Is Mobile Banking Right for You?
Are you considering the benefits of credit union mobile banking but not sure if it's the right fit for you? If you're still feeling the nostalgia of flip phones, mobile banking might not be your thing. But, if you're all about the internet accessibility of a smartphone, you could be ready to ditch those in-person branch visits.
Your local credit union is focused on providing the best tools and options available, from e-statements to on-the-go banking options. Mobile banking is optional, so why not try the latest technology and see if it’s easier for you? Of course, physical credit union branches will still be available if and when you need them.
What is Mobile Banking?
Mobile banking takes the most common daily banking activities and puts them on your phone. A mobile app with built-in security gives you access to your accounts, transaction histories, and more. Mobile banking allows you to skip the drive to your local financial institution.
Once you download the credit union mobile banking app to your smartphone, you can log in anytime from anywhere. When you want to view your account or perform a banking action, simply tap the app to open it. Then you can quickly check your latest transactions, make transfers between accounts, or even pay bills.
Pros of Mobile Banking
Being part of a tech-savvy generation means you have access to instant gratification more often than not. Credit union mobile banking is another way your smartphone can streamline your day-to-day and make your life easier.
Here are five things to consider when looking at the benefits of credit union mobile banking:
If you would like to bank on the go instead of visiting a location during business hours, mobile banking is ideal for you. This can also be true if you have trouble getting to a physical branch because of transportation or mobility issues. The convenience of the “bank anywhere, any time” mobile app means you can keep a mobile branch practically in your pocket.
2. Lower fees
Want to make a purchase, but most of your available cash is in the wrong account? Mobile banking lets you make the transfer before you complete a purchase that could overdraw one account, preventing an overdraft fee.
Mobile banking can also eliminate fees for things like paper statements, as you can view e-statements on your phone. If you need to print out your statement, you can just send it from your phone to a printer wirelessly or download your statement from your phone to a computer connected to a printer.
3. Easy access to your financial information
It can feel like forever when waiting for a deposit or payment to clear. Calling a helpline to check your balance can be frustrating and time-consuming. Wouldn't it be nice if your phone would just ping you when a transaction clears?
Mobile banking lets you check your balance with a tap, and you might even be able to set up mobile account alerts to automatically let you know when a deposit is made, or another transaction goes through.
4. Increased security measures
Worried about security? Mobile banking can be even safer than in-branch banking, assuming you take the proper precautions and your financial institution provides a secure mobile application.
Physical check-writing, in particular, can be highly vulnerable to fraud. When you make payments using your mobile device, every transaction is encrypted for your protection and that of your recipient.
5. Enhanced features
Depending on your credit union, mobile banking may offer a variety of other features that make your financial management process even more accessible. For example, some credit unions allow you to apply for a loan or a mortgage from the mobile app or to deposit checks using your smartphone camera.
Other credit unions give you access to peer-to-peer payment options, letting you instantly send money to a friend, babysitter, or dog walker with just their email address or phone number. So split the bill for dinner, pay your hairstylist, or cover your kid’s sports fees with no hassle.
Cons of Mobile Banking
Is online mobile right for you when it comes to banking? While the benefits above can be extremely attractive, you’re right to consider the possible complications as well.
Here are five considerations you should think about before signing up for credit union mobile banking:
1. Technical issues
Putting all your eggs in the mobile banking basket can become a nightmare if you encounter technical issues. For example, what happens if you drop your phone into the sink or the tub (or let’s be honest, the toilet)?
Be prepared for such possibilities by having a backup plan. Online banking using a laptop or desktop can be helpful if mobile banking isn’t available because your smartphone is on the fritz or the app goes down.
2. Security concerns
Every new technology, especially those related to finances, is immediately seen as a target and a challenge for hackers. Credit union mobile banking apps are no different.
If you use a mobile banking app, take precautions like refraining from using it on public Wi-Fi networks. Also, ensure you’re constantly updating your mobile app when prompted, as the updates could include security patches.
3. Lack of personal interaction
Visiting their credit union can be the highlight of their day for some people! If you know all the tellers at your local branch and enjoy chatting with other members while waiting in line, you might miss these features of physical banking by going mobile.
Of course, nothing says you can’t mix and match your banking habits depending on the day's needs. There are things you can’t do on mobile that you can do at a branch, and vice versa. You don’t have to pick one or the other.
4. Limited accessibility
Not all banking services may be available online. For example, suppose you need to wire or send money internationally. In that case, you'll probably still have to visit your local branch to authorize it, especially if it's for a large sum.
The same goes for finalizing a mortgage or personal loan; you might be able to start the application on your mobile device, but the final paperwork might require an in-person appearance.
5. Dependency on technology
If you don't have a smartphone that lets you download and use mobile apps, credit union mobile banking loses much of its appeal. The same goes if you have a lack of or intermittent access to the internet.
If you don't have a dependable internet connection or your phone is extremely outdated, you're better off sticking with visits to your closest credit union location. You can always upgrade later. Mobile banking isn't going anywhere.
Credit Unions and Mobile Banking
The benefits of credit union mobile banking are likely to outweigh the cons if you are technologically savvy, have a smartphone and reliable internet connectivity, don't love the idea of standing in line at a branch to do your banking, and want the convenience of doing most or all of your banking on the go. In addition, saving time and gas by conducting credit union transactions on your smartphone is a big plus for many now accustomed to online- and mobile-first services.
Even when considering the disadvantages of credit union mobile banking, don't eliminate the possibility of using a mobile banking app. If you're worried about technical issues or security, there are ways to keep your banking activity accessible and your smartphone secure. However, if you don't have a newer phone or your internet connection is spotty at best, mobile banking might become more of a hassle than it's worth.
Further Resources on Mobile Banking
Still trying to decide if mobile banking is right for you? Check out these additional resources:
- Follow best practices. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau informs people about mobile banking app security; for example, mobile users who want to deposit checks using their smartphone should keep the physical check in a safe, secure place until it clears, then shred the check.
- Keep it secure. The United States Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency provides tips on using mobile banking apps safely by implementing two-factor authentication and strong passwords.
- Separate truth from fiction. Tech company Cryptomathic points out the myths and realities of financial mobile app security in an easy-to-read infographic and points out that using such apps on jailbroken or rooted mobile devices can leave users wide open for unauthorized remote access and financial fraud.
Credit Union Banking Gives You Options
How, when, and where you bank is a personal decision. Time, transportation, and access are just a few things to consider. A credit union that offers mobile banking options gives you more choices. Even so, if you’re not quite ready to give up that sweet lollipop with an in-person deposit, use our Credit Union Locator to find a credit union near you.