10 Things You Need To Know About...Mobile Banking

9/8/2012 9:31:23 AM

Keep your money safe when banking on the go

One of the biggest advancements in technology that has been triggered by the rising popularity, along with the growing sophistication, of smartphones has been mobile banking.

Android users can download a whole host of different banking apps to their device, giving them instant access to their accounts. The days of needing to be near an ATM or a desktop computer are long gone, and users can now fully manage their accounts from the palm of their hand so long as they have web access.

Description: Barclays’ Pingit app is one of the best mobile banking apps around
Barclays’ Pingit app is one of the best mobile banking apps around

Mobile banking is now evolving further still with the introduction of contactless payment. This allows users to pay for a range of items and services with their phone, without the fuss and time it takes to purchase something with a debit card, while the transaction also shows instantly on their banking account. It isn’t all good news, however, as we reveal in these ten essential mobile banking pointers.

1.    Banking on the move

The best thing about mobile banking is being able to access it as long as you're near a secure Wi-Fi connection and have your phone to hand.

You can access any mobile banking app over a 3G network, but this can take considerably longer to load, and some apps will require you to undertake additional security procedures to access them.

2.    Official apps

You'll find nearly every bank has an official mobile banking app on the Google Play store. Be it Lloyds, Barclays, HSBC or NatWest, as well as most others, you're pretty much covered. Generally, the apps include the same features, and a similar level of security and design is used across the board. Most of them also include settings which can be tailored to meet your needs.

Description: In the UK, Google Wallet is very uncommon at the moment
In the UK, Google Wallet is very uncommon at the moment

3.    Security is paramount

With recent developments in the rise of malware affecting Android smartphones, mobile banking apps have introduced plethora of stringent security precautions to protect their customers. As well as the passwords which you normally set up, some apps will ask you to create a unique PIN for you to access your account, or perhaps require you to answer a security question.

4.    Help the environment

One of the quirky features included in most mobile banking apps is the option to stop being sent paper statements every month. Instead you can set the app up to send a run-through of your statement on a monthly basis. You can look at your statements in full via the app too.

5.    Banking with PayPal

Many mobile banking apps can be linked to your PayPal and Western Union accounts, making it easier to transfer money to people all over the world. Using your mobile banking app alongside your eBay account will give you an instant way of being able to pay for items, as well as send money back to your mobile account.

Description: Many mobile banking apps can be linked to your PayPal and Western Union accounts, making it easier to transfer money to people all over the world

Many mobile banking apps can be linked to your PayPal and Western Union accounts, making it easier to transfer money to people all over the world

6.    Be extra wary of third-party apps

Be careful of using any third-party mobile banking apps on your Android device. Any app that's not part of a banking group could potentially be dangerous for you to use. Entering your details in to this sort of app will allow the people behind it full access to your account and, more importantly, its contents.

7.    Check permissions

The best way for you to first identify any potential dangers with a third-party app is to examine the app's permissions when looking to download it from G o ogle Play. Any app that will look to collect your data, send messages and call numbers should be avoided at all costs.

8.    Google Wallet

Google's new contactless payment system allows users to pay for their items with just their phone. Using a mobile banking system, users can connect their card and its details to their Google Wallet making it a lot easier to pay for goods. Expect to see a lot more places include the Google Wallet service in the near future.

9.    Ongoing payments

While mobile banking, you may wish to set up a direct debit to a different account, or create a standing order. Both of these can be completed in just a few steps on an Android device, but can be edited and removed through your internet banking service, or within a branch itself.

10. Beyond your accounts

Although the main reason people will download a mobile banking app is to access their accounts, there are many other features worth checking out. Most mobile banking apps include information on the nearest ATM and branch, as well as opening hours. Some include information on new accounts, loans and mortgages, and some give details on key contacts for the bank should you have a problem with your account.

Most banking apps can help you locate nearby branches
Most banking apps can help you locate nearby branches

Has your bank backed Android?

Most UK high street bank chains have their own official Android-based mobile banking app. Boyd’s’ mobile banking app gives you complete access to your accounts, as well as the opportunity to find info on your nearest branch and request meetings with advisors. Similarly the HSBC, RBS and NatWest apps all offer the same features.

Description: Barclays with its Pingit app

Barclays with its Pingit app

One bank that has elected to try something a bit different is Barclays with its Pingit app. This gives you the usual access to your accounts, as well as a very convenient way of sending money to a different account: users can transfer cash using just their mobile number and a confirmation code. It works in the same way as an external app, similar to PayPal, meaning you need to deposit money into it in order for it to work properly.

On a slightly different path is the My Credit Cards app, which enables you to sort out incoming and outgoing transactions across all your credit cards. The app works in the same way as a mobile banking app, but tracks multiple credit cards at any one time.

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