Mobile banking has increased over the past decade as the internet has become ubiquitous in people’s daily lives. This allows users 24/7 access to their bank accounts anywhere they take their devices. Because of this, banks now devote increasing amounts of resource towards security measures to prevent hacks and other threats. However, due to the lucrative rewards to cyber criminals, they continue to seek ways to commit electronic fraud. With continuing technological development that shows no signs of slowing down, it has become important for both banks and mobile users to have security measures in place. Certain mobile banking practices can protect you regardless of the changes in mobile technology that happen every year. Many of these steps are simple and easy to enact. Doing so will allow you to continue to benefit from today’s tech advances in mobile while keeping your bank accounts safe and secure.

Use Passwords on Your Phone, Tablet, and Other Devices

Make you passwords long and complex enough to make them hard to crack. Use a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Avoid using easy to guess passwords such as pet’s names, birthdays, or relatives names. Regularly change your passwords and never re-use the same password over multiple devices or online accounts. Use the same guidelines for banking websites and applications passwords. If your passwords are strong enough, this could entirely deter a thief from breaking into your smartphone and banking accounts. Also, make sure to keep your passwords in a private location and never give them out to anyone.

There are online guides available that show you how to setup a password for your device. Your device’s paper documentation should also have a guide on how to do this as well.

Also, set your device to automatically lock after a short period of time when not in use.

Use Finger and Facial Recognition on Your Smartphone

Passwords are not the only line of defense against cyber criminals. Many of today’s smartphones have the option of using finger and facial recognition to secure your phone. If your has this option, then use it. It adds another
line of protection on your device.

Protect Your Devices With Antivirus Software

Antivirus software exists for both PC’s and mobile devices. So it is recommended to utilize this security tool across the devices you regularly use to access the internet and do mobile banking. Smartphones and tablets are basically miniaturized computer systems, just like desktops. This makes them vulnerable to viruses, malware, and other online threats. These can scan and detect for viruses and malware that may have infected your system. Hackers often use certain malware types to take advantage of users for financial gain. Make sure to research the app you are looking into using and the maker of the app before downloading it. There are many reliable security companies in the market that provide these applications. So, use an antivirus system tool for your devices from one of these trusted sources.

Have Up-to-date Software

Make sure to keep all your software on all your devices up to date. This includes the OS, browser, antivirus, and firewall software. If possible, get software that has the option of automatic updates. Check your current
software for this option and turn on if it is available. You can review apps before downloading to make sure automatic updates are available. Run regular updates for your smartphone and all mobile apps. New types of malware are created everyday that can be used by cyberthieves to commit fraud, so having up-to-date software is very important to stay protected.

Only Download Banking Apps from Trusted Sources

Use only trusted app marketplaces to download your preferred banking app. Apps can actually be tools for hackers and cyber thieves to get into your financial accounts. An illegitimate app masquerading as a banking app can quickly steal your personal information. So only download apps
from reputable sources such as from Google Play, or the Apple App Store.

Review Your Financial Accounts Often

Checking your financial accounts regularly is great way to prevent transactions that you do not recognize or permit. This includes reviewing your bank, investing, cryptocurrency, and other mobile payments accounts.
Similar to checking a receipt at a store to make sure you were not charged for an item you did not purchase. Cyber criminals are sneaky but will often leave a trail which can show up on your account transactions and history.
If something is amiss, contact your bank to get assistance. This includes all charges and withdrawals on your banking and credit accounts. Most banks today offer account alerts for smartphones, so sign up for these. Checking the privacy settings on your phone and apps will help prevent theft. There are privacy settings in apps and on your phone that allow you to choose what you want banks and other online entities to see. If you think a specific charge is fraudulent, contact your bank or credit union as soon as possible.

Never Use Auto Logins

You may be seeking convenience when you check the “Remember My Login” checkbox, but it can lead to financial disaster. If your login data is available, someone can get a hold of your smartphone and get into your accounts. This is similar to leaving your car door unlocked with the keys sitting in the ignition. Even if you rarely use your device and only from limited locations, such as your home. It only takes one time for an individual to break into and steal your finances. So always ignore the “Remember My Login” checkbox for any type of online purchase or banking login.

