More and more people are relying on their smartphones to access banking services, allowing them to carry out transactions, make transfers and generally manage money matters with ease on a portable device.

However, you might be concerned about the potential risks associated with using mobile banking, which might lead you to avoid using such a service even if it is convenient and easy.

Here are some guidelines to help you get a better grasp of the subject and show you how to sidestep potential security risks.

Mobile Banking Access

There are a number of ways to access mobile banking services from your handset. The most basic involves receiving text messages that update you with information about your account, including your current balance, or even alerts that let you know if your overdraft limit is about to be reached.

If you have a fully fledged smartphone then you may find that your bank offers a downloadable mobile banking application which lets you get in-depth access to a much wider range of services.

You can also access online banking from within your smartphone’s web browser even if an app is not available, so there are plenty of ways to actually harness financial services from your handset.

Security Risks

If you can get access to your account details and even carry out transactions from your mobile, then so could a malicious third party.

This does not even necessarily require physical access to your phone. There are some hackers who are able to intercept your information when you carry out transactions over a Wi-Fi network.

Personal information such as this can be very valuable, allowing cyber-criminals to siphon money from your account and even steal your identity to carry out other acts of fraud, so it is really something that you want to avoid.

Make Mobile Banking Safe

While it is impossible to completely rule out any chance of exploitation, there are various measures that you can take to decrease the likelihood that your mobile banking experience will be compromised.

Firstly, install anti-virus software on your smartphone if it is available. There are free and paid-for apps that carry out this kind of function and will get rid of any spyware which might get on to your phone and allow hackers to steal your information.

Secondly, you should always keep a PIN-protected lock screen active on your smartphone because this means that someone who does not know it will not be able to access the information your handset contains.

Thirdly, you should avoid falling foul of spam messages which can be delivered to your device by email and text. These are designed to dupe you into giving away personal information without even having to access your device.

Banks will never ask for your password or security information except when you log into an online or mobile service, so emails claiming to be from your financial institution of choice which request these things are likely to be spam and should be ignored.

Finally, it makes sense to avoid using an unsecured public Wi-Fi network to carry out mobile banking, since these can be monitored by digital predators looking to steal your information. Try using mobile banking over your home Wi-Fi connection or by harnessing a 3G data service before you use a public hotspot.

SMS alerts are the most secure form of online banking, but only if you keep your phone away from prying eyes. General common-sense actions will help to keep your details secure.

This guest submission was done by Lloyd on behalf of IVA Expert.

By Jasmina