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Mobile Banking: Free or Fee?

June 28th, 2013 · No Comments · Banking

by Kristy Welsh

(Last Updated On: February 26, 2018)
Do you use mobile banking? If so, is it free or is there a fee? If not, is mobile banking something you're willing to pay for?

Do you use mobile banking? If so, is it free or is there a fee? If not, is mobile banking something you’re willing to pay for?

Whether you’re already an avid mobile banking customer, or you’ve yet to test the waters, the question of free or fee-based services is an important one. Though the vast majority of us still engage in traditional banking activity — making deposits and withdrawals at ATM’s or in bank branches — the popularity and promise of mobile banking suggests it’s the wave of the future. So free vs. fee-based is critical since the structure adopted at this early stage will set a precedent for the future of the mobile banking industry.

Mobile banking includes services like:

  • remote check deposits
  • account balance inquiries
  • money transfers
  • bill pay

Why the question of free vs. fee-based anyway?

As reported by American Banker,  the development of a mobile banking app costs anywhere from $1 to $5 million. With good reason, banks would prefer to not only make their money back on this investment, but to also turn a profit. However, some say the profit is inherent, as theoretically a mobile banking app should gradually lessen the need for so many bank branches or employees to staff them. Plus, research shows that, among mobile banking customers, there is a notable increase in their balances on deposit, as well as decreased attrition.

Currently, there are banks on both sides of the issue. On the free side is JPMorgan Chase. It doesn’t charge a penny for a single one of its mobile banking services. U.S. Bank, on the other hand, charges 50 cents per transaction. Wells Fargo charges fees for bank-to-bank transfers and emergency bill pay. And Alabama-based Regions Bank takes mobile banking fees to the extreme, charging $3 on deposits to be made available overnight, and $5 for deposits to be made available immediately.

Do you use mobile banking? If so, is it free or is there a fee? If not, is mobile banking something you’re willing to pay for?

I’ve yet to jump on the mobile banking bandwagon, but I can’t see myself paying for something I can do for free in a bank branch or at an ATM. As convenient as mobile banking may be, consumers need help getting out of debt, not fees that eat away at the income we need to pay down credit card debt, student loans and just making ends meet.

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