Smartphone technology and application innovations are changing the way consumers interact with products. Laptops and computers are no longer the main devices we use to browse. Research from IAB indicates that from the middle of 2016 we used our smartphones for over half of our daily internet usage, with time spent on desktop/laptops down to 42%. Our decision to choose (and stay loyal) to certain services is now influenced by their ease of use of mobile and financial services are no exception.
Globally, there is an upward trend of customers using mobile devices as their primary interaction with banks. Australians are leading that change with a faster uptake than any other nations, including US and UK. Over 38% of Australian consumers main interactions with their bank is through smartphones, with an increasing amount of people less likely to visit a local branch.
We are not just using smartphones to do our daily banking either. A host of companies now offer apps to budget monthly spend, manage credit card and loan repayments and even pay for products in-store. With so much of our financial information stored on our smartphones, it is important we keep them secure. Here we look at some ‘best practices’ to help you do just that.
1. Protect your personal information. Try saving as little as possible of your personal information on your mobile device, especially access codes and banking PIN numbers. If your personal information on a device that gets stolen, you are basically giving someone full access to your financial accounts. Also, refrain from using banking apps/sites on a shared device. You may forget to log out or remove personal information, which may impact your financial security.
2. Set a password on your phone. Using a secure password or PIN reduces the ease-of-access to information on your mobile and can help keep your finances secure.
3. Report lost or stolen phones straight away. In addition to reporting stolen phones to the authorities and your phone provider, report it to your financial providers if there are apps on the phone that give access to your accounts. In extreme cases, it could be beneficial to temporarily freeze certain accounts until you are able change your information and passwords.
4. Use secure networks. Try to avoid logging on to banking and financial service websites through a public network, such as ones offered in coffee shops. Public networks are not very secure and will leave you vulnerable. If you can’t resist checking your balances on the go and there isn’t a secure network available, switch to your cellular network as it provides more security.
5. Be wary of apps. It may seem obvious but only use official bank apps to access your accounts. Using a third party app could mean your information ends up in the wrong hands. Reference the app through the bank’s website to check you have the correct one. Also, be mindful of the apps you download to your device. Although malware is rare on smartphones, downloading an untrustworthy app could give someone access to your phone and lead to stolen finances.
6. Remove data from old phones. We frequently upgrade our smartphones to a newer model. When you do, be sure to remove all data from your old phone and restore it to its factory settings. You don’t want to leave personal information and passwords on a mobile device you sell as it could lead to identity theft. For added security, change your banking passwords at the same time.