The 5 biggest mobile banking mistakes you should avoid

We use mobile baking apps daily, but some basic mistakes could be leaving us exposed. How many of these mobile banking security slip-ups have you made?

Love Money
Last updated: 22 August 2018 - 6.19pm

Mobile banking apps are a vital part of our everyday part of our lives, but it could be that the thoughtless use of these apps could be leaving us vulnerable to criminals. 

Here are the five most common mistakes to avoid.

Not checking the origins of an app

If you are downloading a banking app make sure you are getting it from a reputable source such as Apple iTunes or Android Marketplace and double check it is the bank’s official app.

Using public Wi-Fi

Don’t use your mobile banking apps when you are connected to a public Wi-Fi network.

[Read more: Banks overriding pin safety to allow transactions]

The fact these networks are open to anyone makes them a hacker’s paradise so you don’t know who is watching what you are doing.

Always use a secure Wi-Fi or your mobile network for mobile banking as they are far safer.

Make sure your Wi-Fi at home is safe by using a strong password and possibly encrypting it to make sure no-one else is using it.

Sharing your one-time password

Many banking apps require you to enter a one-time password (OTP) in order to access your account.

This can be generated by an external device or sent by text, depending on who you bank with.

As we wrote about earlier, criminals are coming up with increasingly devious ways to get this code.

It’s vital you never share it with anyone.

Banks have been known to refuse refunding victims of fraud as they say doing so effectively absolves them of any responsibility.

Not sending a test transaction

It’s now possible to set up a new payee purely through your mobile banking app.

However, with the screens being smaller, it can be all too easy to get the details wrong and transfer money to the wrong account.

The best way to get around this, especially if you’re planning to transfer a large sum, is to first send a small amount (say £1) and check it arrives in the preferred destination.

Once you’re sure, you can send the larger amount with confidence.

Not keeping your phone up-to-date

If you are using banking apps make sure you keep them regularly updated so that you have the latest security protection from your bank.

Hackers are constantly evolving their techniques and if you don’t keep your app – and your phone’s software – up-to-date you run the risk of becoming vulnerable.

Also, consider installing anti-virus software on your smartphone to protect it.

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Allowing anyone access to your phone

Make sure your phone has pins and passwords set up so only you can access it.

Without these anyone could pick up your phone and potentially access your bank accounts.

Also make sure you have strong online banking passwords to protect your accounts. Storing passwords on phone

Having a strong internet banking password is completely pointless if you then store them on your phone allowing anyone who steals your phone free access to your bank accounts.

Finally, never store any passwords on your phone or tablet. You’re only making life easier for criminals if you’re phone ends up in the wrong hands.

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