The world has gone mobile, and banking customers expect their banks to follow wherever they and their smartphones go. Since direct banks like ING first began to offer their services online in 2005, more and more banks have been going digital, scrambling to offer higher rates, lower fees and more accessibility to their customers.
BankMobile is an innovative newcomer in the space that just might sweep all three categories.
BankMobile operates within the now-familiar framework of online-only, direct banking. When banks operate exclusively online, they avoid the hefty overhead that comes along with maintaining expensive physical branches. This enables them to offer competitive rates that even the largest financial institutions can’t rival.
What Sets BankMobile Apart?
Although online-only banking is nothing new, BankMobile boasts several industry firsts. According to its website, it’s the only bank in the country that doesn’t charge any fees whatsoever. BankMobile also offers free, no-minimum checking and savings accounts, as well as a line of credit — all with a higher savings APY than the top four banks in the country by assets.
One concern many have about online banks is ATM access; BankMobile has an impressive nationwide network of 55,000 no-charge ATMs.
Review: BankMobile High Yield Savings Account
Bankmobile’s High Yield Savings Account guarantees an interest rate that is at least 0.25% higher than the APY offered by Wells Fargo, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Citibank (when they aren’t running promotions). The rate remains the same no matter how much — or how little — money you have in your account. BankMobile customers can link their savings account to their checking account to ensure that no checks will bounce and that they’ll never be embarrassed by a declined debit card transaction.
BankMobile compensates for its lack of branches and tellers with an app that can handle virtually all banking functions, 24 hours a day. The app offers a range of features that allow you to:
- Check your balances without logging in.
- Lock or unlock debit cards by swiping.
- Receive free text alerts for balances, transactions and deposits.
- Make payments to individuals and businesses using only a phone number or email address.
Although many banking apps enable customers to use their cameras to deposit checks, BankMobile incorporates your smartphone’s camera function even further. The app lets account holders use their camera to pay bills simply by snapping a picture of the bill and choosing to make a one-time payment or set up a recurring charge. The app does the rest.
A New Twist on Customer Service
Although it has video tutorials and an FAQ section that can provide the answer to most questions, BankMobile has options for customers who want or need to speak with a real, live human being, with representatives that can be reached by phone or online messaging for account needs.
But a live customer service option is nothing new in the direct-banking industry. What really sets BankMobile apart is its BYOB (Build Your Own Bank) program, which encourages users to share feedback on what works, what doesn’t and how to create an ideal banking experience.
What Do You Need to Open an Account?
A drivers license and a smartphone — and that’s it.
Of all BankMobile’s innovative camera-driven features — several of which are industry firsts that set it apart in a very crowded field — its process for opening an account might be the app’s strongest selling point. Simply upload a picture of your drivers license through the app, and the account will be activated and ready to go.
BankMobile’s High-Yield Savings Account has a better yield than the largest banks in the country, but the product’s real strong suit is the innovative, mobile-friendly platform that BankMobile has developed. The camera-driven banking concept has given the app a level of functionality that does not currently have a legitimate rival. Its direct-payment system, which requires only a phone number or an email, allows users to bypass pricey and less-convenient third parties like PayPal, making BankMobile the last online banking service you might ever need.
Photo credit: American Advisors Group