What are the risks of banking on your smartphone?

Being able to bank on the move seems great, but how safe is it?

Person uses their phone and an atm is phone banking a safe option

Banking just keeps getting easier. From the time when you could only access your money during the week by physically going into your local branch, to the advent of ATMs, credit cards, phone banking and internet banking. But with each new development that has improved our access to our money, there have also been security risks along the way.

The latest and easiest way to keep track of your money is to bank using your smartphone. You can log in to banking sites via mobile internet connections, use banking apps that link directly to your financial accounts or even transfer funds via email or social media.

The banks wouldn’t make this technology available if it wasn’t safe, but there are a number of things you need to remember to protect yourself when you are using your smartphone or device for banking.

1. Download the updates
W some applications you have on your phone or device, you can afford to be a little lax, but when it comes to your money you want to ensure you are checking for updates frequently. These changes will be there to fix any potential security breaches. If you let these updates pass, you will be vulnerable to hackers who aim to exploit any software weaknesses. It is also best to download any updates directly from your bank’s official website rather than the app store to avoid any hoax applications that may try and steal your account numbers or passwords.

2. Sign up for account alerts
Most banking apps allow you to sign up for alerts whenever there is activity on your account. You should definitely activate this feature as you will be able to spot any fraudulent charge or withdrawal immediately.

3. Set a strong password
This is the obvious stuff and most banking apps won’t allow you to set a weak one, but try to make your password as difficult to guess as possible. Microsoft’s advice when it comes to setting passwords is to have eight or more characters featuring a combination of numbers, letters and symbols or punctuation marks.

4. Protect your connection
The number one way scammers and hackers will try and steal your data is by setting up false connections. Banks have strong security precautions set up at their end, if there are weaknesses that allow fraudulent transactions, they will most likely come from your end. To that end, you should never use public wifi for accessing your banking apps and you should never send sensitive information to your bank via text message.

If you would like more information the Australia Federal Police has a mobile banking fact sheet available at afp.gov.au.

Do you bank using your smartphone? Is this something you will consider in future? Share your experiences in the comments section below.



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    Old Geezer
    12th May 2017
    Those Paywave credit cards are a bigger problem than mobile banking. No pin no nothing required to use them until you balance is exhausted. I have disabled mine so Paywave doesn't work.
    12th May 2017
    oh there he is again the little ray of sunshine.

    I am rather interested on how you disabled Paywave because to the best of my knowledge you cannot have it disabled, it is a permanent feature.

    Mobile banking, internet banking, Paywave are awesome if you know how to use them securely.
    12th May 2017
    I didn't know you could do that OG. I have my card wrapped in alfoil to prevent skimming.
    The banks say they are supposed to be more secure than the cards without them but I can't see how.
    As for mobile phone banking - it is such a high risk.
    If I run out of money and have to say goodbye to the computer, NBN etc then I would probably set up an account with a minimum balance and then use the phone.
    12th May 2017
    There is a limit of $100 on payWave transactions without a PIN. I actually think payWave is more secure than people looking over your shoulder as you type in your PiN. I have had my credit card used fraudulently twice without it ever leaving my purse. Both times, the bank was onto it first advising me the number had been used overseas.
    Polly Esther
    12th May 2017
    Yes Trees, it is a permanent feature, a bit like our friend OG unfortunately.
    12th May 2017
    Rosret you can't disable Paywave, Old Geezer is telling tall stories.

    Protecting your cards with the appropriate sleeve is a very sensible precaution & mobile banking is the bomb, just make sure you have anti virus software on your mobile (which you should have anyway) but if you are happier doing telephone banking go for it. Its whatever works for you.

    As for the Paywave (Paypass) not being secure, still need to enter a pin for anything over $100 & the daily limit is $1,000 for paywave transactions. Bank guarantee 100% reimbursement so you don't lose your money.
    12th May 2017
    Touche Polly Esther

    Yes Sundays the banks are pretty quick in identifying transactions that are out of the ordinary to your normal transactions. Something they do very well because it costs them I suppose (& technically it costs us as well)

    That is why when you go oversea's you should let your bank know so they don't disable your cards when you use it in another country. Although they do their best to contact you before they disable.
    12th May 2017
    Old Geezer still would like to know how you disabled the Paywave feature on your card
    Old Geezer
    12th May 2017
    Just use a torch and a knife. Look it up on YouTube as they have full instructions on how to destroy the Paywave circuit in your card. Takes me about 2 seconds now. That daily limit of $1000 is only on some cards. The default on most is the limit or more. I rang the bank and ask them to set the Paywave limit to a $1 but they refused. So I told them I would have to disable it myself. They replied that I could completely wreck my card so I said if I do then you will just have to issue me a new one. They still wouldn't budge so I fixed it myself. I look at it like this if my card doesn't work then a thief will find an easier target which will save me the trouble of telling the bank they weren't my transactions.

    It was funny the day a smart young girl told me that there was an easier way to scan my card and I said well show me. She didn't know what to say when Paywave didn't work and told me my card was faulty and I should get a new one.

    Also remember that banks allow your account to be overdrawn as a default setting. So you have to instruct them that your account cannot be over drawn no matter what.

    By the way some of those sleeves actually make the antenna in your card work better not shield it.
    Old Geezer
    12th May 2017
    I have never used phone banking so I can't comment on that.
    13th May 2017
    Sorry it took you too long to reply = you spent hours googling all of that information hahaha you are so predictable
    13th May 2017
    Keep up and be part of the real world OG, nothing wrong with Paywave, it's all about convenience. Better than waiting behind some old fart trying to remember/input a PIN.

    Anyway if the card is used without authorisation you tell the bank, they'll do what they do and refund your money within 2/3 days.
    12th May 2017
    You forgot to mention the most important thing, not to use wifi in public places
    12th May 2017
    True that Franky, good point
    Old Geezer
    12th May 2017
    Wifi in public places is just as secure as any Wifi. They just tell you that so you will pay for their more secure wifi. Nothing but a marketing tool to get you to spend money.
    13th May 2017
    OG are you a fool or just trying to get reactions - public WiFi can be set up in many different ways, some very secure and others very, very unsecured. Get yourself educated on the technology, the exact way it works and than comment.

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