Do you have an existing FinTech or banking business that could benefit from having a mobile app to support it? Then keep reading, because there is a lot of space for your app idea if you go about it in the right way.
If you want evidence that mobile apps are transforming modern life, consider how the process of simple banking has changed. Depositing checks, transferring money, and starting new accounts has traditionally taken significant time in a brick-and mortar bank, waiting in line and maybe having to sit down in an office with an associate to get these fairly routine tasks accomplished. Nobody has time for that these days.
Now, taking a picture of a paycheck or instantly paying your friend back for brunch gets these mundane errands done in a few seconds from your smartphone, and 62% of mobile banking app users feel the best benefit of a banking app is greater awareness of their financial situation, according to this report. Obviously convenient and quick, but is it safe? Lots of people use these FinTech mobile apps, but many don’t, due to concerns that their identity and financial data will be compromised. Online fraud is on the rise, and many people, including a large number of older Americans, are at risk and skeptical about using these apps, according to this data.
Well, we’re here to make you feel a little safer when developing a banking app. Let’s look at the various security measures to put in place to help keep your users’ money secure.
Typically, the first (and perhaps the most effective) layer of security is authentication. Authentication has multiple methods to assure the user is who they say they are. The first, and likely oldest, is password protection. Communicate with your users that having complex and somewhat random passwords on any app with sensitive data is a must. There are even apps that can help users keep all their passwords straight. Keep changing them, also, and keep them far from any personal names or dates.
Beyond that, there are biometric means of verification that continue to evolve. The most prevalent is fingerprint identification, and the combination of complex passwords and fingerprint reading is a very formidable security gate for your app. Additionally, retinal and facial recognition technology is advancing rapidly, and is becoming available to all sorts of aps and devices.
Unsecured data and other financial and personal information are always a liability. Encryption, as a developer, is the most essential security measure that can be implemented. Most apps have all the user data stored on the device; this is great for speed and performance, but very risky if your device is stolen or lost. The ability to keep your user data safe on both sides of any transaction is key, and in fact is federally mandated for any bank or financial institution. There’s more about this in this article, and it mentions how important application security is:
“Application encryption involves the use of an encryption library and a key retrieval service. Encryption at the application layer fundamentally means that you are encrypting data before inserting it into a database or other storage mechanism, and decrypting it after you retrieve the data. It provides a very granular level of control of sensitive data and allows for the application of user access controls, program access controls, data masking, and other security controls. Many feel that application layer encryption is the most secure way to protect data.”
If users are reviewing any financial or banking app before downloading it, they’re usually going to make sure that it adheres to these federal regulations (GLBA/FFIEC) and has proper encryption measures throughout.
If you’ve ever used a banking app, it’s likely that you’ve gotten a text and/or email after certain levels of expenditure, transfers, or any significant transaction. These notifications should always be available, with interactive controls that allow you to set the levels of communication to your preferred space. This is a simple yet very effective method to help prevent fraud at the crucial first stage of security violation. Additionally, having a responsive and effective support system, both online and phone, gives users information and reassurance when any questionable transactions occur.
People using banking apps want total utility and access wherever they might be. That said, many connections to the internet may not be secure enough to protect their information. Even a simple switch from http to https makes the transaction much safer, yet it’s challenging to be able to find that sort of security when you’re out and about. At the very least, the banking app should warn users when they are attempting to open and use their app on an unsecure connection, and open WiFi should be avoided.
Again, this falls under the umbrella of keeping the user informed and aware of potentially harmful cybercrime tactics. One particular scheme involves the user receiving an urgent message with official branding from the bank, often via email, warning the user of potential security risks. The next step of this scam has the user enter a mobile phone number, and the user receives a text message with a link to “repair” the problem. This gives the scammer access to the user’s device, and can lead to identity fraud and theft. Secure communications from within the app and necessary verification via phone can help users keep their devices safe and secure.
There are a few more features to give users added security and comfort. One simple step is ensuring that the app shuts itself down after a limited amount of idle time. Most users have experienced this, and while it can be a temporary inconvenience, open banking apps can be targeted for theft. If you’re device is stolen or lost, report it immediately to the wireless provider, as they can quickly “brick” your device to prevent it from logging in on any WiFi network.
Remember, any bank should take pride in their mobile app security measures and you should too.
Are you interested in developing a banking app? Check out some of our FinTech experience and reach out to us if you think we’re a good fit!