Mobile banking apps have become a crucial aspect of how financial institutions connect with and empower all aspects of their customer base. According to a recent study by Market Force, 77% of consumers whose banks offer a mobile app have downloaded the program, with all age groups surveyed steadily increasing their banking app adoption rates over the last three years. People are becoming more and more comfortable with mobile banking and its capabilities have helped banks around the world reach previously untapped audiences in developing nations.

However, mobile banking can present serious security risks when exploited by hackers.

It’s crucial that banks not only work to keep their apps secure, but put customers’ worries at ease in order to encourage continued app usage and prevent potential threats. The following three measurable, proven app security improvements can convince customers that an app is secure and ready for long-term usage.

1. Explain How You’re Securing Data

The biggest threat to banking app security is the exploitation of weak data encryption and communication between devices and servers, and customers are becoming more aware of these dangers than ever. Creating and consistently updating data encryption is not just crucial to ensuring secure apps, but also putting users at greater ease when considering whether they should use the app.

There are numerous ways in which data breaches can occur, including unsecured data transit, access to app source code from users and improper usage by employees using enterprise apps. While it is crucial for businesses to fight back against such security issues through data encryption, it is just as important that security measures are communicated to app users in order to encourage continued usage. The perception of security from users can be reinforced through numerous methods, including:

  • Fast App Patches: News travels fast when a banking app is breached. Security faults are exploited by hackers even faster. That’s why it’s crucial that app developers patch their software as quickly and completely as possible. Should concerns arise, a banking software team should be able to provide answers and assuage fears in as little time as possible and before damage can be done.
  • Sign-In Procedures: Signing in may be a frustrating process for some, but it is crucial for any app containing sensitive financial data. An efficient, strong and consistent sign-in procedure that can visually illustrate the safeguards being put in place will help assure security. Biometrics sign-in procedures, such as fingerprint sign in, are both secure and fast.
  • Detailed App Updates: When updating any aspect of a banking app, update notifications should detail what has been improved in easily understandable language. Far too often, app updates are given vague descriptions that can cause confusion or even worries in users who are unsure of what such updates actually mean. Clearly defined updates can have the opposite effect.

Consistency and clarity in these areas will result in increased trust and long-term usefulness for your mobile banking apps.

2. Selective Remote Wipe Capabilities

In order to run more smoothly and quickly access needed information to prevent frustrations, mobile apps often store some amount of data and documents on the device in which they have been installed. This includes mobile banking apps, which by their nature contain far more sensitive data than most other types of applications.

But what happens if a device containing a mobile banking app is lost or stolen? Having password protection on a phone can only provide so much security when someone has an unlimited amount of unwanted access to the device.

The fear of losing a device is enough to discourage many from including sensitive-information-accessing apps on their phones. As such, it is crucial that banks provide advanced security measures that can handle the loss of a smartphone or other mobile device. As detailed by Appcelerator, a remote wipe capability can erase crucial data in the case of a device being lost and can put your users at greater ease. Doing so can prevent customers from seeing a mobile banking app as a constant possible security risk to encourage installation and consistent usage.

Just as importantly, having an easy to access but highly secure way to approve and begin a remote app wipe can help put customers at ease in the event that they quickly need to secure their finances.

3. Control High-Risk Mobile Transactions

Mobile apps should allow their users to execute a wide variety of actions to reinforce that they have value in the day-to-day needs of users. However, apps that take risk factors like device security, user location, and network connection security can help prevent unaware users of taking actions that could put them at greater risk. In doing so, users can be shown that banks are actively looking out for them.

As discussed by Dark Reading, risky behaviors that a banking app may want to prevent include:

  • Transactions made at suspicious times and locations
  • Devices compromised by viruses and other security issues
  • Higher-than-normal financial transactions
  • Processes completed over unsecured internet connections

Mobile app users want a certain degree of freedom and when they come up against usage restrictions, they may be tempted to ditch their app. However, when these restrictions are shown to be the result of a bank actively looking out for its clients’ well-being, app users can see that their financial institutions are thinking about them, not simply leaving them up to their own devices. When the right balance is struck, the result is a stronger bond between bank and customer and a much more personal, loyalty-forming relationship.

Creating Better Mobile Banking

Want to see real world examples of how mobile banking can strengthen a financial institution? Learn how the LGT SmartBanking initiative was made possible through Liferay.

Read the LGT Case Study  
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