Moving Money with Mobile Apps and no Bank Account

author image-crispin
By Crispin Bateman
Updated on Tuesday 22 October 2019

mobile money phone and card reader

There should be no doubt in any mind that banking has changed massively in the past few decades. I remember as a child (and I’m not too old) being very jealous of my friend who had a fantastic Griffin bank account with the Midland Bank (which has been defunct for nearly two decades..!). My memory is convinced that he had a piggy bank in the shape of the company’s Griffin logo, but despite some extensive googling, I cannot find a picture of one – perhaps I invented it to further increase my envy.

I banked with Barclays, who at the time offered very little for the child saver other than a boring repository for my pennies, but my Mum used the bank and so I had little in terms of options from that perspective. Of course, Barclays are still going strong and now have one of the better mobile banking apps in the UK.

Phone banking – mobile money transfer with no effort

Yes, long gone are the days where I had to walk to the bank, wait in a queue and scribble the value of my deposit onto a special piece of paper (that looked enough like a cheque to feel adult) before handing it over to the cashier. Now I simply flick out my phone, choose an appropriate app and move hundreds of pounds from one place to the other with only my fingerprint as a security identifier. Only my fingerprint because I’m still a year or so behind and am yet to use my smiling grin as a key, as if an embedded fingerprint scanner is somehow obsolete technology.

If I find myself short on my debit card while in the queue at the supermarket, I can move money from one account to another before the person before me is done packing their bags – the concept is frankly ludicrous and still impresses me today, despite it being a part of my life for the last few years.

Then I pay with my phone, touching it confidently on a contactless scanner and using that fingerprint again to prove I am who I say I am. Money transferred from me to shop with a single beep.

It’s amazing, and we pay it so little thought. Back when pencils cases embossed with Griffins were coveted by children across the land, it would have been beyond even the most imaginative science fiction fan’s mind.

International money transfer – the magic of World Remit

I was excited to go further. It’s one thing moving my own money around while in a shopping queue, but what about to friends around the world. I had one such, a long-term friend forever running out of money who was currently in Nigeria. A quick Facebook chat later and I had all the details to help him out.

Using the World Remit app, we had a bit of a play - £25 became a little over 10,000 Nigerian Naira in under three minutes. He wandered to a local bank in Abuja and had those 10,000 notes in his hand less than an hour later.

That’s over 4000 miles an hour – impressively fast by anyone’s standard, especially as it changed from data in a UK bank account to real cash in a foreign currency in the same time.

It was hard to miss that World Remit spoke of something called ‘mobile money’ and I had to try that out too. Not valid in Nigeria (though it should be rolling out there in 2019), it did however work in the US and my next £25 test flew to Tuscon, Arizona in something approximating seconds. And where did it land? On my friend’s phone! Onto their phone! There was no bank account involved, they simply had the ability to pay for lunch with a contactless transaction using my hard-earned cash (and their face – more up-to-date than me). Incredible.

Money management in the 21st century

As technologies improve, we are likely to see more impressive advances in the way we do our banking – I, for one, am eager to see what comes next.

For more information about mobile banking, international money transfers and services like World Remit, take a look at our library of articles.

Latest News