The Royal Bank of Scotland Responsible For Creating The World’s First Mobile Banking App

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Today, mobile banking is easily the most widespread format of financial apps in the world. 

Before the creation of the first mobile banking app, people had to resort to using online browser banking platforms – or, they’d have to visit physical banks to accomplish their depository needs.

As technology revolutionized almost everything in the current day and age, mobile bank apps proved themselves to be huge facilitators by allowing the general public to perform transactions, check accounts, and transfer money within a few taps on a smartphone screen.

The already rapidly growing financial technology sector reached a new level during the pandemic. When users could not visit their physical locations, nearly all people had to resort to mobile banking in order to manage personal finances.

But the present does not remind most people of the beginning.  

What bank made the first mobile banking app?

With the popularization of digital banking, financial institutions found themselves in a real “arms race” in the early 2000s. With the turn of the century, banks were competing among themselves to create the best and most innovative banking platforms in order to accommodate their clients’ growing attachment to cellular phones and mobile devices.

The institution that led the charge and responsible for creating the first mobile banking app was The Royal Bank of Scotland.

RBS is one of the world’s traditional, UK regulated banks. 

The institution – which is Scotland’s second-largest bank – was founded in 1727, making it the seventh-oldest in the United Kingdom and the 12th-oldest bank worldwide.

The United Kingdom-based depository institution, which has its roots in Edinburgh, is also one of the leading figures in the technological revolution of banking.

In 1997, the Royal Bank of Scotland became the first British bank to provide its clients with an exclusive online banking interface.

Later, in 2004 – the bank became one of the first to provide “Mobile Top-Ups”, which are a quick and simple way to send phone credits to someone’s prepaid mobile phone.

Within the first decade of the 21st century, Humans were growing accustomed to the idea of having a cellphone capable of performing personal computer functions like accessing the internet and running native software on its operating system, today known as apps.

In 2009 – the Scottish financial institution launched an exclusive mobile phone banking application for iPhones. 

The application allowed users to check their balances and review recent transactions without the need for a personal computer.

However, it was in 2011 when The Royal Bank of Scotland achieved its biggest technological innovation.   RBS struck gold, creating the world’s first fully functional mobile banking app.

Initially an Apple exclusive, the app later expanded to Android and Blackberry phones.

The software was so successful that in the first six months after its launch, the app had over a million users, and over £1 billion was transferred through the application.

Today, the Royal Bank of Scotland is only 1 of many UK digital banks to offer a mobile banking application. Other British financial institutions like Barclays, Monzo (now growing into the US; read review), and Revolut also offer immensely popular mobile banking platforms.

A decade later, the RBS innovation set the stepping stone to creating the most widespread form of maintaining personal finance today. 

Mobile banking is the world’s most utilized form of banking. Today, market giants like Venmo and Paypal accommodate billions of users and trillions of dollars in transfers on their platforms.

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