Many consumers use mobile banking on their cell phones or other portable device because it allows them to quickly access information such as account balance and transaction history. The benefits of this convenience are undeniable, but there are a number of disadvantages that mobile banking users should be aware of. The technology's cost, compatibility issues and security problems may cause you to think twice about using it.
Security experts generally agree that mobile banking is safer than computer banking because very few viruses and Trojans exist for phones. That does not mean mobile banking is immune to security threats, however.
Mobile users are especially susceptible to a phishing-like scam called "smishing." It happens when a mobile banking user receives a fake text message asking for bank account details from a hacker posing as a financial institution. Many people have fallen for this trick and had money stolen through this scam.
Online banking is usually done through an encrypted connection so that hackers cannot read transmitted data, but consider the consequences if your mobile device is stolen. While all banking applications require you to enter a password or PIN, many people configure their mobile devices to save passwords, or use insecure passwords and PINs that are easy to guess.
Mobile banking is not available on every device. Some banks do not provide mobile banking at all. Others require you to use a custom mobile banking application only available on the most popular smart phones, such as the Apple iPhone and RIM Blackberry. Third-party mobile banking software is not always supported.
If you do not own a smart phone, the types of mobile banking you can do are usually limited. Checking bank account balances via text message is not a problem, but more advanced features such as account transfers are generally not available to users of "dumb phones."
The cost of mobile banking might not appear significant if you already have a compatible device, but you still need to pay data and text messaging fees. Some financial institutions charge an extra fee for mobile banking service, and you may need to pay a fee for software. These extra charges quickly add up, especially if you access mobile banking often.