Generally speaking, banking on your smartphone is more secure than doing it on your computer. That is because there are fewer nasty viruses targeting your smartphone (although there are still too many). Another important point is that the apps are issued by the banks themselves. Meaning it’s in their own interest to make them as secure as possible.
Just be aware when downloading your bank’s official app from the Play Store, in particular but to a lesser extent from the Apple App Store. There are many apps masquerading as official. When in reality, all they want to do is harvest your login details and clean out your account before you realize. This is where Apple’s zealous approach to approving apps that go into their store can pay off. However, get the right app, and you’ll be okay.
Banks have recently started updating their own apps to utilize fingerprints or two-step verification. It is in a bid to prevent unauthorized access on a stolen device. This step immediately increases security, and decreases the chances of someone getting your details.
Despite this, we’d still recommend not doing your online banking, or any app which uses sensitive data, on a public Wi-Fi network such as in Starbucks or somewhere similar. These networks are, be definition, not particularly secure. They should only be used for non-sensitive browsing and other things. If you are out and about and really need to use your banking app, then switch Wi-Fi off and use mobile data. It’s not 100% secure, but it is safer than using open Wi-Fi networks.
There’s a reason why many banks use drop down letter and number selectors when asking for login characters. This prevents keystroke recording, so don’t be tempted to type the character and tab along as some apps allow. Out of all the things that you don’t want to happen with your online life, surrendering your banking login details is at the top of the list. Anything else can be messy but sorted quite quickly. Yet lose all your money to an intruder and it gets extra messy. Especially when you don’t have access to funds when you need them.
Your bank may go some way towards indemnifying you against fraud. However they’ll only give you the money back if you haven’t been careless and even then only once they’ve done a full investigation.
However much you’ve heard about secure password and PIN codes, double the value that advice for mobile banking. Lock your phone and, if your app needs a second PIN to unlock that, use a different one that you don’t use for anything else.
Really, mobile banking is very safe and very secure. It’s the human bits of the process that add the elements of risk. When you use an ATM, you will likely always cover the keypad when you type in your PIN. Do you do that when you unlock your phone or your apps? Probably not. Human nature, and the nature of smartphones means we all want stuff done 15 minutes ago. Therefore we ignore basic, sensible security measures.
Stay safe by staying sensible. Your wallet will thank you for it.