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Staying Safe Online and On-The-Go

Close-up of hands on phone with text above reading "payment successful" with a cart and plus sign icon

With a number of mobile payment apps to choose from, splitting the bill has never been easier.

Mobile banking is defined as any financial transaction that is made using a mobile device. This includes peer-to-peer payment apps, banking apps, and mobile wallets.

The practice of mobile banking has become so ubiquitous over the past few years that many people don’t think twice when it comes to using an app to pay a roommate for utilities or settle a debt with a friend. Even small businesses are getting on board, as more and more are beginning to accept mobile app payments in exchange for goods and services.

But how secure are mobile payments?

It might surprise you to learn that mobile apps are often deemed more secure than using your debit or credit card online. That’s because most forms of online banking use encryption methods to obscure your account numbers and other personal information.

For example, Keesler Federal uses text message authentication codes. This technology allows our computers to verify that the data did not change from when it left your computer or cell phone until our server received it.

Of course, that doesn’t mean these transactions are completely devoid of risk. Like any internet-mediated transaction, hacking and fraud are legitimate concerns when it comes to your mobile payment security.

The good news is that armed with the right knowledge; you can take action to secure your financial data. Read on for insights regarding how to protect against fraud with mobile banking.

Know that Keesler Federal will never ask for sensitive information via text or email.

Legitimate organizations, including Keesler Federal Credit Union, do not ask for personal or financial information in text messages or emails.

At times, Keesler Federal members may receive a text asking to confirm activity from the phone number 96923, which is our fraud center. This is to verify account activity not gather account information. Do not reply or engage with text messages requesting personal or financial information.

If you receive a suspicious email or text message requesting sensitive information, please call us at 1-888-533-7537.

Keep your friends close, keep your smartphone closer.

It’s no exaggeration to say that losing your phone is akin to losing your wallet. In fact, it’s worse.

We store an immense amount of personal information on our smartphones—information that goes far beyond bank account numbers and home addresses. And while there are plenty of good-natured folks who would do the right thing should they come across a lost phone, the sad reality is that there’s always a chance your missing phone could fall into the wrong hands.

All that said, life happens. Even the most careful individuals slip up from time to time. That’s why, no matter how good you may be about keeping track of your belongings, it’s recommended you leverage your financial institution’s security tools. For example, Keesler Federal’s card management feature lets you turn off or freeze lost or stolen cards, set travels plans, and more with the flip of a switch.

It is also highly suggested to utilize your smartphone’s built-in security protections to their full extent. Using a passcode and a biometric method such as a fingerprint or facial recognition may seem like an inconvenience in your day-to-day life. Still, two-factor authentication will go a long way toward keeping thieves out should the unthinkable come to pass.

Know thy mobile pay apps.

These days there are so many mobile payment apps available, each having cultivated a trusted reputation as reliable banking apps over many years. Sure, they’re not the only trusted names in the business. But when it comes to something as sensitive as your financial data, it’s best to opt for services with clout.

Before you download a mobile payment app, always do your homework. Check with friends and family about what apps they’re using and the experiences they’ve had thus far. Set aside time to read online reviews. You might even try searching the internet for the mobile pay app in question along with other keywords like “fraud,” “data breach,” and “reliability.”

No app will have an entirely spotless record—human error is a factor, after all. But it’s generally a good idea to pass on a mobile banking app if you’ve never heard of it before.

There’s no Wi-Fi like home Wi-Fi.

When you add credit card information to your mobile wallet, encryption methods ensure those numbers are securely stored. But things get a little murky when you do so while using an unsecured public Wi-Fi network. That’s because some hackers will lurk on those networks and launch spoofing attacks on unsuspecting users.

Spoofing is the act of setting up a fake registration system that looks just like the mobile apps you know and trust. If you enter financial information into your phone while using public Wi-Fi, there’s a chance you could be handing your account numbers directly to a cybercriminal. As such, it’s recommended you postpone making any updates to your mobile wallet until you’re in the comfort of your own secure Wi-Fi connection.

If there’s absolutely no way around it and you have to make that update from wherever you are, use a personal virtual private network (VPN) to get it done. Sounds complicated, but setting up a VPN is simple—and definitely worth the peace of mind.

Pay attention to the score—your credit score.

When it comes to how to improve security on mobile pay, you can do everything right and still fall victim to cyberthieves. That’s why it’s so important to understand and monitor your credit reports. The sooner you detect and report fraudulent activity, the faster you can intervene to protect your credit health. And while Keesler Federal offers multiple features that alert you to suspicious activity on your account, it’s better to work in tandem with those in case something falls through the cracks.

For example, Keesler Federal Everywhere online and mobile banking includes a number of features—including credit monitoring via SavvyMoney—to keep your financial information secure. Learn more about our mobile banking app and how it can help you simplify the process of managing your finances.