Advances in modern technology have made our lives much easier to conduct. We can fulfil mundane tasks with a tap on our phone, from ordering Chinese food to selecting a travel destination for the holidays. In addition to managing chores, there is the option to take care of banking needs exclusively on the smartphone. Globally experts are calling it the era of mobile banking as there are more and more people using their phones to pay bills or transfer money.
However a recent poll shows that 63% of Brits are hesitant to use their phones for banking or to conduct financial transactions via an app with a mobile-only bank. They prefer visiting the local branch of their bank due to security concerns about identity theft and mobile fraud. Thankfully the fear of mobile banking is bigger than the risk. There are smart, secure ways to bank from the smartphone that do not require an advanced degree in computer sciences.
Here are a few precautionary steps you can take when banking from the phone:
- Always set up a password or PIN to lock your phone when it is idle.
- Keep the Bluetooth function off when not in use. This deters any unwanted wireless activity from occurring on the phone.
- Uncheck the auto-save option in your phone’s browser that stores and inputs usernames or passwords for you. Make the effort to memorise the login information as this beats worrying about a thief accessing your hard-earned money in case of a theft.
- Most banks ensure that their mobile banking apps do not store account details directly on the customer’s phone. Instead the apps access details directly from a secure data centre. Using mobile banking apps are safe as they will never hold on to personal information.
- Check if your bank offers antivirus software to protect against the threat of mobile fraud. Barclays bundles free Kapersky Mobile Security Software when a customer downloads their phone banking application. Such security measures protect the customer’s phone from Trojan or virus attacks that may compromise your personal data. If the bank does not do so, you can purchase a smartphone security package online.
- Avoid logging into your bank account on public networks, at the airport or in a cafe, both on the mobile as well as the laptop.
- Do not use ‘unlocked’ or ‘jail-broken’ smartphones as they remove security features that protect against remote access. There are worms and viruses that exploit ‘unlocked’ phones.
- Scammers will ask you for log-in details or mobile banking passwords via text messages and emails, but banks will never do that. Any message you receive asking for personal data will be a scam. Always double-check with your bank before acting on such messages.
- In case your phone is stolen or lost, immediately contact your mobile network provider so they can block it’s services. As long as you have not saved confidential log-in information in the phone’s memo app, there is little damage any thief can do to your bank account.
Most banks and credit card companies ensure 100% coverage due to mobile fraud while others protect customers from liability as long as the incident is reported within 60 days. Despite all these precautions, stay as alert as you are while using the computer when banking on the smartphone.