Is there a difference between mobile banking and online banking?

The digital era has brought with it a variety of changes to the financial services industry giving us access to services on our computers and mobile devices. Both online banking and mobile banking are highly convenient, secure, and help you save a lot of time. Yet, while the two are similar, there are some key differences between the two that we have detailed below.

App vs Browser

Mobile banking is a platform provided by your bank in app format. Mobile banking apps are designed to be easy to read and navigate on a smartphone or tablet screen. Using these secure banking apps, you can accomplish many routine banking tasks right from your phone including viewing your balances, transferring funds, and paying your bills on-the-go. Being an app, you can also access mobile banking through a mobile data connection, compared to online banking, which is limited to Wi-Fi.

Online banking on the other hand is done via an internet browser such as Google Chrome, Firefox, or Safari, usually on a PC or laptop. As such, you are not required to download any particular software or programme to access it.

How you login

One of the most fundamental differences between online and mobile banking is the way you login to the different services. This is because with online backing it is more difficult for banks to know if it is really you who is accessing the service. With mobile banking on the other hand, most logins nowadays require some form of biometric authentication

Biometrics are your unique physical characteristics that can verify your identity, for example your fingerprint or face shape. In this sense, with mobile banking there is a stronger guarantee that the login is coming from the device you own, as not only would the hacker need the physical device, they’d also need your unique identifier.

To make up for this potential shortfall, most online banking now requires some form of two-factor authentication. Usually, this is with a code sent by SMS to your phone or via a card reader. 

These authentication methods make common phishing attacks harder to perpetrate, but hackers are becoming more sophisticated and using other forms of social engineering to trick customers into giving up these codes and their password recovery answers. Since the online bank cannot verify that you own the computer that is being used to login to your account, it’s much trickier for them to differentiate your usual activity from that of a hacker.


In addition, just like the other apps you use on your smartphone; mobile banking apps also enable you to receive notifications. This can be useful to let you know when you make purchases (so you can see if you don’t recognise any) or, if you’re near a spending limit. You are not required to log in to the app to get this added functionality.

However, this feature is not available with online banking. Instead, you will have to visit the online banking portal of your bank to check out the latest offers or you can subscribe to their e-mail newsletter if you would like to keep up-to-date with the bank’s latest news.


The exact features of mobile banking and online banking offer also differ. On your mobile banking app for example, there will often be a setting where you can locate the nearest ATM or branch and get cash even if you’ve lost your card.

With online banking on the other hand you get access to a much more comprehensive list of features. These include reporting your card lost and ordering a replacement, managing your travel plans for your credit card, and ordering a cheque book.

Both mobile and online banking are great, and we hope this blog will help you get the most out of them.

Got any questions? Leave a comment in the section below.

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