Is Mobile Banking Safe?

mobile bankingOne of the things I gave up long ago was driving to the bank to deposit checks.  Aside from my paycheck that’s automatically deposited, I mail all other checks directly to Perkstreet for my checking account deposits.  Any business checks I receive are deposited immediately with my Chase Bank iPhone app.

Using my iPhone to make deposits saves a lot of time.  I take a picture of both sides of the check and simply submit it for deposit.  I’ve never had a problem and it takes me about 2 minutes for the entire process.

Most major banks are now offering mobile banking apps to help people conduct their banking business on the go.  The primary functionality most of these apps provide includes the ability to check your account balances, transfer money, find ATMs and make deposits.

Is Mobile Banking Safe?

We know it’s convenient, but is mobile banking safe?  If you’re new to using these apps, or perhaps still on the fence, you may have questioned whether or not someone could gain access to your financial information.

I decided to see what others are saying about mobile bank safety and here are a few quotes from related articles:

CNNMoney -

With three channels of access (web, app, text messaging), multiple operating systems, and rapidly changing technology, it’s challenging for fraudsters to create widespread mobile scams, says Mary Monahan, Javelin’s mobile-research director.

Malware, the software likely needed for such an attack, virtually doesn’t exist for Apple’s iOS. Google’s Android platform is more vulnerable, says Kevin Mahaffey of mobile security firm Lookout.

Mobile banking — like online banking and ATM usage — is governed by federal “Regulation E,” which stipulates that you’re liable only for up to $50, provided that you contact your bank within two days of discovering a loss of money.

Bankrate

The good news is that the fear is so far worse than the reality, thanks in part to the financial industry’s heavy investment in security technology. Among other things, “all information transmitted between servers and the mobile device is encrypted as with regular online banking,”

Feeling better?  It seems there isn’t much to worry about, at least for now, according to the above sources.  Still, there will always be hackers and thieves out there so it’s still smart to take some additional steps to protect your financial information.

Steps to Protect Your Financial Data

Password protect your device – The iPhone in particular offers a way to set up passcode for your device.  This means that before using your phone you type in a 4 digit passcode.  I have this set up on my iPhone because I use it to receive work email and it’s a requirement by my employer.  However, if you use mobile banking apps on your phone (or other financial apps that access your data), I suggest you set up a passcode for an extra layer of security.

Make sure you’re only downloading through app stores – before downloading an app, make sure it’s through the app store and not some website.  You can be certain you’re getting the real banking app as long as you’re in the Apple or Google app stores.

Don’t save username or password information – some of these apps will allow you to store your username information.  While it’s somewhat inconvenient to retype it every time you access your account, I wouldn’t save my username.  Obviously, you would never want to save your password information if the app offered you this feature.

Always log off when done – this seems like common sense, but it’s easy enough to just close the app and not log off.  Most apps will log you off, but it’s wise to log off just to be certain.

Wipe your data – if you lose our phone, make sure you wipe your data and report theft immediately.  I wouldn’t really mess around with hoping you’ll recover your phone.  Just make sure you’re able to send a message that remotely wipes all the data if you’re certain you’ve lost it.  If you’re an iPhone user, you can set this up via the iCloud.

PC Magazine -

If you lose your phone, you can find it either by installing the free Find My iPhone app on another iOS device, or by visiting icloud.com, signing in, and using Apple’s Web-based Find My iPhone app. With either tool, you can remotely lock the phone with a passcode if you haven’t already, send a message to it, play a sound, or remotely wipe the phone.

 Popular Mobile Banking Apps

As I mentioned, most banks are now offering mobile banking apps and if not, provide a mobile banking website in which you can access your account information and other features.  Here are 4 popular banks and the features you can expect with each of them.

  • ING Direct (now Capital One 360) – Platforms include the iPhone and Android as well as a mobile banking website.  You can view balances, conduct transfers, pay bills, deposit checks and bump money (iPhone only). Bumping money is sending money from one phone to another with a “bump.” Very cool feature which makes this one of my favorites!
  • Ally Bank – Platforms: Android, iPhone and a mobile banking website.  You can access your accounts, make deposits, pay bills, transfer funds and locate ATMs.
  • ChasePlatforms:  iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, Windows Phone, Kindle Fire and mobile website.  You can access your accounts, make deposits, pay bills, transfer funds, locate ATMs, text banking (send a text and check account balances) and QuickPay (pay people directly).
  • Discover – Platforms: iPhone, iPad, Android, Amazon and mobile banking website.  Features include Account balances and transferring money.  Bill pay and deposits are coming soon.

Of course, there are many more.  Just search for your bank in one of the app stores or Google your bank and then “mobile” to find out what features and services are offered.

Is mobile banking safe?  For the time being, it appears to be safe to bank via these apps.  Just remember to use common sense and follow the tips I mentioned for the extra layer of security.  As for me, I’ll continue to enjoy more flexibility and save time while banking on the go!  :)

Are you using a mobile banking app?  Do you have any concerns with mobile banking safety?

 

About Jason Price

Jason Price is a family man saved by grace, passionate about faithful financial stewardship (1 Cor 4:2 NIV), soccer and the Pacific sun.

  • http://twitter.com/StumbleForward Chris Holdheide

    My wife and I have been doing online banking for quite some time now however we are not doing any type of mobile banking since we work with a more local bank that doesn’t offer the features that the bigger banks do. However over time as thing evolve I think it’s possible that this will happen.