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Mobile banking in Singapore
Pay bills, transfer funds and keep track of your finances through your mobile banking app.
Mobile banking puts banking features and your finances right at your fingertips — without having to visit a branch or log onto a computer.
Learn more about mobile banking and how it can benefit you in this guide.
What's in this guide?
- What is a mobile banking?
- Importance of mobile banking
- How does mobile banking work?
- What features come with mobile banking?
- Mobile banking vs Online banking
- Is mobile banking secure?
- Safety tips
- Banks with mobile banking
- Compare transaction accounts with mobile banking
- What are the benefits of mobile banking?
- Are there any caveats to look out for?
What is a mobile banking?
By definition, mobile banking refers to any banking activities conducted on a mobile device (e.g. cell phones, tablets and other handheld devices). Examples of banking features you can access from mobile banking apps include bill payments, money transfers or receiving text alerts from the bank.
This is not to be confused with contactless payments, which uses Near Field Communications (NFC) technology to allow you to use your smartphone (in place of a debit or credit card) to pay for goods and services by tapping it near another device.
Mobile banking is provided by most traditional and digital banks
Importance of mobile banking
To keep up with the increasing demands of today’s fast-paced society, banking technology has evolved tremendously over the years.
With online and mobile banking, customers can now access their account and banking features 24/7, 365 days a year without having to personally visit bank branches or endure long queues. This way, banks can also process much more service requests at lower operational costs, including account opening, card applications and schedule payments.
On top of these benefits, both businesses and retail customers can also enjoy convenient payment processing directly from their phone or UEN numbers through electronic fund transfer service such as PayNow.
How does mobile banking work?
In the past, mobile banking was only restricted to text-based commands where you can send an SMS to conduct basic activities such as activating your card, activating it for overseas use etc. With the introduction of robust mobile applications, you can now access a wide range of features on your handheld device with just a few clicks.
Some typical features include:
- View account balance and transaction history
- Local and overseas funds transfer
- Bill payments and direct debit setup
- Monitor investments
To access mobile banking, you’ll first need to download the app that corresponds with your bank. Most banks will provide an official download link on their website. After you’ve downloaded the app, follow the prompts to set up your account. You may also receive an SMS to confirm your identity.
If you encounter any problems with the set up, contact your bank or head down to a branch for assistance. Once you’re done setting it up, you’ll be able to perform most banking services as you would on a computer.
What features come with mobile banking?
Mobile banking allows customers to conduct almost any banking activity on-the-go, which include (but are not limited to):
- Account management. View your account balances, card statements, transaction history, loans, term deposits or even insurance policies.
- Transactions. Transfer funds to your other accounts, third parties or make payments for your purchases at the bank’s partner merchants.
- Investments. Manage or get a real-time view of your investment portfolios. Some banks may also allow you to purchase investment products directly from their mobile app.
- Support services. Get in contact with customer support or check on the status for your applications (e.g. loan, credit increase, card requests and more). You can also locate ATMs and bank branches directly from the app.
- Promotions. View the latest promotion and perks offered by the bank.
Mobile banking vs Online banking
Both mobile and online banking have a lot in common, such as utilising the internet to access your accounts or services that were traditionally offered in branch without having to visit one. Although most banks tend to offer similar services on both platforms, there’re some distinct differences between them.
Here’s an overview of both banking platforms:
|Mobile banking||Online banking|
|Definition||Refers to any banking activities conducted on a mobile device, usually through a specially-designed mobile app.||Refers to any banking transaction conducted over the internet and through a bank’s website, usually with a desktop or laptop computer.|
|Key Difference||Mobile apps are typically designed to be streamlined for user-friendliness. Complicated banking activities may only be available through online banking or in-branch.||Bank services are usually launched on the bank’s Internet banking platform earlier than its mobile app, so you’d usually be able to access more comprehensive features and options compared to mobile banking.|
Is mobile banking secure?
According to Bankrate.com, mobile banking apps are as secure as having a bank branch in your pocket. These apps are backed by high-end encryption technologies and advanced infrastructure, along with the safety measures designed within smartphones.
To prevent your confidential information from being compromised, mobile banking apps will generally include the following security features:
- Data encryption. Encryption protocols such as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology are often a mandatory feature that encrypts the data that transits between the app and server. This prevents confidential information such as login credentials from being accessed by third-parties.
- Automatic logout. You can typically log in to your account from only one device at a time. Also, if your app has been idle for some time, it’ll automatically trigger a session timeout.
- Two-factor authorisation. 2FA helps prevent unauthorised access to your account by requiring double login checkpoints to complete the login process. This is usually in the form of an additional One-Time Password (OTP) that’ll be sent to you via SMS or email.
- Biometric authentication. Most smartphones are equipped with various types of biometric authentication, including fingerprint verification, facial mapping and voice recognition.
- Security solutions. Servers and information systems are usually protected by intrusion detection, anti-malware systems and firewalls.
- Spend limit. You’ll be able to set an upper limit on daily or monthly transactions to mitigates risk in case of a security breach.
Mobile banking is both convenient and safe, but here are some extra precautions you should take to protect your information:
- Create unique passwords with a combination of numbers, symbols, uppercase and lowercase letters.
- Change your password often
- Never share your password, PIN, account information with anyone
- Avoid automatic password save on your phone
- Setup two-factor authentication, Face ID or touch verification
- Register for SMS and online alerts all banking activities
- Make sure the app is updated to its latest version
- Log out of the app every time you’re done using it
- Avoid logging into your mobile banking app when you’re connected on public Wifi
- Clear your browser cache regularly
- Look out for fake apps that may look like your bank’s mobile app
- Ensure that you’re connected to a secure website by checking for the ‘https’ and ‘secure lock’ icon in the URL bar
- Keep your device safe and make sure that you’ll be able to erase all phone data immediately if it’s lost
Banks with mobile banking
Most local and foreign banks in Singapore offer mobile banking apps for their customers, such as:
- Standard Chartered Bank
- Bank of China (BOC)
- CIMB Bank
- ICBC Singapore
- ICICI Singapore
- RHB Singapore
Compare transaction accounts with mobile banking
What are the benefits of mobile banking?
The key advantage to mobile banking is the ability to access your account anytime and anywhere. But that’s not all.
Among the many perks of on-the-go banking are:
- Quick installation. Simply download your bank’s free mobile app onto your handheld device and you’re ready to go.
- Round-the-clock accessibility. Unlike bank branches which have specific operating days and hours, you can access your account 24/7 with mobile banking. Compared to accessing the bank’s online platform, you’re more likely to have access from your smartphone than a computer at all times.
- Hassle-free. You’ll no longer need to travel to a physical branch or endure long queues to conduct basic banking activities.
- Lower fees. With digitalisation, banks have fewer overheads to upkeep (e.g. maintaining longer operating hours at bank branches or hiring extra bank staff to handle banking activities manually) and these cost savings can be translated into lower banking fees for its customers.
- Instant alerts. Stay informed of any bank announcements, suspicious logins or transactions conducted from your account.
- Go green. Since you can conduct most banking activities online or from your mobile, there’ll be fewer paper forms to fill and statements to discard.
Are there any caveats to look out for?
Some of the challenges associated with mobile banking include:
- Accessibility. The compatibility of the bank’s mobile app depends on the type of handset being used.
- Security concerns. Vulnerabilities and security threats are usually some of the biggest disadvantages of mobile banking. However, bank apps are generally equipped with a host of security measures to prevent your account from getting compromised.
- Limited range of capabilities. Some advanced banking features may not be available on mobile yet.
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