Comfortable but dangerous?
This is how mobile banking works safely
May 24, 2022 at 3:31 p.m.
Banking on the go? This is very convenient with many banking applications. But is mobile banking safe? You have to pay attention to these things.
Whether checking your account balance or making a transfer: banking transactions can be carried out quickly and easily with your smartphone. In principle, there is nothing wrong with it, if you follow some basic rules.
It starts when users download a banking app. “Use only authorized app stores for this,” advises Tanja Beller of the Berlin-based Association of German Banks. For example, Google Play Store or Apple App Store. If you want to be sure, you can also pay attention to the publisher under the app title, says Ralf Scherfling of the NRW consumer center in Düsseldorf.
Beller discourages the use of download offers from external sources, for example from third-party websites. You should also not follow any links that are sent to you by email or SMS. “There is a risk of downloading an infected app,” warns Beller.
Never save login details on your smartphone
Anyone who only uses their smartphone for online banking has the banking app and the verification process via SMS tan or push tan on their cell phone. According to Scherfling, it’s even more important to protect the banking app with a strong password. According to Beller, biometric features like fingerprints or facial recognition are now enough to open the banking app securely and reliably.
Also critical: Never save login data on the mobile device, “not even as a photo or in an address book entry,” says Beller. Criminals would not only be able to see this data if the device was stolen. Even without physically holding the device, criminals could read the data.
In addition, users should always keep their banking app up-to-date and regularly install new updates, “also only from the official app store,” Beller recommends. You can also protect your device from malware by installing a virus scanner.
Public WiFi connections are taboo
If you bank on the go, you should avoid using public Wi-Fi connections if possible. Your own data connection is more secure. “It’s also a good idea to leave your device’s Bluetooth connection turned off while using the banking app,” says Beller.
In general, there is a lot to say about a banking app. “Compared to classic online banking on a PC, mobile banking with the right banking apps is particularly fast and convenient for many basic functions,” says Beller. For example, many applications can automatically read transfer data from invoices, transfer slips, or receipts through the smartphone’s camera and convert it into an electronic transfer in a few seconds.
If the card is lost, the application must be deactivated
Limits can also be set in the banking app. “This allows you to determine the maximum amount of money that can be transferred from your account at one time or in a given period of time,” said Beller, a spokeswoman for the bank. This can usually be configured in the app’s security settings.
If your own bank card is lost or stolen, you can use the app to block it temporarily or permanently. If your smartphone is stolen, the network operator should block it as soon as possible, says consumer advocate Scherfling. In addition, it is necessary to quickly inform your own bank or savings bank about the theft, the financial institution can disable the banking application.
Check account and securities account transactions regularly
Anyone who has loaded a digital card on the device to pay with their smartphone must also have it blocked. The best way to find out how to do this is to ask your bank. In an emergency, the central lockout emergency numbers, which are available 24 hours a day, can help, such as 116 116 or, for calls from abroad, +49 30 4050 4050. “It’s ideal if you have your IBAN to hand or card number.” Beller says.
According to Scherfling, in addition to locking the account quickly, it’s also important to clarify how you want to quickly access your account again in the future. “For example, there is the possibility of using an alternative method of online banking or the same on a new smartphone,” says the consumer advocate.
In any case, it is convenient to carry out banking transactions through a smartphone. To ensure that all debits are correct, users should regularly check their account and escrow account balances and transactions. “Also, depending on the bank, you can also turn on notifications,” says Beller. You can be informed about changes in your own account by push message, SMS or email. However, this may incur costs.
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