Around half of us now manage our money online, according to the Office for National Statistics.
These days you don’t even need to be at a computer to manage your accounts, you can do it through your smartphone.
Banking applications allow you to pay bills, transfer money and keep an eye on your finances. But are they safe?
Is mobile banking risky?
That really depends on the application. Most internet banking providers invest heavily in the security of their mobile applications.
Stay safe on your mobile
- Never leave your device unlocked
- Keep the apps on your phone regularly updated
- Try not to use unsecured wi-fi networks for banking, purchases or checking your emails
- Take care when downloading apps – if something looks too good to be true, it probably is
- Encrypt your phone
- Check the security settings in your device to ensure maximum protection
These apps often have limitations on the amount of money they can transfer to minimise the risks.
Alternatively, they might require a code from a token or card reader to authorise larger transactions.
Often, doing your banking through your smartphone may be more secure than on a standard computer but there are some exceptions.
The most important thing is to make sure you use the official application for your bank and that you keep it updated.
Check that your bank’s mobile app has been validated for its security. Firstly, you should look on the bank’s website for their own published statement on how they have validated the security of their app.
If you can’t find anything there, look for views from other customers that have used the app. One way to do this is to put the bank’s name and ‘mobile app’ in an internet search engine such as Google to see what views there are of the app.
Are the risks different to normal online banking?
Generally speaking, there is far less nasty stuff targeting smartphones than traditional computers, which in a way makes them more safe.
That said, there are over 650,000 malicious Android applications out there. Many of them are fake banking applications that claim to be official.
Much like a phishing campaign, these applications are put onto various app stores where they wait for users to hand over their banking information.
It is critical that you make sure you install the right banking application.
Check your bank’s official website for the latest advice on how to safely download the latest version of their banking app to suit your phone.
Extra: What is an app?