The power and convenience of a smartphone is undeniable. You can stay connected to your favorite people and apps, shop on the go, check your email, and with banking apps, you can keep tabs on your accounts and handle financial transactions without restrictive banking hours. But, is the convenience worth it?
Reasons to install
A banking app allows you access to your current accounts 24/7, as long as your phone has service and a charge. You can transfer funds, deposit checks, pay bills, fill out a loan application and even open a new account. According to The Balance writer Justin Pritchard, online banks often offer better interest rates and lower fees than banks that exist in the real world.
Pros for regular banking hours
Although a banking app offers you unlimited access that a brick-and-mortar financial institution cannot match, a traditional bank offers you in-person customer service. Pritchard points out that physical banks do more than manage your accounts — they often offer safety deposit box rentals and notary services. If the banking app goes down or hits a digital snag, you won’t have access to your accounts, and there’s often no telling how long it will take for the app to get back online. Plus, digital banks can’t hand over or handle physical cash.
Security measures to take
With the threat of hackers, you might be wary of doing business via a banking app.
“Online banking is typically considered safer than traditional banking,” according to Pritchard. “Having your pay directly deposited into your bank account eliminates the risk of somebody stealing your check from the mail. Plus, nobody can copy your account information from checks that you send to billers when bank computers send that information back and forth securely. If fraud or errors occur, federal law often protects you, as long as you act quickly.”
Although banking apps are built with protections to offer peace of mind regarding your financial confidentiality, you must be active in keeping your information safe and secure. Take advantage of the extra security protections that your bank offers that go beyond the standard username and password combination, advises Bankrate writer Mary Wisniewski. By employing multiple factors for authenticating your identity, you’ll increase the level of security around your account.
“For example, a bank could send a code to your phone for money transfers above a certain amount. In order for the payment to go through, you would need to enter the code in addition to logging in through the app to help verify you are who you say you are,” Wisniewski reports.
Some banking apps are even in line with the authentication steps — your fingerprint or a face scan — you use to open your smartphone, notes Wisniewski. Since your fingerprint and face are unique to you, thieves or hackers will be locked out of your banking activity if you lose your phone, she adds.
A banking app gives you uninterrupted access to your finances and the ability to monitor, review and complete transactions according to your schedule. Be smart about who you choose to work with and always make security a priority when you bank in the digital world.