Safe Mobile Banking

Mobile banking is becoming more popular with users across all age groups. Here are some tips to avoid the pitfalls that loom large

 

With newer handsets with bigger and better screens and updated operating systems (OS) entering the market, almost every bank is coming up with mobile banking solutions, especially via an app. Although there is a difference between mobile banking and mobile payments, both are becoming popular across bank customers. As the name suggests, mobile banking helps you to carry out regular banking transactions, like checking account balance, remitting money, paying utility bills and recharging mobile, data-card and direct-to-home (DTH) services. On the other hand, mobile payment means use of the handset to make payment for goods or services either at a shop physically, or remotely.
 
The main reason for the increasing popularity of mobile banking is ease and accessibility. You can use the mobile banking app for transactions from anywhere (with suitable Internet connectivity) for which, otherwise, you may have to spend considerable time visiting the branch. However, one needs to be careful while doing banking transactions and making payments using a mobile phone; else, you may suffer a financial loss.
 
Mobile banking has evolved from earlier SMS-based banking to app-based banking. Most banks have come out with their own mobile app for all platforms like Apple iPhones, Android-based devices, Windows phone and BlackBerry. 
 
Here are some safety tips to remember for mobile banking.
 
Always Use Secure Connection: As mentioned above, mobile banking requires you to be connected through the Internet. Since Wi-Fi connections, especially some free ones, are becoming more visible, we tend to use them. However, for mobile banking, avoid unsecured, public or open Wi-Fi connections. Unsecured wireless connections are susceptible to security breaches. So, use the 3G or 4G connection provided by your mobile operator. Also, make sure the signals are strong so that your transaction can be fast. 
 
Use Authentic Apps Only: Always use only those mobile banking app that your bank offers. Remember to download it either from the bank’s secure website (make sure to check if there is an ‘https’ before the bank’s name in the browser’s address bar) or an authorised app store. In addition, apply regular updates your mobile device and the mobile banking app. (One way is to visit the apps store on a regular basis and check if any update is available for the apps installed on your device.) Also, do not download and use apps from any third-party vendor. Stick to the official apps store and/or the bank’s website.
 
Malware/Virus: Over the past few years, several mobile devices, especially Android-based ones—due to the open ecosystem—are being subjected to malware attacks. ‘Jailbreaked’ Apple phones are also susceptible to malwares. To avoid this, install an anti-virus or anti-malware app on your device. Plenty of such apps are available free of cost. However, make sure to check the credibility of the creator of the app and read reviews. For Android-based devices, Avast Anti-virus is one such free app.
 
Phone Security: Never store your mobile banking credentials, like mobile personal identification number (mPIN) or login ID, on the handset. Keep your mobile phone locked either with a password or screen-lock pattern that is hard (for others, not you!) to detect and misuse. If possible, use a good, i.e., rated, software to lock your mobile banking app so that nobody other than you can use it. For locking your mobile and apps, use a password that is not common and is random. Use the maximum number of characters allowed by the device’s OS.
 
Password Secrecy: Lastly, but most importantly, do not share your mPIN or username with anybody as it may be misused like a credit or debit card.
 
Happy mobile banking! 
Comments
Anand Vaidya
8 years ago
I think financial transactions via mobiles are very very unsafe.

1) Most (all) of the phones - especially Android, get no OS updates during their short lifetimes (2-3 years) , hence certainly will be running old, vulnerable OS even when purchased. Android is at v5.1 and most mobiles on sale are running some flavour of 4.x (even after 7 months of Android 5 release)

2) Another problem is related to easy loss or theft of phones vs. a secured desktop/laptop at home

3) Please note that many legitimate Android apps snoop on users files, data, contacts and insist on excessive permissions. eg: Why does a torchlight app need permission to read your contacts, phoneID, SMS, entire SD card, access to photos etc?

Just read the permissions required by flipkart app for another example

4) Installing "dodgy" apps (Many do that, right?) could be a huge hole in the security net
Krishna
8 years ago
Android has this option of phone encryption, if you are a frequent user of mobile banking it is good if you encrypt your phone, even if your phone is lost, your data would be safe(Refer avast website on how they extracted data from a hard reset)
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