Mobile Security

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How to Enjoy Mobile Banking and Still Be Safe


Today we use our mobile phones for just about everything, so it is no surprise that the number of mobile banking users has doubled over the last three years.1

Most banks have worked to make it easy by optimizing their websites for mobile devices, allowing you to check your account and make payments and transfers on the go. But while a number of mobile users find this incredibly convenient, they are still in the minority, representing around 12% of online adults. 2

What about the rest? Studies have shown that the number-one concern for mobile users is a perceived lack of mobile security and Internet safety, and many avoid mobile banking for this reason. This perception is actually slowing the rate of mobile banking adoption, according to Javelin Strategy & Research.

Consumers' concerns over mobile banking and mobile security are understandable. Not only do users face mobile browser threats, but there has also been a rise in dangerous applications. Some users have even received text messages from scammers pretending to be their bank and asking for personal information, which has caused further hesitation.

Losing your mobile phone or tablet is another concern when it comes to online banking. If your online banking sites are set to automatically log you in, a thief could potentially access your account and make unauthorized transfers and payments.

Although these threats are real, the truth is that the banks are doing their part to make mobile transactions safer by offering multifactor login procedures that reduce the chance that a thief can guess your login information, and by using encryption that ensures that your sensitive information cannot be read if it is intercepted.

And, there are a number of steps that you can take to protect yourself while still enjoying the convenience of mobile banking. Here are a few:

  • Download your bank's mobile application so you can be sure you are visiting the real bank every time, and not a copycat site.
  • If you use Wi-Fi, connect to your bank's mobile site or app securely by making sure that your wireless network is secure. Never send sensitive information over an unsecured wireless network, such as in a hotel or cafe.
  • Password protect your device and set it to auto-lock after a period of time.
  • Don't store data you can't afford to lose on an unsecured device.
  • Do not share or disclose your bank card number or password to anyone other than your bank.
  • Don't share any information about your account via text message.
  • If you receive a text message from your financial institution, delete it after reading.
  • Frequently check your financial statements for any anomalies.
  • Report any banking applications that may be malicious.
  • If you lose your mobile phone, or change your number, contact your financial institution so they can update your mobile banking information.
  • Before downloading any banking apps, read other users' reviews to make sure that the app is safe.
  • Don't try hack or modify your device since this could leave you open to malware attacks.
  • If you have to check your bank accounts in a public place such as a library or cafe, be safe and change your password immediately afterward.
  • Consider using a service such as McAfee® Mobile Security, which allows you to remotely lock your device and delete all personal information in the case of theft or loss, as well as locate the device via GPS. It also provides mobile antivirus and safe search protection.

In case something does go wrong, you should also know how to alert your bank to fraud. Look for specific instructions on their website and have their number handy in case you need it.

1 Forrester
2 Trusteer, Jan 2011

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