Mobile and Online Banking: Are They Different?

October 8, 2020

Online banking was first launched in the UK in 1982 and a year later it was adopted in the USA. However, this huge technological shift did not make a greater impact until the late 1990s to early 2000s when 80% of US banks began to tout its effectiveness. Internet banking is simply the provision of banking services over the internet while mobile banking is the use of a smartphone or tablet to perform online transactions. The mobile banking system was pioneered back in the year 2004 and by May 2011, the first fully functional banking app was developed by the Royal Bank of Scotland.

While they may appear similar, these digital banking services have some differences, otherwise, your local bank would give you the same login credentials for both services.

  • Access

Net or online banking is accessed using a computer, laptop or phone without having to download any particular software or program. This means that any browser will get you to the banking website of your bank. With mobile banking, you can transact through a mobile app, over SMS or over USSD. For this reason, mobile banking can be done with or without internet.

  • Transactions

There is a difference in the transaction facilities offered by online and mobile banking. With net banking, you will access almost every service that your local bank has to offer. This is why almost every bank now has a form of online banking that account holders can access. Mobile banking is limited to checking balances, transferring and depositing money, paying of bills and may be locating your nearest ATM branch.

  • Functionality

Internet banking cannot happen without your PC/laptop and internet connection while mobile banking can still work even with the most basic mobile phone that has no internet capabilities thanks to the SMS platform. However, mobile apps which form the majority of mobile banking transactions require internet connection.

  • Notifications

Want to subscribe to your bank’s latest offers or newsletter? Well, you will need to first log in to your online banking portal to do that. This is not the case with your mobile app since you receive push notification every time they have an offer without having to log in.

  • Security

While both mobile and internet banking have their own security risks, mobile banking enjoys the additional hardware security provided by mobile devices compared to its online counterpart.

  • Opening of accounts

With your banking credentials, you will get access to your online account’s banking portal. However, these cannot give you access to your mobile banking app. This means that you apply for mobile banking separately sometimes through your online banking portal.


The biggest similarity between online and mobile banking is the convenience and easy accessibility of banking services to all. Their 24/7 availability, proper tracking of transactions, fund transfers and general access to financial services are revolutionary since both technologies actually make the two sides of the same coin.

However, their reliance on internet especially for online banking together with increasing security breaches continue to pose a challenge to the use of both technologies. Give Firefighters Credit Union a call to further discuss online banking at 608-784-9480!

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