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Is Mobile Banking Safe?

June 07, 2021 · 4 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. Read more We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right. Read less

Is Mobile Banking Safe?

Mobile usage in the US has climbed over the past year, with nearly 57 million consumers saying they use mobile banking, with Millennials having the greatest percentage of users at nearly 70% of that generation’s members.

But the safety of mobile banking is questioned by almost one-third of Americans. And, younger Americans are nearly as worried as older generations, with hacking and malware as two of the top concerns.

How is Mobile Banking Different from Online Banking?

At its simplest, mobile banking occurs when a person makes a financial transaction through the use of a mobile device, such as a cell phone or tablet.

Transactions range from simple ones, like signing up to have your bank send you informational text messages, to the more complex, such as bill paying, sending money to other people, receiving funds and others.

Traditional brick-and-mortar financial institutions are increasingly offering internet-based services, and there are now mobile financial institutions that don’t even have an actual building for customers to use. Their mobile devices and apps are their branches.

Here’s something else to consider: Not all internet-based banking transactions are mobile ones. Mobile banking is a form of online banking, but it’s not the only type. You could, for example, conduct financial transactions on your home computer. That’s online banking, but it’s not mobile banking.

Mobile Banking Safety Measures

Banks have invested hundreds of millions of dollars into cybersecurity in an effort to protect consumers’ accounts. They’ve put into place security measures such as Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption, automatic logout, antivirus and anti-malware programming, firewalls, multi-factor authentication and biometric and/or facial recognition technology.

Using these measures is also an effort to protect themselves from cyber threats. Under the Federal Reserve’s Regulation E, consumers are only liable for the first $50 lost due to unauthorized access to their account, as long as they report the activity in a timely manner. Their bank is responsible for any loss over that amount.

To make sure you’re getting the right app and not one that might be a fake one, it’s recommended that you use the link on your bank’s website to access the app. Some apps can look like the real thing, but be fake.

Protecting Yourself

Other than making sure the app you’re using is legitimate, there are other things you can do to protect yourself including:

•   Creating a strong password for your account.
•   Avoiding the use of public computers or public WiFi to conduct banking transactions.
•   Keeping your phone updated to take advantage of the latest security measures available.

Technology continues to improve in ways that boost security. One security measure being used by many financial institutions today is two-factor authentication. In authentication processes, there are typically three factors:

•   Something you know (your password, for example).
•   Something you have (such as your smartphone).
•   Something you are (which could be your fingerprint, face or retina).

In two-factor authentication, users must provide at least two forms of identification, such as their password and a fingerprint.

Or, the secondary authentication could be a numeric code that the user requests and receives via text. This code can only be used one time, preventing it from having value to hackers in the future.

Activity monitoring or user activity tracking can also boost security. In general, this involves software that monitors a user’s typical behavior on devices to identify suspicious behavior.

If you’re unsure about what measures your bank takes to protect your data, it’s reasonable to ask the question. If you’re not satisfied with the answer, it can help to explore other options.

Recommended: How Often Should You Monitor Your Checking Account?

Online-Only Account Options

Traditional banks, credit unions and other financial institutions often provide internet-based services for customers in addition to the ability to make in-person transactions.

Financial institutions that don’t have brick-and-mortar locations can keep overhead costs low, which may allow them to offer higher savings or checking account rates and lower fees, in addition to the convenience of 24/7 banking.

For people whose work and other responsibilities make it difficult to visit a bank during traditional banking hours, the ability to do their banking at any time of day or night might be an important consideration when choosing a bank.

Mobile depositing can be quite convenient and, like other banking services, can generally be used around the clock. Usually, the check needs to be endorsed and a photo of the front and back taken—some institutions may have additional requirements. Deposits typically show up within a few business days, depending upon the bank’s rules and the time of your deposit.

Some banks may have limits on how much can be deposited daily or monthly when using mobile deposit. Also, some banks may charge a fee for mobile deposits, another thing to be aware of when choosing to go mobile.

Although most online banks provide a customer service line, they may not provide access to a personal banker who can help set up accounts, apply for loans or discuss an issue you’re having.

Looking for Something Different?

SoFi Money® is a cash management account that has no account fees. With SoFi Money® you can spend, save and earn all in one place, with the peace of mind SoFi’s enhanced security offers. The SoFi Money® World Debit Mastercard® offers credit monitoring, alerts for suspicious activity, purchase protection, among other benefits.

It’s also possible to freeze your debit card temporarily in case it’s lost or stolen. The SoFi app uses two-factor authorization to keep your information safe.

Getting started with SoFi Money® is fast and easy.

SoFi Money®
SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC .
Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank. SoFi Money Debit Card issued by The Bancorp Bank. SoFi has partnered with Allpoint to provide consumers with ATM access at any of the 55,000+ ATMs within the Allpoint network. Consumers will not be charged a fee when using an in-network ATM, however, third party fees incurred when using out-of-network ATMs are not subject to reimbursement. SoFi’s ATM policies are subject to change at our discretion at any time.
The SoFi Money® World Debit Mastercard® is issued by The Bancorp Bank pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.
Each business day, cash deposits in SoFi Money cash management accounts are swept to one or more sweep program banks where it earns a variable interest rate and is eligible for FDIC insurance. FDIC Insurance does not immediately apply. Coverage begins when funds arrive at a program bank, usually within two business days of deposit. There are currently six banks available to accept these deposits, making customers eligible for up to $1,500,000 of FDIC insurance (six banks, $250,000 per bank). If the number of available banks changes, or you elect not to use, and/or have existing assets at, one or more of the available banks, the actual amount could be lower. For more information on FDIC insurance coverage, please visit www.FDIC.gov . Customers are responsible for monitoring their total assets at each Program Banks to determine the extent of available FDIC insurance coverage in accordance with FDIC rules. The deposits in SoFi Money or at Program Banks are not covered by SIPC.
The SoFi Money® Annual Percentage Yield as of 03/15/2020 is 0.20% (0.20% interest rate). Interest rates are variable subject to change at our discretion, at any time. No minimum balance required. SoFi doesn’t charge any ATM fees and will reimburse ATM fees charged by other institutions when a SoFi Money™ Mastercard® Debit Card is used at any ATM displaying the Mastercard®, Plus®, or NYCE® logo. SoFi reserves the right to limit or revoke ATM reimbursements at any time without notice.
As of 6/9/2020, accounts with recurring monthly deposits of $500 or more each month, will earn interest at 0.25%. All other accounts will earn interest at 0.01%. Interest rates are variable and subject to change at our discretion at any time. Accounts opened prior to June 8, 2020, will continue to earn interest at 0.25% irrespective of deposit activity. SoFi’s Securities reserves the right to change this policy at our discretion at any time. Accounts which are eligible to earn interest at 0.25% (including accounts opened prior to June 8, 2020) will also be eligible to participate in the SoFi Money Cashback Rewards Program.
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