By Ellie Cornell - Winsor School - NextGenVest Club Director - Boston, MA
As a child, I had a pink rectangle box in which I stacked the money I collected from chores and allowance; I took pride in this fat stack of $1 bills and the occasional $5. With a piece of paper from my Hello Kitty notebook, I made three columns: balance, putting in or taking out, and purpose. I hid the box and thought to myself, what a great system!However, when I went to buy my first iPod, I was met with dismay and pity as I put down my $200 dollars in cash and coins. Turns out, Apple employees do not appreciate spending a chunk of their time counting quarters. To further the inconvenience of my self-made bank, my siblings took advantage of its lack of security and made their own undocumented withdrawals. My only option was to wait until I was old enough to drive to a bank.
The Top Mobile Banking Apps
As I grew into a young adult, the options for banking changed. Utilizing laptops and smart phones that have fast become the norm, managing accounts went from banks, to computers, to cellphones. This brought on a trend revolving around mobile accessibility and convenience. Keeping up with the status quo, almost every major bank now provides an app available on smart phones to reduce the inconveniences associated with personal finances. Some of the top rated mobile banking apps include American Express, Wells Fargo, and TD Bank. With these apps, I was able to balance the accessibility of my childhood moneybox with the security of a bank.All you have to do is download mobile banking into your life. Wanting to ease into the new mobile platform and familiarize myself with looking at my finances from my phone, I bought Spendee, a broader finance app. Similarly to my childhood moneybox, Spendee manually documents income and expenses in order to track money habits, a concept especially suitable for younger generations who don’t always put every dollar in the bank. The next step was downloading the Bank of America app. The downside was that it required an existing account, which means going to the bank or registering online. Other apps, such as BVAA Compass, allow you to sign up from your phone. I entered my information and played around with the features such as depositing checks, paying bills, and transferring money. I know that as my financial independence increases, I will use this app more frequently.
The Safety of Mobile Banking
Safety is a huge concern in mobile banking. If the key to all my money is in my back pocket, it seems as though theft is highly likely. Thankfully, you can usually find an app’s privacy policies, something you should be sure to read before entering any of your information. Starting with an initial phone password and login information on the app, the online and mobile banking information is often encrypted, followed by a safety plan and a security guarantee. Unfortunately, many banks are rush-ordering their mobile applications due to high demand, and as such are not guaranteeing safety beforehand. Mike Stern, Director of Business Development at Xtreme Labs says, “A poor mobile banking experience can be the single factor for a bank to lose a customer.” Thus, when testing mobile banking apps on security, viaForensics, a mobile security company, only decreed 14 apps safe out of the 32 apps. They gave 10 of the apps a warning and failed 8 all-together. These are alarming numbers considering your savings hang in the balance.As the technology progresses, however, so does the app security. Before jumping onto the mobile banking trend, take the time to go to your bank first. Ask them what their app can offer you and how your finances can be safe and accessible. The next step is to explore the "finance" category on the App Store on your phone in order to get a better understanding of mobile banking. Mobile banking apps are changing the convenience and accessibility of personal banking. Banking can be trendy.