Mobile banking did not get off the blocks in a rush. At best, it received a lukewarm response. But gradually, customers began to realize the immense possibilities that this method of banking offered and jumped onto the bandwagon.
A Federal Reserve report estimates that around 39% of cell phone users accessed various banking services in 2014. These statistics are impressive, given the fact that a year earlier the figures were 5% lesser. Further, 52% of smartphone users conduct banking activities on their mobiles.
Digital Wallet Defined
These increasing numbers are courtesy of the concept of the digital wallet. A digital wallet refers to an electronic device that allows an individual to make electronic commerce transactions. This can include purchasing items online with a computer or using a smartphone to purchase something at a store. Increasingly, digital wallets are being made not just for basic financial transactions but to also authenticate the holder’s credentials.
For example, a digital-wallet could potentially verify the age of the buyer who wishes to purchase goods not sold to his or her age group. It is useful to approach the term “digital wallet” not as a singular technology but as three major parts: the system (the electronic infrastructure) and the application (the software that operates on top) and the device (the individual portion).
An individual’s bank account can also be linked to the digital wallet. They might also have their driver’s license, health card, loyalty card(s) and other ID documents stored on the phone. The credentials can be passed to a merchant’s terminal wirelessly via near field communication (NFC). Certain sources are speculating that these smartphone “digital wallets” will eventually replace physical wallets. The system has already gained popularity in Japan, where digital wallets are known as Osaifu-Keitai or “wallet mobiles”.
Some of the most popular forms of digital wallets are Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Lemon Wallet, and Paypal.
With an ever-growing number of people engaging in mobile banking, threats from hackers, cell phone loss and other potential disasters along these lines are a very real concern among users. The bottom line is that personal and financial information must be protected at all costs. So, with adequate security measures in place, it will be extremely easy to maintain a holistic view of every banking transaction. Here are a few ways in which you can ensure the safety of your digital wallet:
The good old method of using passwords to protect sensitive data on devices is still the best and most-sought-after means of protecting yourself against online threats. Users have to manually enter a password of their choice. This password is usually alphanumeric. Once done, the cell phone will be locked and out of bounds to strangers.
Yet, a large number of smartphone users are averse to the idea of setting up a passcode. They consider it an additional burden, which they wish to do without. The Consumer Reports National Research Center that surveyed this trend discovered that merely 36% of users enter a four-digit PIN to lock their home-screens.
Over and above this measure, one needs to choose a strong password which hackers will find hard to guess.
Security Apps to the Rescue!
There are dozens upon dozens of mobile security applications available online and in app stores. Read carefully about the specifications and benefits on offer. It is highly important to ensure that the app is genuine and will not install malware or spyware on your phone. The best way to ascertain this is to always download apps only from companies/sources you trust. Once you are convinced, download that app. Now you can browse banking sites and conduct financial transactions without fear of personal information getting leaked.
Keep Software up-to-date
This is one of the most crucial requirements and one that is mandatory too. Yet a majority of users simply ignore software updates. This probably happens because they do not understand the importance of updates. Several things happen to the OS of your cell phone once the latest updates are downloaded. The most obvious changes will be reflected in the interface. But there are many hidden changes that make a world of difference. Bug fixes, security updates, and similar downloads are critical to the functioning of your mobile.
So never take software updates lightly! Make sure you set your cell phone to download updates automatically. That way, you needed to spend time to go through the settings every time there’s a bug fix, for example.
Monitor account activity
It is imperative that you keep a close watch on your account transactions. This way, you’ll know if there are any purchases you don’t recognize. Unusual activity is one of the first signs that a hacker may have gained access to your account. Your debit card or credit information can be compromised… so stay alert.
Monitor accounts regularly to be on guard against unauthorized activity, and if any is detected, report it to your financial institution immediately. Signs of unauthorized access include your password not working, your email address or mailing address is changed, and of course, unauthorized activity, particularly large withdrawals or purchases.