United Consumers Credit Union
June 1, 2014
Make Sure You’re Banking Securely
Half of consumers have a smartphone, and about half of those are using mobile banking, a service that allows you to manage your credit union or bank account via your mobile device. Because mobile banking continues to be popular among consumers as an easy way to conduct financial transactions, criminals are taking advantage. Despite the financial industry's heavy investment in security technology, there are risks. If users aren’t careful, they could be sharing their personal information and hard-earned savings with these scammers.
Most financial institutions use a combination of three mobile banking platforms, and each platform has its own security issues to consider:
· Short message service (SMS)
o Users register their cellphone with their financial institution, which allows your credit union or bank to quickly text you alerts or account information. You don't have to worry about someone accessing information unless you lose or loan your phone.
§ The downside: Scammers may send SMS messages purportedly from your bank, requesting your personal identification number (PIN), account number or other information. To make it easier to determine at a glance that text messages from your credit union or bank are authentic, add its name and information to your contacts.
· Mobile website
o This method uses an Internet browser to access your financial institution’s website, just like you would do from your home or office computer. Some places have even created special mobile pages that are formatted for smaller screens.
§ The downside: Mobile browsers can be susceptible to the same kind of security risks as a personal computer, like phishing scams and copycat websites. The best way to protect yourself is to use your browser bar to enter your credit union or bank's website address. Then, save the link to your account login page as a bookmark to avoid the possibility of mistyping the URL in the future.
· Client application programs (apps)
o Smartphones and tablets use apps to directly link the user with the company’s system. This method is popular, because using an app is often faster and simpler to navigate than visiting your financial institution’s website. Credit union and bank apps are secure, because they’re designed with the financial institution’s online security information; furthermore, apps are resistant to phishing since browsers aren’t used.
§ The downside: Some apps store sensitive information on the device and allow the user to remain logged in even when not using the app. Disable this option if possible, and only download apps from trusted sources, like the financial institution, Google Play or Apple’s App Store.
Though there may be many issues to consider and questions to ask about mobile banking, there isn’t any question about where you can go for convenient service. United Consumers Credit Union provides secure access to members’ accounts, so they’re protected. Visit www.uccumo.com to view the mobile services we offer!