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Important Tips For a Safe and Secure Mobile Banking

CS Rahul Harsh 
on 23 November 2015

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Few Years Back… we all wasted a lot time visiting a bank. At times, we even had to take leave from work because our bank did not open before 10 in the morning and by time we stepped out after finishing his account-related work, it would be past 1 pm. Of course, once the banking routines changed with the introduction of debit cards and ATMs, we were less hard pressed for time. These technological advancements simplified our life by giving us an easy access to cash, allowing us to check our bank balance, facilitating fund transfers, depositing cash and even shopping without hard cash. This transition took some time to happen. But the next step in our banking evolution has begun.

The cell phone that we all use is not just good at making calls, browsing the web, clicking photos and listening to music - it is smart enough to let us access our bank account anytime, anywhere. And if that's not enough, we  are now be able to make payments using our phone. With over 900 million mobile phone users in the country, both phone companies and banks realised that using spectrum could take banking services to every nook and corner at all times.

Now, our bank account is on our mobile and it’s a huge step towards financial inclusion.

But while using Mobile Banking one must take safety precautions so in this article I will share with you, Tips to Be Secure and Safe while mobile banking.

The only thing which prevents us to use Mobile Banking is our Concern for Safety. As we actively rely on our cell phones for mobile banking and payments. But do you know if your phone is stolen or falls in wrong hands, all your hard-earned money can be lost in a single second? Here are a few tips that you should follow to protect mobile-banking fraud.

Exercise caution. 1. Most of the phones support numeric password lock. Activate one for your phone with a password that is difficult to crack. Don't use your birth date, or your spouse's or kids', anniversary date, house number or even telephone number as passwords. These are easiest to crack.

2. If you own a smartphone, install applications that can password protect a particular folder and even applications. So even if your phone is stolen, the thief cannot access information stored. Every time one tries to access the protected folder, it asks for the passcode.

3. Never save your ATM pin or your onetime transaction password in the phonebook. Even if you do, disguise it as a 10-digit number by adding a few numbers that only you need know of.

4. Never disclose your personal information such as account number, password, PAN card number in text messages. These can be used for identity theft.

5. Always keep your phone's Bluetooth turned off and don't accept data from unknown sources. Virus and malware can attack phones. Also on Android smartphones, install an anti-virus. These are most vulnerable to virus attacks.

6. Before handing over your device to others, wipe out all the personal account information.

7. At random intervals, change your account password used for making transactions.

8. Delete The Sms your bank sends you at regular Intervals. So, incase you loose your mobile the banking informations wont get leaked.

Irrespective of whether it is a public-sector bank or a private one, the minute you open a new bank account , your mobile number is linked to that account. Existing customers too can ask the bank to upgrade their details and include their cell numbers. There are merits in giving the bank your number. It allows you to get information in real time about any transactions related your bank account. For instance, if you are paying for petrol with your debit card and your card is swiped twice for the same amount, you will instantly receive a message from the bank and you can take necessary action against those at fault.

But this is not the only advantage. If you register your number for mobile banking services you also get the freedom to access your bank balance, fetch account statement, transfer funds and do much more. With most banks offering mobile banking services, there are different ways to do the same but the basic procedure remains the same. Only savings and current account holders are eligible for mobile banking service.

Such account holders first need to register their mobile numbers with the bank. Bank services can be accessed only from the registered phone number. Also, the customer has to generate a Personal Identification Number (MPIN) that acts as a security password for mobile banking. In case the wrong MPIN is entered three times during a transaction, the mobile banking service account gets deactivated for a day or two.

8. ON-SCREEN KEYBOARD:

This would be the easiest way to protect your password from being recorded by key-loggers, especially at public terminals. All banks have this option available to input username and password.

A key-logger, which can be hardware or an application installed on the computer, records and passes on information about the keyboard taps you make. Using this information, it would be easy to find your username and password. While software loggers are hard to spot, hardware loggers will have to be an attachment to the terminal. However, know that an on-screen keyboard is not fool-proof by itself.

9. RANDOM PASSWORDS (CLICHE BUT VITAL):

Use a combination of random letters and numbers as words, names and phrases are what cracking program check for. One way would be to remember a familiar sentence and use the first letter of each word to form the password. Try using a sentence that can have a number in between.

For example, 'my daughter was born on the 5th of November-mdwbot5o11'. You can use any sentence that is not generic. It would be better to remember an incident that is not directly related to you, such as the date of a war or the swearing in of your favourite president. Try adding special characters (@ for at, $ for s) or capitalising a letter (not the first) to improve password strength.

Also, make sure to change your password from a secure terminal after you use a public terminal.

10. DO NOT FOLLOW LINKS:

Always type in the web address (URL) to access your bank's website. Never click on a link from an e-mail you get. That is how 'phishers' work, they re-direct you to a malicious site resembling your bank's portal and use the information provided by you to access your account.

The login pages of bank websites are secured through an encryption process, so a locked padlock or unbroken key symbol should appear in your browser window when accessing your bank's site.

Also, the beginning of your bank's internet address will change from 'http' to 'https' when a secure connection is made. Be wary of suspicious pop-ups that appear during your banking session. Log out immediately. Don't, in response to any mail, provide your banking user ID, passwords or credit and debit card numbers.

11. A CLEAN CACHE:

Browsers save pages you have viewed on your computer so that it can be accessed quicker if you wish to view it again, such as when you use the 'back' button. By clearing your cache after visiting your net banking account, you make sure no one else can view the confidential information you have viewed.

Also, don't select the option on the browser that stores or retains user name and password, i.e. auto complete. It wouldn't take too long for a program to get that information from your browser.

12. BE SECURE:

Keep your operating system, Anti Virus and browser up-to-date with the latest security patches. Install these only from a trusted website. Apart from public terminals, also avoid locations that offer online connections through wireless networks (Wi-Fi), where privacy and security are minimal.

Opt for the One-time-password facility whenever possible, be it to change your net banking pin, make a transaction or add a third-party account. This would require you to keep your phone number and e-mail id updated with your bank.

When accessing your bank accounts online, stay alert. Look for warning signals, such as random mails, online forms seeking passwords and unsecured websites. If you find a suspicious mail or website, inform your bank.

Using the Above Mentioned tips will definately help you access the World of Mobile Banking Safely and Securely. yes

- CS Rahul Harsh, An Associate Member of The ICSI and A Commerce Graduate from Kolkata, Currently Employed as an Assistant Company Secretary with Aanchal Ispat Limited.

Email : csrahulharsh@gmail.com 


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