Always Log Out of Banking Apps

Once your online banking activity is complete, always log out of your accounts. Never leave them logged in, even if you are usually the only person who uses your device or PC. Spyware can possibly steal screen data or hijack your accounts while they are logged in. Banks have logged out procedures designed and tested to work. Never assume that closing your browser will automatically log you out of your accounts.

This is true for all types of banking and financial apps, even Paypal. To learn more, read our post How Secure Is Paypal?

Use A Short Phone Auto-Lock Time

Having the auto-lock feature on your device set for the briefest period of time is recommended. It can be bothersome to having your smartphone lock during times when you are using it most, but it can protect your data and finances. If you have finger and facial recognition setup, then this makes it even harder for someone to unlock your phone when you briefly stop using it. Many users will use access their phones around strangers, and not just at work with trusted colleagues. So keep your devices and data protected by using short auto-lock times.

Never Root or Jailbreak A Device

Smartphones have limitations set that you may want to get around. This can provide the opportunity to download third-party apps from alternative sources. This is especially true for Apple devices that limit users to downloading apps from the App Store. However, phones are designed by the makers with specific security settings that are there for a reason. Changing these system settings can make your device vulnerable to hackers.

Never Use Public Wifi For Mobile Banking

Public wifi networks can be used by a whole diverse group of people, some of which may not be working in the best interest of others. So, if you decide to use public wifi for convenience, be careful. You never know who may be
snooping in on your online activities. Especially avoid banking on your device while using public wifi. These networks are also not guaranteed to be technically secure from online threats. If possible, wait until you are in a more secure location such as your own home to access your financial accounts online. Also, setup a password on the wireless network you have at home.

Do Not Share Devices For Online Banking

Always use your own secure device for online banking, and never let anyone borrow this device. Make sure all possible security measures are in place such as passwords and finger recognition are setup. Even a person
you know may have poor online security habits that may compromise your bank accounts and data. This includes downloading and sending seemingly harmless files such as images.

Delete Old Banking Text Messages

Your financial institution may allow for easy communications via text messages. This is very helpful for resolving banking questions and issues as well as provide easy access to news and announcements. However, these can possibly contain sensitive financial information you do not want others to see. And if you are receiving texts that ask for or display very sensitive financial information, it is possible it is not from your bank but a dangerous source. Thus, delete these messages as soon as you have finished reading them.

Never Keep Digital Copies of Passwords

Never keep copies of your passwords on your phone or on your PC. Keep a printed out copy or write them down by hand. Having a file of your passwords is making an easy target for a hacker to find them once they have broken into one of your devices. If you need to keep a digital copy of your passwords, put them on a backup drive at home or office and have it disconnected from the internet or network.

Immediately Report a Lost or Stolen Device

Your mobile device contains an enormous amount of personal data, so losing one can put you at significant risk. If your device is lost or stolen, report it to your financial institutions as soon as possible. Your phone number will likely be listed with your financial institutions as a part of your account details. This can help them prevent any unwarranted purchases or withdrawals.

You can also disable mobile access to your financial accounts from your home PC or laptop. This option should be available with your bank.

You should also contact your carrier once you realize your device is lost or stolen. You can also wipe all your data on your phone from a remote location using a special app you can download.

Use Credit Cards to Shop Online

When shopping online, only buy from trusted and secure websites. To pay for your purchase, lean towards credit cards because they offer more protection than debit.

Recently cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have grown in popularity as ways of investing and buying goods and services online. But are they secure? For more information, read our post How Secure is Bitcoin?

Ignore Unsolicited Requests For Account Information

Never respond to an email or text from a financial institution that asks for your account number or financial information. Only respond if you initiated the contact and the bank is responding to your request. Use the phone number on the back of your debit or credit card and contact your financial institution if you think a message is suspicious.

To Recap…

Mobile banking has become an increasingly used method for people to handle their daily financial lives. This is due to the rise of internet connected mobile devices, which have provided benefits to people all around the world. However, ongoing technological developments in this area also provide opportunities for cyber thieves to steal data. Having good mobile habits can protect you from these security risks, regardless of the changes to mobile technology in the future.

Did you find this useful? If so please share and comment!