A major cellphone provider is working to help reduce your concerns about the safety of mobile banking.
T-Mobile announced it will begin automatically installing Lookout antivirus software on the majority of its Android devices in 2013. For anyone who manages their personal finances with mobile apps, this kind of automatic protection can provide an important layer of safety for passwords, account numbers and other sensitive information. The software will scan each downloaded app to verify it doesn't include any harmful components.
"As more and more people transition to using smartphones, the need to protect them and the personal information they carry increases," Alicia diVittorio, smartphone safety advocate at Lookout, says.
As smartphone safety evolves, diVittorio says users will be alerted to update their apps whenever there are new security features released.
Still, Andrew Hoog, chief investigative officer at mobile security company viaForensics, says that having antivirus software on your smartphone is just one step in protecting your banking information.
"Even if you have security software installed on your phone, you have to be cognizant of what you're doing with your device," Hoog says. "If you're transacting sensitive information such as bank account numbers, make sure you're only doing it on a Wi-Fi network that you trust."
Hoog adds that safeguarding information relies on more than consumer awareness and antivirus software. He says that banks must invest an ample amount of time in developing applications that do not allow any information to be stored on the actual device. If your phone is lost or stolen, this will significantly reduce the chance that anyone with malicious intentions can uncover your private banking information.
What do you think? What can banks and mobile providers do to better protect mobile banking customers?