Is Mobile Banking Safe for Customers? Precautions, Explained

Woman using mobile banking

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Kathryn Underwood - Author

As the prevalence of cyber security attacks seems to increase every year, it’s only natural for consumers to think about the safest ways to do their banking. If you’re keeping your money in a bank, you’re already placing some of your trust in that bank. But is mobile banking safe? How can you be sure your accounts are secure?

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Mobile banking, according to cyber security experts, is relatively safe. However, as with anything involving your personal data and financial information, it is up to the customer to practice security precautions.

Woman using mobile banking app

Source: Unsplash/Clay Banks

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Is mobile banking safe? There are some risks.

In general, what customers are most concerned about with mobile banking is any threat to their personal information or 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 its top risk for mobile banking customers. First, app-based banking trojans can cause hackers to install malware on your device. The second main issue is fake banking apps, which are used to trick customers into entering their login credentials.

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It is important to remember that there are security risks in both a physical bank building and a digital banking app. However, there are security measures you can take to ensure your bank accounts and devices are safe during mobile banking.

Follow these security tips for safer mobile banking.

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

  • Do not use public Wi-Fi.
  • Create a strong password.
  • Lock your phone whenever it is not in use.
  • Use two-factor authentication.
  • Download a certified banking app from the Bank’s website.
  • Watch out for text messages or emails asking for your information.
  • Use alerts on the bank app.

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A person who uses a mobile banking app.

Source: Getty Images/Anderson Coelho

Some of the precautions are common practice when handling sensitive information digitally. For example, in public places, avoid using public Wi-Fi when doing banking or checking credit card balances. Create and use strong passwords too (and use a password manager instead of saving passwords on devices).

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Another great security precaution is to download a mobile banking app directly from your bank’s website. Paul Benda, the senior vice president for operational risk and cyber security at the American Bankers Association, told Bank rate That’s the safest option because “The Banks use advanced encryption technologies that are extremely secure.”

Watch out for phishing and smishing.

When using mobile banking, you need to be aware of “phishing” and “smishing.” Phishing is the tactic used by hackers to send legitimate-looking email messages to trick users into giving away 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 it is done via text message. Whatever type of messages you receive, don’t automatically assume it’s from your bank. Pay attention to any abnormalities in messages claiming to be from your bank (misspelled words, faulty logo) and verify the sender.

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To protect mobile banking, don’t click on links in text messages or emails. Instead, navigate to your bank’s app, log in, and look for any messages or information there. Hackers are skilled 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 that scammers often send out. When doing mobile banking, remember that your bank shouldn’t ask you to “verify account information” via email or text, ask you to pay them in Bitcoin, or ask you to send money through another payment app.

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

Your bank’s mobile banking features should provide security. Advanced encryption technology should be used, and your app can use strategies such as app timeout (automatically logging you out after a period of inactivity) and easy locking of your debit card.

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