According to Wikipedia (2010:21) the workings of mobile banking depend on one’s bank. Mobile banking services are offered mostly via Java based applications and/or SMS. Some banks will offer both options but others will only offer one option. Java based mobile banking applications will require Java enabled mobile phones. So they will not run on all types of phones.
Even when a phone is a Java enabled, it may not even be able to support a Java based mobile banking applications. If your bank offers Java application for mobile banking, you can download it at the bank, or at their Website.
Java based mobile banking applications are easier to use, because users can easily navigate their transactions through menus. Hence users do not have to memories SMS commands for transaction making them more users friendly. Java bank platforms communicate with the bank via SMS or internet. Mobile Banking application may also be available for native platform like Android, IOS, Blackberry, Windows Phones etc. Such mobile banking application will also have the same ease of use advantage of Java based application.
SMS based mobile banking platforms have the advantage of being platform neutral. They can be used on all types of phone usually no download is required. However, you have to memories codes required to engage in banking transactions. For example, Transfer 30000 1324 1234567890.
This means; Transfer N30, 000 to account number 1234567890, 1324 could mean the PIN for authorizing the transaction. Mobile banking usually works with plastic payment card like interswitch or another payment card branded by a bank. You activate the service by entering details of your plastic card (ATM/debit card) into your phone following the instructions of your bank. After activating your card on your phone you can start conducting transaction with your mobile banking platform.
Mobile Banking and Mobile Money
Mobile banking is different from mobile money. Some services can be paid for using mobile banking platform. Mobile money is a lot more versatile for making payments for goods and services. Mobile money enables you to create an E-wallet on your phone for making payment and are not essentially tied to your bank account. In fact, you do not even need a bank account to use mobile money. On the other hand, mobile banking cannot be used if you do not have a bank account. The two also have different objectives. Mobile banking is aimed at reducing congestion in banks by reducing the need for customers to visit the bank for every transaction that would have brought them to bank on their mobile phone. Mobile money is aimed at reducing the circulation of cash in the economy. It enables people pay for goods and services without need for cash. So, mobile banking is banking biased while mobile money is payment biased. However, both can converge or work hand in hand. For example, it could be possible to fund the mobile money e-wallet from your mobile banking platform.