Mobile phone banking is a modern technology in the field of Banking and Finance where commercial banks enable access to banking and finance related products and services to consumers through mobile phones. Customers who sign up to mobile phone banking service are able to perform a number of banking transactions on their mobile phones.
Here in Ghana, commercial banks offer mobile phone banking services either through USSD applications, smartphone apps or both. For example, GCB Bank offers its mobile phone banking service though USSD code *422#, while UMB Bank offer the service through their smartphone app. Ecobank offers the Ecobank Mobile Banking app which also works for other banks’ customers.
Mobile phone banking gives users some level of financial control, wherever they are, and whenever they need it. Consumers can access their financial information fast, and perform transactions from any location at any time. What excites me about the technology is that I am able to move cash from my account into my mobile money wallet instantly.
With mobile phone banking service, a user:
- Gets SMS alerts on transactions;
- Check own account balances;
- Access a mini bank statement;
- Can buy phone credit;
- Perform money transfers;
- Perform mobile money transactions and;
- Make bill payments.
Mobile phone banking in Ghana evolved with the growth of the mobile money services. Indeed, Ghana has a very high mobile phone subscription per capita. according to industry regulator, the National Communications Authority. As at the end of December 2018, there were 27,312,733 subscriptions of 2G/3G/4G mobile data in the country were which is equivalent to a penetration rate above 91%.
In other words, nine out of every ten persons you meet have mobile data subscriptions and therefore can access the internet on a mobile device such as a smart phone or a tablet. The high population of mobile phone users and the evolution of the mobile channel create a market large market segment and open up possibilities for commercial banks and consumers.
Advantages of Mobile Phone Banking
It’s everywhere: It’s widely available wherever consumers can access signals of their mobile phone networks. The minimum requirement for mobile phone banking through USSD applications is a simple GSM phone.
It’s available 24/7: Mobile phone banking services are always accessible round the clock. Users can access their accounts anytime of day and night.
No Internet needed: It doesn’t always require internet connection, so you mustn’t necessarily have a smartphone to access the service.
It’s very convenient: You can access your many from the comfort of your bedroom, from the pub and from the mall. It’s so convenient.
Disadvantages of Mobile Phone Banking
High Charges: If you use mobile banking regularly, you will be charged extra by the bank for the service. Also you may realise that your use of the service over a considerable period of time costs so much in charges.
Scam Messages: Many mobile banking users get fake messages which ask them to disclose financial information.
How to Use Mobile Phone Banking Safely
Don’t Follow Links: Fintech security experts advise that you should never follow a banking link sent to you in a text message or e-mail. These links could lead you to a spoofed Website. Any information you enter into such a site would just be like you handed that data over to thieves. It’s always a good idea to navigate to a Web site directly, by entering your bank’s web address directly into the browser.
Avoid Banking While on Public Networks: Public connections aren’t very secure, because you never know who might be listening in over the public network. Never share sensitive information over a public Wi-Fi network. If you need to access your account information, you may want to switch to your mobile phone network and disable Wi-Fi altogether.
Use Official Bank Apps
Make sure you use your bank’s official app as much as practicable. In general, official apps tend to be more secure. Additionally, most banks go to great lengths to make sure any information sent across a network by an app is encrypted.
Put a Lock on Your Phone
You should activate the digital locking mechanism on your phone. Secure you phone with a PIN or password. Some devices require you to trace a pattern. While it might slow you down to have to enter a PIN each time you want to use your phone, that layer of security might be enough to keep a thief from accessing your bank account before you can report your phone as missing.
So enjoy your Mobile Phone Banking services and do well to keep in mind the security of your account details and your device.