5 ways to protect your privacy while mobile banking

Woman using smartphone at UO library
OCCU  -  09.19.2017

We live in a hyper-connected world, and most of us have gotten used to sacrificing some of our privacy for convenience. Like all those apps that let you log in through your Facebook account. Or those notifications asking you to share your location data with Google.

But there’s one area where you should never compromise your privacy: your mobile banking app. When you log into mobile banking, you’re opening a channel to some of your most sensitive data. Not to mention all of your money. So it’s important to safeguard your privacy.

A few simple habits can go a long way toward keeping your financial information safe. It’s a bit like closing the curtains before you change clothes. Here are five ways to ensure some privacy while using mobile banking:

1. Keep your tech up to date.

Update like it’s going out of style. You never know when the newest version of your operating system or mobile banking app includes a critical security patch to protect you against the latest cyber threat. Hackers are constantly finding new ways to break into your data, and updates are often released to address the new vulnerabilities they’ve discovered. So update every time you get the prompt, even if you’re pretty sure you just did it a week ago.

2. Create an ironclad password.

We all know the experts say to use different passwords for everything. Realistically, though, who has the brain space for that? But even if you use the same password for everything else—and that’s really not a good idea—your mobile banking app absolutely MUST have a unique password. This is where you want to pull out all the stops. Get funky with the caps, numbers and special characters. Looking to take your password to the next level? Leave passwords behind and start using passphrases

3. Avoid public Wi-Fi like the plague.

Free Wi-Fi is the bomb, right? Until it blows your data wide open to anyone with a computer and no conscience. Public Wi-Fi is all well and good for a little innocuous browsing or a game of Words with Friends, but you shouldn’t use it to log into your mobile banking app unless you know it is secure. If the Wi-Fi network doesn’t require a password, chances are it is unsecure, making it easy for someone to intercept your login credentials, steal your financial data, and even hijack your account. Anytime you need to bank on the go, it is best to use your own data network, not a public one.

4. Log out when you’re done.

Staying logged in to your favorite apps may be convenient, but it puts you at risk if your device gets lost or stolen. Always log out at the end of your mobile banking session. A lot of financial apps will log you out automatically anyway, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

5. Download with caution.

Accidentally downloading malware onto your device puts your all of your info at risk, including the sensitive data in your mobile banking app. Do your best to keep your technology clean. Be careful what you download, and always get your apps from the app store—not your browser.

No matter how connected you are, there are some things that should always stay private. Your mobile banking app is one of them. Developing these habits will help keep your financial info safe and secure.