Why you should never bank with your smartphone

So, you want to bank using your smartphone?

How mobile banking steals from you

Unless you are using the app of a reputable institution, you probably should not be conducting bank transactions on your mobile phone. Not all banks and financial services providers have the same standard of secure software for smartphones.

Comparison site Canstar’s most recent mobile banking award gave the Commonwealth Bank the top rating because, among other state-of-the-art features, its smartphone app ticked all the security boxes.

ING Direct was the only other finance firm to top the security criteria, which tested capabilities such as overdrawn fee alerts, PIN/password strength rules, finger print verification and the availability of secondary authentication.

Many other banking institutions offered far fewer security features.

Check out your bank’s security score and if you still prefer convenience over caution, there are ways to maintain electronic protection while making financial transactions on your smartphone.

  • Ensure you have a passcode to lock your phone so that if you lose it, the finder will not be able to easily access the information you have stored in it.
  • Use an app to find and protect your lost or stolen phone. Both Android and Apple phones have apps that allow you to use other devices to find your phone, lock it remotely and even erase all the data on it. Go to Apple Store and Google Play to locate the apps.
  • The older the software on your phone, the more likely it is to offer inferior protection. Device makers regularly improve the security settings of their software. If you receive a message that an update is available, don’t ignore it. Download the update so you know your device is protected with the latest security features.
  • Don’t do your banking while connected to free public wifi. Hackers are constantly looking for information available on unsecured networks that they can use to steal identities and your money.
  • The same goes for having your Bluetooth switched on. This makes your phone transactions more visible to hackers. Switch it off before you do your banking.
  • If you receive an SMS asking you to update your personal information, ignore it. Banks do not make these requests through SMS, but scammers looking to steal your identity do.
  • Don’t link your debit card to any apps or accounts through your phone. Debit accounts do not have the same level of security as credit cards. With a credit card, if you notice unauthorised transactions, your bank may refund the missing money. But if someone steals from your debit card, you have next to no chance of recovering your funds.

Do you use your smartphone for banking? Have your bank accounts ever been hacked through your mobile phone? What other security tips do you use to keep your banking details safe?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    14th Nov 2017
    The banks seem less worried about customer security than I do.
    The pay wave seems to be the weakest link. Steal a wallet and its zap zap zap no questions asked for $1k a day.
    I still haven't figured out how the new cards with the chip on them are more secure than the ones without.
    Then the old fashioned cheque. The bank tellers don't even check the signatures.
    Do I feel internet banking is safe?
    It is only as safe as my personal computers firewall and the locks on my house that have the passwords written down and hidden. Long gone are the secure vaults of a bank and the guarantee of secure deposits.
    Using a smart phone takes it down yet another safety level. I would never use my smartphone to bank. However the younger generation do.
    Their message to me is that they only keep a small amount in their working account and that's what they access from the smart phone. So I suppose its one step more secure than cash in a wallet.
    15th Nov 2017
    It's called convenience Rosret, sure someone steals your card and they can PayWave but the bank WILL reimburse you the full amount. What happens to any cash in that wallet...gone, banks aren't reimbursing that.

    Tellers will check signatures if the cheque is over a certain amount, again the bank has set a limit for convenience where they cash the cheque and if it's a fraud the bank will reimburse their customer. I worked in a bank over twenty years ago and we were doing that back then.

    I happily use my phone for banking, knowing that the bank will reimburse me for any fraudulent transactions and I'm definitely not the younger generation.
    Old Geezer
    14th Nov 2017
    I have turned off paywave and international usage for all my credit cards online.
    14th Nov 2017
    So you’re that guy holding up the line at all the checkouts waiting to enter your pin code :)
    14th Nov 2017
    So Raphael it seems your life is so more urgent and important then mine and others.
    Get real, we engineers built this world and made it better.
    What have you ever done that matters?
    14th Nov 2017
    Judging from that comment Gray , looks like I’ve done heaps more than you
    Now stop wasting my time . If you can’t keep up with the times , stay at home and do on line shopping
    14th Nov 2017
    Ah Raphael it is important not to fall into the trap of "You are old fashioned and out of date" if you don't embrace new technology.
    This is my field of expertise and my alarm bells ring all the time.
    If we aren't doing someone out of a job we are readily sacrificing security and privacy for convenience.
    14th Nov 2017
    More important NEVER do any banking on a free or freely available network or WiFi like a city mall or any other Wi Fi not protected
    14th Nov 2017
    I never use a phone app for banking and transaction. I am an ex computer security guy
    There are no secure phone aps irrespective of the best the banks can do.
    None of the basic core the OS that runs the phone app are secure. Identify and card theft is rife.
    All the governments in the world are not keen on 100% secure computers and phone
    With the government planning to ban encryption we are all going to loose big time
    14th Nov 2017
    I never do banking online. I do however use telephone banking to pay my bills by Bpay but do it from my landline not mobile.

