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Opinion | 06 Feb 2020
What are the differences between mobile banking and digital banking?
Karolina
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We already known why mobile applications are so popular and important in the banking market. This is particularly relevant in the Polish market, in which half of the adult population use mobile banking apps. What’s more, we proved it in a report that we published in cooperation with Cashless.pl. But do we really understand the difference between mobile banking and digital banking? What are the similarities and differences? Does digital banking mean that we’re only managing our finances online? No! So how do we distinguish mobile banking from digital?

 

Mobile banking is based on a user's smartphone and the banking app installed on it.  Nowadays you can manage all your bank accounts and plan your finances entirely on your phone. It’s super convenient and easy, so it doesn’t surprise that the average user logs into their banking app about 19 times per month. On the other hand, mobile banking is itself a part of the huge digital banking domain. We can define digital banking as every online banking activity that is completed using a digital device. We can use a web browser on a PC, or login via a website on our mobile device (smartphone or tablet). But what are the real differences between the two?

 

1. Visits to bank branches are now the exception

Do you remember the times when you needed to go to your local bank branch to make money transfers, check your balance or take out a loan? Yeah, that sounds prehistoric now, and a number of reports confirm this. Nowadays, physical branch offices serve to symbolize a proper image and a bank’s stability. Young consumers have absolutely no need to visit a bank in person, they are able to manage their bills remotely. The opposite is true for older generations, who do not trust digital solutions yet. However, this number also continues to decrease.

If you use digital or mobile banking services you can probably visit a branch as well, but this is no longer a hard and fast rule. We feel safer and more confident when we have the option to fix problems face to face alongside having remote access to our accounts. The World Branch Report 2019 highlights that over 40% of respondents felt that they did not want a complete liquidation of physical bank branches.  So, how do we prefer to manage our bank accounts? 

 

2. Mobile app vs web browser

So if we know what mobile and digital banking are, we should consider the advantages and disadvantages of both solutions. Online desktop banking is the prefered choice of users at home, at their private PC, while mobile apps on users’ smartphones are prefered everywhere else. Thanks to biometric logins, we no longer need to remember bank details like passwords or account numbers.

But how about commercial banking users? The 2019 State of Digital Sales in Banking Report proved that the gap between mobile and digital banking use continues to shrink even among businesses.

3. Usability

The convenience and user experience of both solutions are rather different, and our choice to use one over the other depends on personal preferences and daily activities. Mobile banking is so popular now because of its flexibility and the fact that we can safely manage our bank account even when using public transport. Alongside ease of use, there are many other advantages to mobile banking, many of which are highlighted on the chart displayed below.


The key difference between digital and mobile banking is flexibility. Each of the above functions can be used on both PC and smartphone. However, mobile banking guarantees an incomparable flexibility and ease of access to banking services.

 

4. Virtual banking - the future of financial markets?

Another interesting element in online banking is virtual banking. This is a pretty new concept in modern banking and presents a strong challenge for traditional banks. The most important aspect is that virtual banks don’t have their own branches. All consumer services and financial operations are done online. In addition, virtual banks usually operate globally, and they regularly promise customers no markup fees on transactions in foreign currencies. For those who operate internationally or travel regularly it serves as the perfect option. Virtual banking combines the flexibility of mobile banking with the usability of digital banking but without any borders. 

The virtual banking market is a fast growing one, with some of the strongest players highlighted below:




 

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes