Banking by smartphone – what’s important

How to protect your online account from suddenly slimming down.

 Whether you are checking your account balance or doing a quick transfer on the go, your smartphone lets you handle bank transactions in a flash in your browser or banking app. If you take advantage of this convenience, the security of your smartphone should be important to you.

  1. Be sure to secure access to your smartphone with a PIN, with a fingerprint, or with a strong password. Whatever is your default for privacy reasons is an absolute must when it comes to online banking!
  2. Be sure to use the right security procedure. To approve a transaction, you always need a transaction number (TAN). You have the option of choosing a method that either does or does not rely on a device. One device-dependent method is the SMS-TAN procedure, in which a TAN is sent in an SMS to the user’s phone. Conventional TAN lists on paper and external TAN generators represent device-independent methods.
  3. Do not hide PINs and TANs in your contact list! Do not “disguise” your access data as contact data and enter it in your smartphone’s address book. Many apps have access to the device’s address book. This is one way that highly sensitive information can be leaked without your knowledge.
  4. Do not use public Wi-Fi connections. With an unsecured Wi-Fi connection, you cannot be sure whether the data transmitted is being intercepted along the way. An attacker (also known as the “man in the middle”) might have set up their own wireless network with the identifier of the café or the location where you are. Using your provider’s mobile data network affords the greatest security. 
  5. Deactivate Bluetooth. While you are completing bank transactions, shut off the Bluetooth function on your smartphone. Devices can be remotely controlled using this connection. 

You should also follow the general security tips for handling your smartphone

  • Only download apps from the app store or other legitimate sources. 
  • Update apps and your system regularly.
  • Never disclose your online banking access data or enter it anywhere besides your bank’s website. Banks never ask for passwords or TANs to be sent.
  • If you want to sell your phone or send it for repairs, return it to its factory settings, delete all data saved on it, and remove any additional memory cards.

Further reading