How to stay safe when using mobile banking apps

According to the 2021 report from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Still, a new NerdWallet survey found that many people are hesitant to use mobile banking for security reasons. More than 2 in 5 (42%) bank customers who do not use mobile banking apps say they do not trust their security as a reason.

While those concerns are not unfounded, they shouldn’t get in the way of you and a successful mobile banking life. Here are some steps you can take to make sure you’re banking on your phone as securely as possible.

Only install trusted apps

Most mobile users use Android or iOS, both of which have app stores. For those with iPhones, that’s the Apple App Store, while Android users get the Google Play Store. These app stores are the go-to places to find authentic, secure apps.

Apple’s vetting process for all apps in its store includes a number of security assessments. These cover aspects such as standard privacy concerns and making sure the apps don’t mislead users.

Google offers apps certified by the Play Protect system. Play Protect scans apps added to your phone and can remove or disable potentially harmful apps. It can also warn you about apps that violate Google’s Unwanted Software Policy, which monitors app transparency and ease of use.

If you’re not sure which mobile banking app to install, go directly to your bank’s website on your phone. Most banks provide a link to the official app in the app store of your choice. If your bank doesn’t do this, get in touch to make sure you get the app you need.

Use two-factor authentication when available

Even Americans who use mobile banking apps — nearly three-quarters (74%) of users — are concerned about mobile banking, according to the NerdWallet survey. Of those, 63% say they are concerned about their accounts being hacked.

One of the best ways to keep your bank accounts safe no matter how you bank is to have a strong, unique password – “ILoveCats!” does not count. With a strong password, you can add a second layer of security with two-factor authentication or 2FA.

Two-factor authentication is like the doorkeeper at an apartment building. Just the key won’t get you into the apartment as the person at the door won’t let anyone in they don’t know without credentials.

With 2FA you have enabled an extra security step. This often means that you will receive a text message or e-mail with a separate code when you log in to your account. Also, if you require a text message, no one will be able to log into your account without access to your phone.

According to the NerdWallet survey, 38% of mobile banking app users are concerned that someone will be able to access their bank account if their phone is lost or stolen.

Manage access to your phone

To keep strangers out of your phone, make sure you have a strong lock screen pin, lock your screen when you’re done using your phone, and don’t share the pin with anyone.

But even if you do your best not to lose your phone – which can also be your wallet, house key, identity card and ticket – accidents happen. If your phone is lost or stolen, please contact your bank. As with a lost credit card, you can prevent problems by notifying your bank in time.

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Andrew Marder writes for NerdWallet. Email:

The article Staying Safe When Using Mobile Banking Apps originally appeared on NerdWallet.

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