Is mobile banking safe for customers? Precautions, explained

A woman using mobile banking

Source: Getty Images

Kathryn Underwood - Author

As the frequency of cyber security attacks seems to increase every year, it’s only natural that consumers are wondering about the most secure ways to do their banking. If you keep your money in a bank, you already have some of your trust in that bank. But is mobile banking safe? How can you be sure your accounts are safe?

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Mobile banking is quite safe, according to cyber security experts. However, as with anything where your personal and financial information is involved, it is up to the customer to take precautions.

A woman using a mobile banking app

Source: Unsplash/Clay Banks

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Is Mobile Banking Secure? There are some risks.

Generally, what customers worry about with mobile banking is any threat to their personal information or their bank accounts. Of course, if bad actors gain access to your checking or savings account, they could withdraw all the funds.

According to Bankrate, the FBI notes two primary risks to mobile banking customers. First, app-based banking trojans can cause hackers to install malware on your device. Another primary problem is fraudulent banking apps, which are used to trick customers into entering their login credentials.

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It is important to remember that security risks exist in the physical bank building as well as in the digital banking application. However, there are security measures you can take to make sure your bank accounts and devices are safe while mobile banking.

Follow these security tips for safer mobile banking.

Here are some best practices to protect yourself when using mobile banking:

  • Don’t use public Wi-Fi.
  • Create a strong password.
  • Lock your phone whenever it is not in use.
  • Use two-factor authentication.
  • Download the verified banking application from the bank’s website.
  • Watch out for text or email messages that try to get your information.
  • Use alerts in the bank app.

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A person using a mobile banking application.

Source: Getty Images/Anderson Coelho

Some of the precautions are standard practice any time you use sensitive information digitally. For example, avoid using public Wi-Fi in public places when doing banking or checking your credit card balance. Always create and use strong passwords (and use a password manager instead of storing passwords on devices).

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Another big security precaution is to download your mobile banking app only from your bank’s website. Paul Benda, senior vice president for operational risk and cybersecurity at the American Bankers Association, said Bankrupt it’s the most secure option because “Banks use extremely secure, state-of-the-art encryption technologies.”

Beware of phishing and smishing.

When using mobile banking, you need to be aware of both phishing and smishing. Phishing is a tactic hackers use to send legitimate-looking emails to trick users into providing personal information such as date of birth, social security number, username, password and account numbers.

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“Smishing” is the same hacking strategy, but done via text message. Whatever form of message you receive, don’t automatically assume it’s from your bank. Note any abnormalities in messages claiming to be from your bank (misspelled words, incorrect logo) and verify the sender.

To protect your mobile banking, don’t click on links in text messages or emails. Instead, go to your bank’s app, log in, and look for any messages or information there. Hackers are adept at creating fake apps and messages that trick users into revealing their personal information.

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Bank of America

Source: Getty Images/Brandon Bell

Banks like Bank of America have warned customers about the types of requests scammers often send. When using mobile banking, keep in mind that your bank should not ask you to “verify your account information” via email or text, ask you to pay in bitcoins, or ask you to send money via another payment applications.

Here are some ways to ensure you have secure mobile banking features.

Your bank’s mobile banking features should ensure security. State-of-the-art encryption technology should be used, and your app can also use strategies such as app timeout (automatic logout after a period of inactivity) and easy locking of your debit card.

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