Increase your credit card and mobile banking app security

Learn eight credit card and mobile banking security tips to help protect your financial information.

Apps for credit cards and mobile banking can be safe and convenient. They enable you to check balances, pay bills and do so much more when you’re on the go. 

While mobile banking apps have security measures in place, it may be wise to help safeguard your information. Read more below about steps you can take to help protect your personal information—and your money—so it doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.

Are credit card and mobile banking apps safe?

Yes, mobile banking apps are generally safe. Banks and credit card issuers take steps to promote safety and security. But it’s still a good idea to take additional precautions.  

To help protect your personal information, check out the following eight tips.

1. Verify your credit card and mobile banking app downloads

To help reduce security risks, your best bet is to download apps directly from official app stores. Otherwise, you could find yourself downloading an app containing malicious software known as malware—which is aimed at stealing your personal information—or downloading a fake app.

2. Update your mobile apps and operating system

If your mobile apps are out of date, they could be vulnerable to hackers trying to grab your personal data. That’s why the Federal Trade Commission recommends installing app updates that can help protect your data.

Likewise, it’s a good idea to install updates of the operating systems—Android™ or iOS, for example—for your phone or tablet as soon as they become available. Updates with the latest security features may help protect your information from the prying eyes of hackers.

3. Sign out when finished

After a certain period of inactivity, your mobile banking apps will typically sign you out. However, it could also help to sign out as soon as you’re done using an app. This can help prevent your information from being discovered by someone with bad intentions. This is particularly important if you happen to leave your electronic device unattended in a public setting, such as a coffee shop or restaurant.

4. Protect your password

Creating a strong password for your devices as well as your credit card and bank accounts can help prevent others from stealing your personal data. Keeping every password to yourself may also help.

It’s a good idea to have passwords that are at least 12 characters. A longer password is typically stronger than a shorter one. Aim for a combination of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers and special characters. And avoid common words or phrases as part of a password.

Using the same password for all of your devices and accounts could be risky. Instead, come up with a different password for each device and account. If you’re struggling to think of new passwords, some programs—like password managers—can generate random passwords.

Keep in mind that it can be risky to write down your passwords and leave them out in the open or tell them to anyone else. That can make it easy for someone to sign in to your devices and accounts and potentially steal your personal information.

5. Avoid using unsecured Wi-Fi

Free Wi-Fi services at coffee shops, hotels, airports or other public spots can be convenient. But the Wi-Fi may not be secure, and you never know who could be watching. So, if you sign on to an unsecured Wi-Fi network, it’s probably best not to access sensitive information, like your bank account.

6. Use a passcode on your phone

Just as you lock your car or your home when you’re away, it’s a good idea to set up the screen-locking function on your phone, if that’s an option. This feature will lock your phone’s screen after it’s gone untouched for a certain amount of time. And then it will require a passcode to unlock it and use it.

Setting up a passcode to unlock your phone’s screen can be especially helpful if you accidentally leave your phone somewhere or if your phone is lost or stolen.

To add another line of defense, you may be able to activate your phone’s biometric security features, such as facial or fingerprint recognition.

7. Set up multifactor authentication with your credit card and banking apps

Multifactor authentication sounds complicated, but it doesn’t have to be.

Mobile banking app settings often let you use multifactor authentication where you verify your identity in two or more ways to access your accounts. For instance, you might be asked to enter a password and type in a one-time code sent by text to your device to sign in to your app.

Simply put, multifactor authentication boosts security by having you verify your identity in multiple ways. For example, if an unauthorized person finds out your app password and signs in from another device, multifactor authentication can provide another layer of defense between them and your accounts.

8. Sign up for security alerts

You may want to consider security alerts if your bank offers them. These alerts can help you identify and take action if your bank notices unusual or suspicious activity.

For instance, Eno, your intelligent assistant from Capital One, may tip you off that a large purchase was made with your credit card. And if you didn’t make the purchase, you might be able to act quickly. Receiving the security alert could help you respond promptly and notify your credit card issuer.

Enjoy the convenience of credit card apps and mobile banking safely

Mobile banking apps can let you make quick transactions to keep up with the speed of life. But criminals can be just as speedy. That’s why it’s important to take steps to help protect your personal information.

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