A guide to Mobile Banking Apps in 2019

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Mobile banking is becoming increasingly common. It takes away the need to go to a physical bank to withdraw cash and make payments. But how user friendly are these mobile banking apps? Well, we decided to try out a few mobile banking apps ourselves.  As a start, we’ll be looking at offerings by Commercial Bank, Sampath Bank and NTB.

Now, we should mention that this is by no means a competition. We’re not aiming to pick the best mobile banking app or rate them in any way. We’re just looking at mobile banking apps that are available for both Android and iOS and diving into the features available in them.

Commercial Bank

The Commercial Bank app or ComBank app is available for both iOS and Android. Setting up the app was a bit troublesome simply because of the effort needed to get a login ID. For starters, the ComBank app offers no way for users to sign up for the account from within the app itself. Rather, you have to opt-in to use the app when you’re applying for a bank account.

Mobile banking app
Sign up for mobile banking they said. It will be easy they said

The other option is to download an application form, print it, fill it out and then submit it to your nearest Commercial Bank or their Digital Banking Center. Alternatively, you can also go to a Commercial Bank, fill out a form and then submit it as well. Overall, not a very simple process, especially when online registrations are so much easier. From there you would have to wait for around 5 working days.

But for the purpose of this article, however, I managed to get a functioning account from a friend to test out the ComBank app. The main interface of the app allows you to choose from ePassbook or mobile bank.

The ePassbook allows you to download and view your account transactions online or offline on your smartphone or tablet. But once again, it should be noted that you have to opt in for the ePassbook feature when you’re first opening the account as well.

Onwards to the actual app

Once you finally get your login ID and password, you can use the features of the ComBank mobile banking app. Speaking of features, you can use the ComBank app to: make payments and settlements, merchant payments, and  fund transfers.

Mobile Banking App
The ComBank Mobile Banking App is a tad on the clunky side in terms of the UI. It also has basic functionality

But while you wait for Commercial Bank to send you your login details, you can check out local interest rates and exchange rates. The app itself is pretty basic in terms of functionality and the UI is a tad on the clunky side. Considering the hassle of applying for online and mobile banking, I’d rather just use my actual card than the app.

Sampath Bank and Vishwa

Sampath Bank was the next on our list. I was hoping for a less complicated process when compared to Commercial Banka. Unfortunately, while the signup process was less complicated, it was the customer service that left me unhappy. I initially applied for a Sampath Vishwa account 2 weeks ago. The process was supposed to be simple, It would take 3-5 working days for me to get my logins. Fast forward two weeks and I’ve still yet to receive any notification that it was activated.

I actually got a phone call from Sampath Bank yesterday asking me why I hadn’t activated my Vishwa account. I had to calmly explain to the bank that I had not received a phone call from the bank. Once they had got over their initial awkward 10-second phone call, I was told that I would be able to access my Vishwa account in the evening.

Mobile Banking App
Despite having lackluster customer care, Sampath Bank’s Mobile Banking app is pretty good (Image Credits: Nimila Hiranya Samarasinghe)

It was then that I realized that I had also forgotten my Vishwa ID. Another phone call to the bank and I was told that I would have to visit my nearest Sampath Bank to reset my Vishwa ID. So for the purpose of this article, I used my friend’s account to try out the Vishwa app.

Glancing over the initial registration, like I said, the app is quite easy to use. In terms of features, it has the basics covered such as the ability to transfer money, make payments and send mobile cash. You can also view exchange rates, currency rates and interest rates. One thing I liked about the Vishawa Mobile Banking App was that I could add my fingerprint as a security measure. So even if someone figured out my username and password, they would need a fingerprint to login as well.

But a point that I found confusing about using Sampath Vishwa as a mobile banking app was that I would be charged LKR 700/- for using the app. Why exactly am I being charged an amount for using a service that should be free?

Doesn’t the fact of a mobile app mean less queues, less hassle and actually more savings in terms of running an actual physical banking outlet? It’s like they’re trying to keep us in the stone age.  Added to that, they also don’t give you detailed transaction receipts, or any transaction receipts for that matter.

Nations Trust Bank

We spoke about the NTB Mobile Banking App back in 2017. Nothing much has changed since then apart from some backend imporvements and security updates. That being said, the overall functionality of the app is still very stable. Akin to most other mobile banking apps, you have the ability to check your accounts.

You can also link your Credit/Debit cards ands check the purchase history of them and check the credit limit of cards as well. In a similar manner, you can also view any investments in the bank, any loans you have taken and their payback period and also any leasing contacts you have with the bank.

Mobile banking app
Thus far, the best experience I had with a mobile banking app was with NTB.

In terms of security, the NTB Mobile Banking App has a number of ways to secure the app. There’s the traditional username and password. On top of this it has the ability to add a fingerprint, voice recognition and even facial recognition as well. So even if your smartphone doesn’t have a fingerprint sensor, you can still secure the app with your voice and facial ID as well. We certainly give props to NTB for that.

More importantly, adding an account to the NTB Mobile banking app is so easy I was in tears. All you need are the account number, mobile number and your date of birth. The registration process is quick and simple. Once details have been entered, I was sent an OTP to enter and that was it. I was in. The app immediately showed my bank balance and everything else with no needs to go to a bank at all.

What I learned from mobile banking apps

While I initially did mention that this is not a competition, it’s quite difficult to not praise NTB for their app. It’s easy to use and simple to set up. More importantly, it can all be done from your phone without needed to go to a bank.

Other banks should definitely take note of this and offer the same experience as well. It also confuses me on as to why banks such as Commercial and Sampath charge customers for using the mobile banking apps, whereas NTB is completely free.

But wait, there’s more

These are not the only mobile banking apps though. We will also be looking at lifestyle apps and what they offer as well. If you have experience with mobile banking apps we’ve mentioned here or any other mobile banking app, we would love to hear from you.

4 COMMENTS

    • Personally, I wouldn’t though. Their systems and processes are a huge mess. Right not, NTB is fairly ahead of the game.

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