Even though more people are using their smartphones and tablets with myriad communications and lifestyle applications, many are still reluctant to adopt mobile banking.
One of the reasons is concern about security. According to a study by Javelin Strategy & Research, there was a 60 percent increase in the number of smartphone users between 2009 and 2010; from 2010 through March 2011, the number of smartphone users increased again by 43 percent. During the same time period, however, there was no change in mobile banking usage. In fact, in 2009, 26 percent of smartphone owners were uncomfortable using their phone for banking; a year later that number jumped to 40 percent [source: Waters]. As of September 2010, more than half of all cell phone users see mobile banking as unsafe [source: Clairmail].
However, with a little common sense and caution, mobile banking is safe and secure. Simply use the same precautions and awareness of security that you would on a computer. Don't open unknown e-mail links or go to unfamiliar Web sites. Make sure you install antivirus software and use the app that's right for your phone type and your bank. It's also smart not to send online banking credentials using em-ail or text. Avoid using public WiFi access to conduct personal banking business or sales transactions.
Bank experts say that security isn't a problem because bank data is guarded with passwords and other identification requirements. Plus, if you lose your phone or tablet, it can be disabled, so no one can access your information.
As mobile banking grows in popularity and more financial institutions offer the service, expect its functionality to increase. A few banks have actually made it possible to make mobile deposits; as mobile banking becomes more mainstream, expect this technology to become a lot more user-friendly in the future.