Your phone is your life, and with mobile banking (and even mobile payments) becoming the norm, your phone is also a big part of your financial life. While the ease and convenience of these online tools is amazing, you may be wondering just how safe it is to manage your money on your phone.
With a few simple steps, you should be well on your way to secure mobile banking.
Is it safe to do mobile banking on your phone?
Yes, if you do it right. While there’s no way to completely eliminate a security threat – no matter if you’re doing your banking online or on your phone – you can minimize risk and identify potential problems more quickly if you follow the steps outlined below.
1. Update your passwords. Seriously!
Here are a few guidelines for maintaining strong passwords:
- NEVER, ever, ever use the same password for multiple accounts.
- Create lengthy passwords with a variety of letters, numbers, symbols and capitalizations.
- Alter your passwords from one account to another.
- Change your passwords every two to three months.
- Use two-factor authentication whenever possible.
While it’s tempting to cut corners when it comes to security, you financial security is too important to risk it. These strategies make it much more difficult for anyone trying to log in directly to your account without your permission.
2. Check your financial accounts as often as possible.
Check your accounts regularly and make sure you recognize all the transactions that are coming through. If something looks unfamiliar, look into it and, if necessary, report any unauthorized purchases to your financial institution right away. Checking your accounts can also illuminate your spending habits and inspire you to take a closer look at your budget. Goodbye magazine subscription you never bothered to cancel!
3. Don’t use public Wi-Fi for mobile banking.
It’s great to be able to manage your money anywhere, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it everywhere. Using a public Wi-Fi network puts your security at risk, so resist the temptation to check your balance when you’re in line for coffee or before exercise class. If you use Wi-Fi a lot, consider installing a VPN (virtual private network) app, so you can connect securely. In a pinch, consider turning off Wi-Fi and connecting through your cell phone’s data instead, which can be safer than using a Wi-Fi network you’re not sure of.
4. Keep your credit and debit cards secure by using mobile wallets.
Paying with your mobile wallet (Apply Pay, Samsung Pay, etc.) is actually more secure than swiping a card. Each time you use your mobile wallet in a store it creates an encrypted code that can only be used for that specific transaction. The merchant never has access to your credit or debit information. Another bonus is that you can leave your credit and debit cards at home, so you don’t have to worry about theft.
It’s a mobile banking world, and we all live in it. Taking a few preventative steps can help you navigate that world confidently and securely as you tap, tap, tap your way to financial freedom.