Along with other significant advances in banking technology, mobile banking has completely transformed the way the consumer conducts financial transactions. From the “select-and-click” ease by which you can transfer funds or pay bills, to capturing an image of a check for deposit, there’s never been a time where banking has been easier. According to New York Research Firm Frost & Sullivan, 12 million people used mobile banking services in 2009. They say that number is expected to climb to 45 million by the year 2014. However, the convenience of mobile banking has raised a number of security concerns about identity theft. But by adherence to basic protective precautions, you can significantly reduce your chances of theft. For secure banking, at the very least, you should:
- Download an anti-virus app. Invest in anti-virus protection or use one of the many free versions available to smartphone users. You can also check with your bank about any security or identity theft protection features that you can enable.
- Enable remote wipe-out services. Most smartphones also offer wipe-out features like those provided by MobileMe for the iPhone, that automatically erase the information on your phone if you claim it as lost or stolen.
- Immediately log out. Make sure to go through the app’s formal log off process to ensure your account access information is secure of any bank apps or sites where your financial information is stored as soon as you’ve finished your transaction. Merely exiting a mobile banking application does not mean you’ve safely logged off.
- Mitigate risk with identity theft protection. Identity theft protection or insurance packages can usually be purchased from your financial institution. Some of these packages may already be included in bank fees you already pay. Check with your bank to find out if you have that protection.
- Download only authorized apps. Only downloading authorized smartphone apps, like those found in the Apple App Store or Android App Store, can reduce the possibility of downloading malware. This approach doesn’t guarantee virus protection or completely eliminate mobile banking risks, but it will limit the potential of security breaches.
- Don’t store log-in information: There is no reason to store log-in information of any kind, not even a user ID. Saving user IDs gives hackers less work to do when trying to steal your account information.
- Contact your service provider. If your phone is stolen contact your service provider as soon as you possibly can. You can ask them to freeze your service to prevent unauthorized transactions and monitor any activities on your account for a certain amount of time to be on the lookout for any suspicious transactions.
Mobility banking was designed to be a convenient, safe and hassle-free way to process financial transactions. Taking these precautions can go a long way in giving you the protection you need for secure banking and without fear of theft.