Mobile banking and credit card apps give you the freedom to check your balance and pay your bills from pretty much anywhere. While the convenience factor is great, you also want to make sure that your personal information is protected and secure while using the app. Use these 5 tips to help boost your mobile banking and credit card app security.
1. Download Natively
There are lots of places to buy a new car, but you wouldn’t purchase one from an unauthorized dealer. The same holds true for apps. Only download a credit card app from your phone’s native app store. Otherwise, the proper security layers might not be in place, which can increase your risk of identity fraud. Third-party app platforms also carry the danger of offering apps that are actually malware. Cut your threat level by keeping it official.
2. Make All Updates
Be sure to stay on top of updating your mobile apps or consider enabling automatic updates. These updates install the latest protections—an important safeguard for any mobile app’s security as they reduce software vulnerabilities. When it comes to mobile banking or credit card app security, reducing these types of vulnerabilities helps keep would-be hackers out of your financial info. It’s also important that you update your phone’s operating system when prompted, as it adds an extra layer of protection.
3. Sign Out When Finished
After a certain period of inactivity, many mobile credit card or mobile banking apps will automatically sign you out. Still, it’s a good idea to manually sign out as soon as you’re done to avoid exposing your information to the wrong person. This is especially true if you happen to walk away from your device in a public place. Consider setting your phone to auto-lock and activating biometric features such as voice recognition or fingerprint unlock. This puts an extra security barrier between your banking and mobile credit card apps and someone who may find your phone.
4. Protect Your Password
Having a strong password in place is your first line of defense. Shorter passwords are easier to remember but are usually less secure than longer ones. Aim for at least 12–14 characters and avoid words, which are easier for hackers to guess. A strong password has numbers, special characters and unrelated upper and lowercase letters. If you have trouble remembering random combinations, consider creating an acronym for a sentence that is easy to remember, then adding numbers and symbols.
5. Beware of Unsecured Wi-Fi
Finally, be wary about using public Wi-Fi to access a mobile credit card or banking app—or even a mobile wallet—at your favorite restaurant or coffee shop. In addition to possibly exposing your mobile app’s username and password, if you’re on an unsecure Wi-Fi connection, your personal financial information could easily be seen and stolen. Be extra suspicious of any free Wi-Fi networks that you don’t recognize—hackers can open unsecured hotspots that will give them complete access to your smartphone if you join.
By taking the necessary steps to strengthen your credit card and mobile banking app security, you may help reduce the risk of identity fraud while still enjoying the convenience of online banking.