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Mobile Banking

Mobile banking generally refers to banking services that are offered and executed over mobile devices. This enables users to access financial services from anywhere and at any time.

Financial services offered via mobile banking can be as simple as a bank sending fraud or usage activity to a client’s mobile device, or as complex as a client paying bills or transferring funds abroad. Some mobile banking services have even started to incorporate new technologies such as mobile check deposits — where a user simply takes a picture of the check using his or her device’s camera.

Mobile Banking Background

The concept of mobile banking can be traced back to June 1967, when Barclays Bank introduced the first public automated teller machine (ATM) at its Enfield branch in north London. And while ATMs initially did little but dispense cash, they have evolved over time to provide a full suite of financial services.

Internet banking followed soon after. Introduced in the late-1990s, Internet banking offered the convenience of banking at home with minimal adoption costs for the majority of customers who already have Internet access. Global Internet banking penetration would go on to reach 28.7% in April 2012.

Then came mobile banking. The earliest forms of mobile banking used SMS, or text messaging, for communications between the client and the bank’s services. This was before the advent of smartphones that accommodated more complex applications. And while SMS banking freed the user from being tethered to his or her home computer, it had its limitations — (a) its 160-character limit severely narrowed the scope of its utility to very basic financial services; (b) the inability for banks for customize their user interfaces; and (c) SMS does not authenticate both sender and receiver and does not encrypt the contents of messages. The latter would prove to be one of mobile banking’s most critical and prevalent banes, as it exposed users’ sensitive financial information to interception and man-in-the-middle attacks.

The advent of the smartphone would go a long way in overcoming many of the shortfalls of SMS banking. Now that customized banking apps could be developed for their clients’ mobile devices, banks were able to offer more reliable mobile banking channels and enable more complex mobile transactions. Banks also finally were able to provide customized interfaces for their clients.

Mobile Banking Apps

Mobile banking apps are downloadable client software that mobile users can use to access their banks’ services. App features and user interfaces vary from bank to bank, and are usually defined by the type of services provided by the bank and their corporate identities.

In addition to providing standalone mobile apps, advancements in web technologies such as HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript have enabled banks to launch mobile web-based interfaces to complement their standalone offerings. This has the added advantage of providing users who do not wish to install a standalone app with more mobile options.

Advancements in smartphone technology have also enabled banks to begin integrating their own takes of mobile wallet services into their mobile banking app offerings.

Mobile Banking Security

More importantly, however, these advancements in mobile banking technology have enabled banks to incorporate more robust security features that help to overcome many of SMS banking’s security shortcomings.

For starters, it is now especially common for banks to provide as a standard feature both at-rest and in-transit encryption of their clients’ data, whether via their websites or via their mobile apps. Banks have also begun rolling out two-factor authentication across many of their services — it is now especially common for banks to require a unique one-time password for each and every online or mobile transaction.

Wirex Mobile Banking

Wirex combines the best of Bitcoin and traditional currencies to offer a fast, flexible, and secure global mobile banking solution.

With the Wirex mobile banking app, you gain access not just to a bank account that seamlessly integrates both Bitcoin and traditional currencies, but also to a Visa debit card that enables you to spend and receive both bitcoins and traditional currencies in more than 130 countries. The Wirex Visa debit card is available in both virtual and plastic forms.

Furthermore, all Wirex bitcoin wallets are secured with multi-signature technology and two-factor authentication. This ensures that bitcoins stored in your Wirex account can only be spent by you. Also, Wirex’s Visa debit card utilizes both chip-based and PIN-based security to authenticate each and every over-the-counter transaction. This ensures that Wirex cardholders are protected from signature-based card fraud. And lastly, the Wirex mobile app ensures that your sensitive data is protected from unauthorized access by encrypting your data while in transit and by providing the option to secure your Wirex account with two-factor authentication.

Get started with Wirex today by signing up for a Wirex account here. Also, download the Wirex mobile app for your iOS device here and for your Android device here.