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Online Banking vs Mobile Banking: They're Not the Same

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Yuliia Podorozhko
Market Researcher

Are mobile banking and online banking the same? Many would say there’s no difference between the two, and in some ways, they’re right: both mobile banking and online banking offer remote access to banking services. Besides, mobile banking apps are nothing more than web page wrappers. Both are very secure as they comply with banking and fintech regulations. 

While at first glance it seems like these terms are interchangeable, there are some key differences between mobile banking and internet banking. 

So what are those differences and why do they matter? Here, we take a comprehensive look at mobile and online banking. But first, let’s clarify the terms under discussion.

What is mobile banking?

Mobile banking is a service that allows users to conduct banking processes on a mobile device. This service first appeared in the late 1990s with the adoption of cell phones, at the time, it was very basic and only offered SMS reports on transactions. 

Several years later, Wells Fargo created its Banking on the Go service, allowing customers to access bank accounts from their cellphones. This early form of mobile banking was not popular, in part because cell phone screens were limited by pixel capabilities, and viewing the information was difficult.

Things changed with the swift adoption of smartphones in the mid. Not only did they have bigger screens but they also allowed users to install various applications, including banking apps, which marked the start of the mobile banking era. Since the mid-2010s, millions of people around the globe have a banking app installed on their tablets or smartphones and cannot imagine their lives without this convenience.

mobile banking example

Source: IXD@Pratt

Today’s banking apps are secure, intricate pieces of software with plenty of advanced features. Banking apps allow users to check their balances, make various transactions, interact with support services around the clock, deposit checks via a phone's camera, and much more besides. That's hours of saved time! No wonder mobile banking is increasingly popular among all age groups, not just tech native gen Zers and millennials.

What is internet banking?

Internet banking or online banking allows bank customers to conduct a range of financial transactions via a bank's website. It's a part of a core banking system that enables digital access to banking services as opposed to visiting a traditional branch. Customers can check bank accounts and conduct various transactions from anywhere and at any time.

Online banking is convenient for both customers and financial institutions. By reducing the dependence on a branch network, online banking significantly lowers operating costs. Plus, online banking frees bank employees for more challenging work such as in-depth reports and analysis, and better customer service.

online banking example

Source: MyFICO

The first home digital banking was introduced at the end of 1980 by United American Bank. It included basic services such as balance checks and loan applications that were then processed for weeks by bank managers. Online banking has since evolved and now users can complete all their banking in real-time mode. Most transactions are conducted within seconds with no need to go to a branch or contact bank staff.


AT&T Home Banking Console, 1985. Source: Wikipedia

Online banking can be described as banking services that are accessed via the internet. Online banking is a broader concept than mobile banking, which is a part of internet banking as a whole. 

Despite how related the concepts and practices are, there are some differences between online and mobile banking. 

Online banking vs mobile banking

A mobile banking app is simpler and optimised for touchscreen use, whereas an internet banking website is designed for desktop use and mouse clicks. Accordingly, the first mobile banking and internet banking difference that comes to mind is the user interface. But the differences don’t stop there:


Online banking services do not require specific software. All online banking operations are conducted via a bank website. To access accounts, users need an internet connection and a browser on their desktop, laptop, or mobile device. 

To use mobile banking, users need to install a dedicated banking app on their smartphones. For mobile banking apps, internet connection is vital, but some banks also offer basic SMS operations such as balance checks, transfers, and transaction status updates.

Range of transactions

In general, online banking offers a broader range of services than mobile banking. Mobile banking apps enable users to conduct essential transactions such as checking balances, viewing transaction history, transferring funds, and chatting with support. Additionally, some banks restrict maximum payment amounts through their mobile banking apps.

Online banking, on the other hand, generally lets customers transfer larger amounts at a time and offers more services. However, the world of mobile banking evolves every year, providing access to features that were previously only available online.


Last but not least, push notifications are a notable difference between mobile banking and internet banking. Much like other smartphone apps, users receive push notifications from mobile banking providers. These notifications not only are alerts of inbound and outbound transactions, but also promotional messages with discounts and deals. Messages appear automatically on a mobile device, and information can be accessed without logging in.


Source: Xtremepush

With internet banking, however, this feature is not available for technical reasons. Whenever users need a balance update or find special banking offers, they need to manually log into the online banking portal. Push notifications can be partially replaced by email newsletters in this case. 

Final thoughts

There is a range of slight differences between online and mobile banking. However, both are technology-based services that allow users to carry out hassle-free bank transactions online. Both services are crucial for banks who care about their customers and want to remain competitive. If your financial institution is missing either, it's high time for them to improve the situation!. 

MadAppGang has extensive fintech development experience. We’ve created all kinds of fintech platforms, including WebMoney, a payment portal. As experts in the field, we know how to build advanced banking platforms that are easy to use and comply with all regulations. All you need is an idea. Trust our team with everything else, from design to MVP and from MVP to end product.

Contact MadAppGang for assistance with web, Android and iOS app development. Not only do we build secure and smart digital products from scratch, but also help you spot any missing functionalities and add them to your existing platform.