    I use cash for my houskeeping. That way I keep track of my spending.
    All other purchases, spending, is done via credit card which is paid off each month.
    14th Nov 2017
    Radish as soon as you signed up for the NBN that phone call you are making on your landline is now through the internet.
    14th Nov 2017
    Use the KISS principle and simply use cash for many reasons
    15th Nov 2017
    Well you are gonna be the real loser using cash. If you get robbed
    or lose your wallet you never gonna see your cash again. Gone forever. If your card gets stolen or used fraudulently you get every cent back. So up to you Johnp!
    Polly Esther
    14th Nov 2017
    The waving of your phone over a machine to pay a bill may look impressive but I 'm pretty sure it's unsafe for your purse.
    I think it is akin to the old time saying "keeping up with the Joneses"
    Now, is it, look at that dude, my phone's real hep and I'm cooler than you ?
    Sorry, just amusing myself LOL :-)))
    14th Nov 2017
    Yes, doesn't it seem insecure. I have alfoil in my purse to protect the cards.
    14th Nov 2017
    Agree with most here and especially Polly. A bit unrelated but I remember couple times I called into a bank branch to do something like change my investments etc with the teller or advisor there. Lo and behold a day after, a couple of emails came in to me which were scams !!
    14th Nov 2017
    Yes, JohnP, I've had that happen to me and when I've rung the bank about it I'm informed, airily, 'Oh, that happens a lot, unfortunately there's nothing we can do about it'.
    14th Nov 2017
    Hmm, so many sceptics here from a yarn meant to scare you. However, there is one major failing in the story which I believe has been deliberately omitted!

    All financial institutions underwrite all fraudulent or hacked transactions. Often instantly, even before you know your account has been breached.

    As a global traveller in many dubious countries using all forms of electronic transactions by cards and on my phone I do not see or ever had a problem. Yes, there have been numerous times banks have called me and asked if I made particular transactions. Within hours the amounts have been refunded and no further questions asked. I have also seen some transactions appear on my statements that I never made. The most recent only a few weeks ago. I called Amex who immediately quarantined the transaction and within days it was refunded.

    So what's all the drama about? Just scare tactics I think to older and vulnerable Aussies!
    14th Nov 2017
    You have transactions on your card that you didn't make and you aren't worried about it! Your card has been breached - you should be concerned.
    ..and it has nothing to do with age, strikey. Its age that has made us very wise.
    People have had their lives ruined by identity theft. It is a big deal.
    14th Nov 2017
    @Rosret, if we believe everything we read in the media and live in perpetual fear of it then life ain't worth living. Big brother has more information stored about you than you would ever wish to know. It's ready to access anytime they want and there is nothing you can do about it.

    Did you know that you can now log onto your profile on the ATO through my.gov.au and see all the financial records of your life there including your all your bank accounts, superannuation policies and the like. Scary stuff if you wanna live in fear of it.

    I am not going to worry about the safety of my bank accounts because someone writes a mere story about what "might" happen. As long as the banks continue to underwrite the dodgy dealings of scammer/fraudsters we have nothing to worry about.
    15th Nov 2017
    Finally strikey someone with common sense - it's 2017 people, electronic banking is what it's all about. Do you people have any idea of the volumes of transactions being made in Australia electronically, in 2016 there was over 8 billion electronic transactions with a fraud rate of 0.0348%. Of course there are people stealing money out there but that's nothing new, it's been happening forever in different ways.
    The fact is the banks want you to do electronic banking, and they will reimburse you when something goes wrong, just like strikey says credit cards are monitored far better than they ever have been.

    Accept the convenience that the banks are providing by using electronic banking of all kinds, just remember it won't be too far into the future when actual banknotes will be gone and you won't have a choice.
    29th Nov 2017
    14th Nov 2017
    Very interesting show on the ABC tonight. "Keeping Australia Safe".
    Delete all your sent and received emails that were needed to be emailed for identification and passwords etc.
    There is a CentreLink scam out at the moment where they have used the voice recording from CentreLink to appear as though they are CentreLink.
    14th Nov 2017
    Surprising that there was no mention of using a VPN for security protection.
    15th Nov 2017
    What the writer failed to investigate in this story is that transaction tracking software developed by banking institutions globally is so technologically advanced it is mind blowing. The safeguards are so fast, would be thieves would hardly have time to leave a store with their loot before being nabbed. Of course they have limits to what they track. Amounts under $100 generally are not tracked unless there is a trend being developed.

    Here is a personal example. Last year I get a call asking if I am in or purchasing online in the USA. I check my phone and a few minutes earlier a $650 purchase at the NBA basketball online shop has been made with my card in the USA. While I was on the phone another purchase chimed in. The bank saw it too and instantly blocked my card. Their fraud detection unit was so fast on the case it was unbelievable. If I didn't have the card app on my phone I would never have seen the fraud. I explained I was travelling and still needed to use my card. So the fraud team asked where I was travelling and authorised my card to be only used in those areas. The rest of the world was blocked until they tracked and caught the perpetrators.

    Not for one second was I out of pocket or compromised. The app responses to my purchases are so fast it's often in nanoseconds.

    All you oldtimers waiting a month to check your paper bank statements are so far behind the crime you are left for dead. I strongly advise you get all the apps for all your accounts and get your transaction notifications in nanoseconds.
    15th Nov 2017
    ING is now called ING Bank. It is no longer called ING Direct.
    It is an excellent bank, with a great rate of interest in its Savings Maximiser account, and has had fee-free withdrawals from any ATM for ages, and now even overseas. I wouldn't go back to the Big 4 Bank I was with years ago, even if they paid me!
    15th Nov 2017
    I think the legalized robbers (insurance companies, govt, tax dept, big business/corps trying to rip off workers wages, super companies, etc etc) are more of a concern than mobile phone banking scams.
    15th Nov 2017
    Haha, that's so true. Thieving within the bounds of the law. No one dare ever challenge that.
    9th Dec 2017
    I had a look at the full list of banks and other institutions that Canstar considers the safest. Well, I disagree with the findings. My credit union was quite far down the list because of options it didn't offer on it's mobile app. To be honest, those options are ones I would much rather use at home on my computer than on my mobile app. Just because the app can do everything does not make it safer. Admittedly, all I generally do with the app is check my balance and transfer money between accounts - I don't want to be adding new payees and things like that when I'm out and about.

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