Our smartphones have revolutionized the way we live our lives. They have become integral to communication, to organization, and now to banking. Mobile banking applications are becoming increasingly popular and are slowly but surely overtaking more conventional means of making financial transactions.
Acknowledging the fact that convenience is a key selling point, most major commercial bank offer the capacity to send money and make deposits using a mobile app. Bank of America has stated that more of their customers use their mobile banking platform than their online banking service and the technology is improving daily. Mobile phones can now even be used as contactless credit cards using near-field communication (NFC) technology. This means that PIN numbers and debit cards might one day become a thing of the past.
All of this advancement sounds incredible, yet there are often downsides to every innovation. So how do the benefits of mobile phone banking stack up against these drawbacks? And are we increasingly becoming reliant on technology that we don’t even fully understand?
Mobile banking is easy to set up
Getting started with mobile banking is easy and straightforward for those familiar with technology and mobile apps. With just a few swipes of your finger, you can get your mobile banking set up and running. You simply use your existing internet banking details and then everything is available to you at the touch of a button. The majority of banks even offer a customer service line that you can contact at any hour of the day.
Mobile banking saves a lot of time
There is no denying that mobile banking saves a considerable amount of time. Gone are the days when we used to waste what seemed like hours lining up to be served by a cashier at the bank. With mobile banking, you can check account balances, send and receive payments, schedule transactions, and transfer money at a moment’s notice from any location.
Mobile banking is unarguably convenient
Last year, research from the US Federal Reserve revealed that 87% of US adults own a mobile phone, and 71% of these mobile phones are internet-enabled smartphones. This was a 10% increase from 2014. This same research showed that 39% of adults with mobile phones used them for banking. This data demonstrates both the growing reliance on mobile phone technology and the increasing willingness of people to use mobile banking due to how conveniently it works in their modern lives.
People are wary of security risks
One major concern surrounding mobile banking is that of security. Smartphones are such a large part of our lives that we often forget how new the technology is and how badly things could go wrong if security was breached. There are risks with any banking method you choose, but there are steps that you can put in place to minimize the likelihood of fraud.
Ensure that you have malware software on your smartphone and always certify that the banking app you pick is authentic and not created by fraudsters. Ensure that your phone’s locking mechanism is active and that it requires a PIN, passcode, or fingerprint to open. Set up your phone to lock automatically after a set time. Update your mobile banking app whenever a new version becomes available. All of this should make it more difficult for hackers to reverse-engineer viruses or to find weak points in security. Out-of-date banking applications are much more vulnerable to attacks. Having said this, in many ways mobile banking beat out traditional security measures such as PIN codes and signatures. It is much easier to fake someone’s signature than to steal their phone.
Beware of impulse overspending
With enthusiasm and innovative new mobile technology comes the temptation to spend especially when access to our own money is so easy. Regardless of how inviting it might be to take to the internet and spoil yourself with an impulse buy, it is best to reign in this behavior. New research shows how mobile banking apps are causing young people (aged 18 to 34) to be far too willing to embrace compulsive spending with the impulse spending of this age group being double that of those aged 55 and over.
Reckless spending and lack of control can easily send you down a debt spiral. If this occurs, consult an expert in debt management. These professionals have access to innovative insolvency software, which can help track your incomings and outgoings and calculate payment plans, thereby getting you back on sturdy financial ground.