Mobile banking and finance apps have become increasingly popular in recent years. These apps provide a quick and convenient way to see checking and savings account balances and make and receive payments.
It’s no surprise that many people use these third-party apps to manage their finances. In 2021, the U.S. saw 573.1 million finance app downloads, a 19% increase from the previous year.
However, despite its benefits, mobile banking isn’t immune to risks. This article will discuss the safety and security of mobile finance apps and give you a few pointers to protect yourself while using these apps.
Is mobile banking safe?
Yes, mobile banking is a pretty safe way to manage your finances; however, there can still be some risks associated with it, including fraud and scams.
If you’re careful, there are plenty of ways to protect yourself while using this incredibly easy banking method.
6 tips to improve mobile finance app security
Here are a few tips to help you improve the safety of your online financial accounts.
Ensure you’re downloading the official app
A bank’s website will often include links to their mobile apps that provide related mobile banking services, along with details about the app’s features and how users can use it. You should use a trusted platform when installing the app, like the App Store for iPhone or iOS users or the Google Play Store for Android users.
You should also take time to go through reviews and related information about the app before downloading it to ensure its legitimacy. If you have any doubts, clarify the issue with your bank before downloading what could be a fake banking app.
Set a strong password
While this may seem obvious, the reality is that many people don’t pay enough attention to their passwords. To create a strong password, you should use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters in no particular order or pattern.
In addition, security experts recommend long, complex passwords to exponentially increase the time it takes to crack them. It also helps to have unique passwords for each of your accounts.
If you’re concerned about remembering and managing multiple passwords, you can use a reputable and secure password manager like McAfee True Key to store your passwords.
Use two-factor authentication when possible
Many services nowadays offer two-factor or multifactor authentication. This function refers to the additional layers of security against hackers. On top of a traditional username-password login, users are required to identify themselves with a code that’s sent to their cellphone or email.
By confirming the user’s identity this way, organizations eliminate a degree of uncertainty. While it isn’t foolproof, two-factor or multifactor authentication helps increase security. It’s worth checking if your finance app offers this feature.
Avoid public Wi-Fi when using finance apps
Public Wi-Fi networks are convenient in urgent situations; however, they often come with a warning saying the network is unsecured. This means that the network is unencrypted, making it easy for hackers to access your personal information. The best practice is to avoid using public Wi-Fi networks, especially when carrying out any form of financial transaction.
If you need to make purchases or send and receive money while on the move, though, you’ll want to consider a virtual private network (VPN) like McAfee Secure VPN. The VPN provides a secure network even when using public Wi-Fi by hiding your IP address and encrypting your data.
Get email/text alerts for potential fraud
The easiest way to protect your finances is to keep a vigilant eye on all of your transactions. However, security notifications from your bank are a great added measure. Most credit card companies allow you to turn on transaction alerts for various services, such as balance transfer requests, international purchases, and exceeded credit limits, which can help you recognize any suspicious activity on your account.
It’s also important to remember that financial institutions will never contact you over the phone or through email to ask for your banking information. If you receive such a message, it’s most certainly a scam. A common way people get duped is through calls or emails claiming they’ve won a prize and need to share personal account details to receive the money. Never share your bank account details, passwords, or one-time codes with strangers.
Always check with your bank to confirm any activity that seems out of the ordinary. In addition to alert notifications, banks can also send helpful tips to protect your account against fraud.
Use McAfee Security for Mobile
McAfee Security for Mobile is an award-winning cybersecurity tool that helps address the issues mentioned above and more. It’ll scan your device for malware, suspicious websites, and unsecured Wi-Fi networks so you can use social media or shop online with complete peace of mind.
It also comes with other features, like system cleaning services that clean junk from your phone’s storage. These features can boost battery life and help locate your phone if it’s ever stolen or misplaced.
Are mobile banking apps as safe as online banking?
Mobile and online banking both have their benefits and drawbacks, but which is the safer option? Experts often have varied opinions on the matter.
Some people believe it might be easier to download malware on a computer unknowingly, as it’s tricky to judge the authenticity of a website or malicious links. Users typically download apps from reputed app stores when using mobile devices, which lowers the risk.
On the other hand, professionals believe that both methods are equally safe. The choice depends on the network available to the user, as private networks are significantly less susceptible to hacking than public ones. Some users may prefer computers to mobile phones simply because they find it easier to perform tasks on a bigger screen.
See how McAfee Security for Mobile keeps your device safe
Both internet and mobile banking are convenient and offer a quick way to manage your personal finances, as you don’t have to travel to a physical bank or carry large amounts of cash in your wallet.
However, while mobile banking is generally considered a safe method of managing your finances, it can have some vulnerabilities that scammers may try to take advantage of.
Following the tips mentioned above — like using a private network, not sharing personal details with anyone, and using a comprehensive mobile security tool like McAfee Security for Mobile — can make all the difference.
The tool’s security features include safe browsing, a secure VPN, and antivirus software. This means you can use your mobile finance apps confidently knowing McAfee is looking out for you.