Data Secure Apps Offer Bank Customers Peace of Mind
Making mobile deposits. Checking account balances. Paying bills. Consumers have embraced online banking via their mobile banking apps. Yet one in five (21%) U.S. consumers don’t use their bank’s mobile app. Given how personal banking information is and consumer fears about data and identity theft, that hesitation seems understandable. However, using data secure apps can be a safer option assuming everyone — banks and consumers — do their part.
How Banks Enhance App Security
Banks know their reputations are at stake when it comes to mobile app security. They protect both their customers’ data and their business by applying advanced security features to their mobile apps. Consumers that are hesitant to use their bank’s mobile app should look for these features that provide added layers of security.
Multifactor authentication (MFA): MFA requires two or more distinct identity verifications before allowing a user to access a site. For example, after you log onto your bank’s mobile app with a username and password, you might also need to enter a code sent to your cell phone via text. Requiring multiple layers of authentication reduces the chance that an unauthorized party can access your personal financial information.
Encrypted websites: Banks encrypt digital files and online and mobile transaction data. This means the data is converted from its original form into code making it difficult for hackers to easily access or decode the information.
Alert notifications: Banks may offer this layer of protection, but it depends on the consumer to use it. Banks provide their customers the ability to set alerts if specific things happen with their accounts. These may include alerts for any purchases made over a specific dollar amount, notices when a bank balance drops below a certain amount or flags about unusual activity, such as several purchases made within a short window of time.
Fraud monitoring: More and more banks are using AI and predictive analytics to find and stop fraudulent activity more quickly. Fraud monitoring covers many areas, but some AI insights include noting when the pace of account activity accelerates, when device and user location differ from the expected or how the user interacts with the account is outside the norm.
Using Bank Apps Lowers Risks
These enhanced security measures make your bank’s mobile app more secure. Those features protect the bank, but they also protect consumers and make it less likely that they’ll be victims of hacking or data theft. If you plan to use your bank’s app, only download it from a trusted source such as the Google Play Store or Apple’s App store. Accessing the official app over your mobile device means you won’t inadvertently be routed to a fake banking site. If you use the app rather than an online browser, there’s less chance of being routed to a fake online site. It also decreases the chance you’ll be a victim of malware and phishing attempts by clicking suspect links found in emails. It’s a good idea to treat every unfamiliar hyperlink with suspicion.
The Role of the Consumer in Data Secure Apps
Banks focus on improving the security of their apps and staying up-to-date on new threats posed by hackers. Yet ensuring data secure apps requires banks and consumers to work together. Here are more consumer tips for safe banking app use.
- Don't use public Wi-Fi. Public Wi-Fi offered by hotels, airports, restaurants and even by smart cities is convenient, but it may not always be safe. Never access your banking app over public Wi-Fi. Instead, use either your mobile phone’s Wi-Fi data plan or use a virtual private network (VPN) for access.
- Install updates when available. The main reason to install updates is because they often close critical security vulnerabilities. Failing to update may leave you vulnerable to hacks and other attacks.
- Use strong passwords and hard-to-guess PINs. Make it hard for any unauthorized user to guess your password or pin. Passwords should be a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters. PINs should not be something easily guessed, like a birthday for yourself, partner or child. They also shouldn’t be part of your Social Security number, phone number or address numbers.
- If available, set up biometric authentication. Many newer cell phones allow biometric authentication using facial recognition or fingerprint scanning. Biometrics make it harder for someone to break into a stolen cell phone or to access apps without the user’s permission. But remember, biometric data should be protected in the same manner as Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, and PINs.
- Know what your bank will and won’t ask you. Banks don’t ask for sensitive information through unsolicited emails, phone calls, or texts. Understand how to protect yourself from fraud by learning what banks will and won’t ask, how to spot a scammer, and how to keep yourself safe when using mobile devices.
It's wise to be wary about any mobile app, especially those that track personal financial information and data. Stay secure by knowing the steps your bank takes to protect you, and by doing your part to protect yourself as well.