Is Mobile Banking More Secure than Online Banking?
by Dan on May 28, 2012
Our banking habits underwent some radical shifts from traditional bank walk-ups to online banking through computer and, in the recent years, to mobile access through banking apps on smartphones. Mobile banking is especially on the rise. About 50 percent of consumers have accessed their accounts through mobile phones in the past six months. This could be a sign people trust that their phones are a secure and reliable tool for accessing their bank accounts. The question is, should they?
The Issue of Accessibility Before Security
It’s not that accessibility should come first. It’s just that most consumers using mobile apps or browsers for bank transactions think of accessibility as a deciding feature to do mobile banking. Smartphones are within their arm’s reach. They’re not just made for voice calls and text messages, they’re there to do just about anythin—from navigating our way through the city to paying for daily purchases. The fact that they’re always on and available means that we can finally bank or monitor our accounts 24/7. We can perhaps avoid identity theft if we can link an account to a phone and monitor it for fraudulent transactions real-time. So this makes accessibility, as a feature, a contributing factor to a secure and reliable mobile banking experience.
Securing Both Platform is Just a Start
Each banking system has its own share of security vulnerabilities although industry writers often point to the infancy of mobile banking while online banking has been around for a little longer. Does this mean mobile banking is more prone to malware and cyber attack and that online banking offers a more mature line of defense? Not necessarily.
Hackers will always find ways to attack even the most sophisticated banking security devices provided by financial institutions, be it mobile or browser-based. Banks, though, are keeping a close watch on them. Financial risk executives are ready to deploy mobile channel defenses and increase fraud prevention technology for online banking access. It’s a promising start but it doesn’t guarantee 100% protection against banking fraud. The final act of fighting against malware and other cyber scams is on the hands of consumers. The problem is, many of us forget that hand-held gadgets, like bigger computers, are also prone to identity theft.
Making Full Use of Security Apps and Software
It’s an irony that many mobile users are willing to download suspect apps and yet ignore anti-theft apps for their devices. This attitude carries an element of high risk. It’s not even that difficult to secure transactions and it definitely doesn’t require a lot of money. Start by activating your phone’s privacy and safety features. Use a PIN or password that’s hard to crack. And don’t forget to make full use of an app’s or a software’s built-in security features such as automatic text-backs for transaction authentication.
Although banks typically use high-grade encryption technology to safeguard customer information, there’s no excuse not to log out after every session or clear your browsing history regularly. Also, beware of suspect apps that are freely available on open platforms such as Google Play. Make it habit to read app reviews and news on trusted technology websites before downloading or purchasing one.