Not so long ago, a mobile phone was for making calls, sending texts and not much more. The rise of the smartphone and new technology has changed all that, opening up many new ways to make payments and undertake banking on the move.

For some of us it’s already possible to use our phones instead of cash and cards to make contactless transactions when buying low value items in-store or to transfer money quickly and easily between accounts.

 

Definition

If you bank online and have a phone with an internet browser, you should be able to access your bank website, and use it as you would if you were accessing it on a computer: so not only can you check your balances but you should be able to make a payment by inputting details of the account you want to pay.

Smartphone-owning customers of certain banks can download apps produced by their banks. These apps function in a similar way to internet banking and some banks’ apps can also be used on standard mobile phones.

 

What would I use this for?

  • Mobile internet banking gives you most if not all of the features of your internet banking on your PC, but on the go. For example you can check balances whilst shopping to make sure you have enough funds in your account or you can transfer money to a friend who just bought your lunch.

 

How do I use it?

  • The way you access your account on your smartphone will depend on your bank (or card provider). Some banks have developed ‘apps’ for smartphones (like the iPhone, Android, or Blackberry), while others have created specially adapted versions of their websites that make them easier and quicker to view on the small screen of a phone.
  • Contact your bank’s internet banking helpline if you’re not sure which applies to you.

 

Security

  • If you use your mobile to bank online, you benefit from exactly the same fraud protection as you would elsewhere: if you are the innocent victim of fraud, you won’t suffer any financial loss, and your bank will refund you.

  • As well as following any security advice your bank provides there are some simple steps you can take to keep your account secure:

    • Change any passcodes/ PINs that have been set up as part of the phone’s default settings.
    • Don’t keep PINs, passwords or security information stored on your phone.
    • If you use a smartphone ‘app’ to log-in to internet banking, only ever use the official app provided by your bank or issuer. If in doubt, contact your bank’s helpdesk to check.
    • If you’re using an internet browser, look for a locked padlock or unbroken key symbol indicating that the site is secure. Also make sure that the web address changes from 'http' to 'https'.
    • Once you have finished online banking make sure you log out of the site on your phone. If you use an app, ensure you have logged out and that the app has closed down.
    • Never go to a website from a link in an email. It could be a fraudster who is trying to get you to login to a fake bank website to steal your details.
    • Install antivirus software on your smartphone. Visit the ‘iTunes Store’, ‘Android Market’ or BlackBerry World to download an ‘app’. Well-known companies include Norton and McAfee and some versions are available for free.

 

Useful information

  • Don’t keep your card details stored on your phone.
  • Be aware of your surroundings – don’t loudly read out your details in a public environment.
  • Be wary of shoulder surfers (people looking over your shoulder when you are entering details on a phone or tablet).
  • Never tell anyone your card’s PIN, or enter it in a website or email.
  • Check your statements regularly (which may be easier for you with internet banking) and keep an eye out for transactions you don’t recognise.
  • Report any suspicious transactions to your bank immediately.

This guide offers advice on how to stay safe. It also looks at mobile contactless technology and account-to-account payments.