Telephone banking (Ofer Abarbanel online library)

Telephone banking is a service provided by a bank or other financial institution, that enables customers to perform over the telephone a range of financial transactions which do not involve cash or Financial instruments (such as cheques), without the need to visit a bank branch or ATM.

Telephone banking times are usually longer than branch opening times, and some financial institutions offer the service on a 24-hour basis. However, some banks impose restrictions on which accounts may be accessed through telephone banking and usually limit the amounts that can be transacted.

The types of financial transactions which customers may transact through telephone banking include obtaining account balances and list of latest transactions, electronic bill payments, and funds transfers between a customer’s or to another’s accounts.

From the bank’s point of view, telephone banking reduces the cost of handling transactions by reducing visits by customers to a bank branch for non-cash withdrawals and deposit transactions. However, the use of telephone banking services has been declining in favor of internet banking since internet banking became available in the early 2000s, and further eroded with the advent of mobile banking in the 2010s.


Telephone banking became available in the 1980s, first introduced by Girobank in the United Kingdom, which establishing a dedicated telephone banking service in 1984.[1]Telephone banking saw growth during the 1980s and early 1990s, and was heavily used by the first generation of direct banks. However, the development online banking in the early 2000s started a long term decline in the use of telephone banking in favor of internet banking.[2] The advent of mobile banking further eroded the use of telephone banking in the 2010s.


To use a financial institution’s telephone banking facility, a customer must first register with the institution for the service. They would be assigned a customer number (which is not the same as the account number) and they may be given or set up their own password (under various names) for customer verification.

Customers would call the special phone number set up by the bank and would authenticate their identity through the customer number and a numeric or verbal password or through security questions asked by a live representative. The service can be provided using an automated system, using voice recognition capability, DTMF technology or by live customer service representatives.

In India, a variation of telephone banking utilizing missed call numbers, assigned to specific tasks (such as checking balances or performing money transfers), is offered by major banks.[3][4]


  1. ^“A history of banking: from coins to pings”. The Telegraph. Jun 1, 2015.
  2. ^Clark, Teri B. The Complete Personal Finance Handbook: Step-by-step Instructions to Take Control of Your Financial Future. Ocala, FL: Atlantic Pub. Group, 2007. Print.
  3. ^Anand, Shefali (13 May 2016). “5 Things You Can Get in India With a Missed Call”. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  4. ^Banerjee, Tushar (12 February 2014). “Five unusual ways in which Indians use mobile phones”. BBC News. Retrieved 6 October 2017.


Ofer Abarbanel online library