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Mar 03

Is banking on your smartphone safe?

Posted by:AutoMoney

Smartphones and apps are capable of many great things, including the ability to check our bank balance by pressing just a few buttons. Some banks even go a little further and allow online banking customers the facility to pay bills, transfer money, and set up standing orders - all via their mobile banking apps. Huge numbers of people are now opting to use these methods as part of day to day life.

But how safe it is all?

If you are signed up to text message alerts from your bank when your balance falls below a certain amount, when a credit has been added to your account, or at a set time of the week / month, you are classed as relatively low risk for anything untoward to happen.

It is when you start to access your banking via a browser that can cause some issues.

Most banks or building societies offer mobile apps that can be downloaded direct from the app store or market place. These then need to be set up and verified with your bank - all part of the security procedures in place to keep everything safe and secure.

However, many people still use smartphone browsers to access their banking, submitting their private details into mobile cyberspace. The biggest risk to mobile online banking is that as smartphones get more and more sophisticated, there will be more items left open on the phone that can lurk in the background, potentially causing problems. If you have a virus or other malicious piece of software running on your phone in the background that you don’t know about, you could be leaving yourself open to some serious damage. However this is rare – phones these days do have a certain degree of security firewalls in place to stop the majority of nasty bugs in their tracks, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be cautious!

Is there anything I can do to protect myself?

Some phones, in particular Android devices, allow for third party anti-virus security software to be added, such as Kaspersky and Norton.

However, regardless of which device you are using and whether you do or don’t have security software, it’s wise to ensure that when you do access your banking via your smartphone, you are doing it in a place where you are not being watched – security threats can also come from people who steal your phone and know your banking code, too.

Some banks such as Barclays and NatWest also offer security software, so if you bank with these, it would be worth while checking what they can offer you.

What about the bank?

It is worth checking with your bank before you consider using mobile online banking as to whether they offer mobile fraud protection.

Also, if you are unfortunate enough to have your phone stolen, or you lose it, make sure that after you have called your network provider to cancel the device, you notify your bank – that way they can monitor any fraudulent activities that happen, such as any attempts to log into your online banking. 

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