Banking on your iPhone

I’ve been a big fan of online banking since NatWest first launched their original online product back in the late 90’s – I remember that for security it used a unique dial up phone number straight onto their servers. The web product is still my primary method of access but I now supplement it with the NatWest iPhone app. Monitise is the developer behind the iPhone apps for NatWest, RBS and Ulster Bank (RBS Group banks) and they’ve recently updated the app to improve the user interface and add more functionality.

Once set up (using your debit card credentials) access is controlled via a unique PIN with mobile number authentication happening in the background. As this level of security is more limited than with online banking, the functionality within the app is less.

So what’s in the app?

  • List the accounts you have available via online banking displaying their balances
  • Mini statement showing recent transactions
  • Transfer money between your NatWest accounts
  • Set up weekly and limit balance alerts
  • Find the locations of NatWest branches and ATMs near you
  • Topup a prepay mobile phone

There seems to have been some teething problems with the new version. I had to deregister from the Monetise service, delete the app, download it again and re-register. Hopefully these have now been resolved.

The key function that’s still missing for me is the ability to make payments to third parties. I would expect to see the option to make payments to people and organisations that I’ve already set up online. For security reasons it would make sense not to allow new payees to be created via the iPhone.

The app is free from the iPhone App Store and if you’re a NatWest customer it’s definitely worth downloading.

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