Mobile banking – using banking apps or mobile websites on smartphones and tablets – is growing rapidly in popularity as people realise the benefits of the convenience of checking accounts, transferring money and making payments from the comfort of their armchair or whilst out and about. The major banks invest heavily in security to make your mobile banking experience safe and secure. However, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are using mobile banking responsibly to protect yourself and your finances.
- Unauthorised people – including criminals – gaining access to and using your bank accounts by finding or guessing your login details.
- Your confidential details and transactions being intercepted if the Wi-Fi you are using is not secured.
- ‘Shoulder surfing’ – people viewing what you are doing online, over your shoulder or via CCTV.
- Loss or theft of your mobile device, which could contain or provide easy access to bank accounts and confidential details.
- Being duped into visiting bogus banking websites, or downloading fake banking apps.
- Being persuaded to reveal confidential details to callers claiming to be from your bank or the police, telling you there is a problem on your account.
Safe mobile banking
- Make sure your smartphone or tablet is always protected with a PIN which is difficult to guess. Do not reveal your PIN to anybody, nor write it or store it where it can be found.
- Like online banking from a computer, choose, use and protect passwords and memorable words with great care.
- Take care not to leave your device unattended, or left or stored in an insecure place. Download a tracking app which allows you to erase your data remotely, or enable this feature if already on your device.
- Keep the banking and other apps on your device regularly updated.
- Always log out of your banking app or mobile website when you have finished using it. Closing the app or web page or turning off your device may not be sufficient.
- Do not use unsecured Wi-Fi networks for banking, purchases or checking your emails. In public places, it is very difficult to tell if a hotspot is secure or not, so it is always best not so use it. It is better to use a 3G or 4G internet connection, even if it is slower to do so.
- Take care when downloading apps: make sure that they are from an authorised store and check reviews and recommendations. There are thousands of malicious banking apps circulating, especially for Android devices, even downloadable from official app stores.
- Download, use and keep updated one of the many reputable internet security apps for your device.
- Check your device’s security settings to ensure maximum protection.
- Check that your bank’s mobile app has been validated for its security. Look on their website for their own published statement on how they have done this. Alternatively, check other app users’ views by searching online.
- Read your bank’s terms and conditions for mobile banking. Be sure you know what your responsibilities are, and those of your bank.
- On the app, find and use the option for a text message to be sent every time a transaction occurs on your account. This will notify you of fraudulent transactions as soon as they happen.
- Beware of emails, texts or phone calls claiming to be from your bank or the police claiming there is a problem with your account and requesting your login or other confidential details. Your bank or other authentic organisation would never request these details.
If you are the victim of an actual or attempted fraud
- Contact your bank immediately
- Report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre by calling 0300 123 20 40 or by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk. If you are in Scotland, contact Police Scotland on 101.
If you’ve experienced cybercrime, you can contact the charity Victim Support for free and confidential support and information.