Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Traveling This Summer? How To Use Your Smartphone Banking Apps - Safely

Years ago, almost everyone visited a Bank at least once a week. As ATM machines proliferated bank visits dropped off. Broadband Internet enabled the next step, allowing Online Banking from the comfort of home - with a desktop PC.

Today, nearly every Financial Institution has an App that allows customers to perform 90% of their transactions from a Smartphone or Tablet. Pay Bills, Deposit Checks, Transfer Money between accounts, monitor credit card transactions - it's all available using a pocket device. These services are particularly convenient when traveling. But, there is a downside - security. Convenience and security are always difficult to reconcile. So, here are a few tips that should help you "navigate these waters" safely.


1. Always use the latest version of your Banking App. Check for updates - the Apps are often updated to patch vulnerabilities.

2. Don't use your Banking Apps when you are connected to a Public WIFI Hotspot. Airports, Coffee Shops, Hotels are all notorious for open WIFI hackers. Your App may provide a secure encrypted connection across these Networks, but there are too many variables. Stick with your Cellular Connection when using your Banking App.

3. Suppose you are unable to obtain a Cellular signal and your only alternative is WIFI? Consider a good VPN (Virtual Private Network). You can find more information about VPN's here.

4. Always use a PIN code on your mobile device.

5. Always logout of your Banking App when you have finished using it - even if you have a PIN code on your mobile device.

6. Make sure that you are using a "Good Password" on your Banking App. What is a Good Password? One that includes at least 12 random - numbers, letters, characters (-/:;&@$), upper and lowercase. This Password should not be used with any other service - it must be unique.

Happy travels!