there’s a branch nearby.
Security measures are built into the app. Generally, good mobile banking apps have a security guarantee or send you a SMS verification code you need to input to authorize a payment for added security. Some apps even have GPS capabilities to help figure out if someone other than you has your credit card.
Before you start mobile banking, here’s what you should look out for.
Security. Ensure that all your financial details are kept safe with authentication by having a user ID, password and PIN. Some banks let you log in with your fingerprint or face to keep you safe, but you need to have a phone that supports the technology.
Access to customer service. Banks have a lot of customers, so they need to able to produce a mobile banking infrastructure to handle large volumes of transactions at a time. Services should be available 24/7 and all systems should be working within the app.
May not be available. Some smaller banks don’t have mobile apps available. If you prefer to handle most of your finances from your phone, check to make sure an app is available before signing up for an account with a new bank.
Although there’s still a chance of having your security breached with mobile banking, it’s less likely to happen than it would with online banking. This is because you have a higher chance of downloading malicious software or navigating to a fake bank’s website when you use your web browser. The mobile app adds a layer of security to your banking experience and reduces your likelihood of falling for a phishing attack.
How to keep your information secure
Mobile phone apps can only do so much on their own to keep you secure, such as logging you out after a certain amount of inactivity or making you provide a password or SMS codes. Banking on a public Wi-Fi connection or leaving your phone unlocked when you’re logged in to a banking app leaves your account at risk. Even if you aren’t logged in, taking screenshots of your balance or keeping your passwords in a note app can let your information leak — to stay safe, keep your phone locked when it’s not in your hand.
Mobile banking is used in many parts of the world and can be a great tool if used properly and securely. You can check your account details from anywhere and get notifications when there’s suspicious activity on your account, helping you get more control of your finances. Before you commit to a new bank account, make sure to compare to get the best APY and features for your needs.
Frequently asked questions
Please contact your bank directly via telephone or by going to a branch.
Mobile apps are available from the iTunes app store or Google Play. Some mobile banks apps aren’t available through phones that operate on the Windows or Blackberry system, so it’s best to check with your bank.
Shirley Liu is Finder's global program manager. She was previously the publisher for banking and investments and has also written comparisons for energy, money transfers, Uber Eats and many other topics. Shirley has a Master of Commerce and a Bachelor of Media, Journalism and Communications from the University of New South Wales. She is passionate about helping people find the best deal for their needs.
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