For mobile banking users, convenience outweighs security concerns

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Just a few years ago, depositing a check required a trip to your local bank. Now, mobile banking allows customers to deposit checks, transfer money between accounts, check their account balance and more.

But do these conveniences outweigh security concerns with mobile banking?

For more than half of American adults, including MSU neuroscience freshman Ethan Kosmyna, the answer is yes.

Fifty-eight percent of U.S. adults use a mobile device to manage their banking accounts at least once a month, according to a survey from the American Banking Association.

Kosmyna said he generally doesn’t feel the need to carry his wallet with him because between mobile banking and apps like Apple Pay, he can use his phone for virtually all of his purchases.

Kosmyna said he feels more comfortable giving someone else his phone to make a transaction instead of giving them his credit card.

He said since his phone and banking apps are password-protected, if he or someone else were to lose his phone it would be more difficult for them to get his banking information.

Kosmyna said his iPhone uses facial recognition to unlock the device, and his eyes need to be open in order for it to work.

“I feel like in the most absurd scenario and someone was trying to steal my stuff… like if someone has a gun to your head it’d be the same outcome if you were typing in a password,” Kosmyna said.

Kosmyna said he doesn’t know of anyone whose banking information was compromised, so using his banking app and Apple Pay was something he didn’t even think about.

“Half the time I just connect my credit card to my app or to Apple Pay so I don’t even carry my card with me most of the time,” he said.

MSU media & information senior Justin Simpson said his mobile banking app is useful, but he thinks it would be easier for his information to be compromised on a mobile device.

He said he mainly uses his app to check his balance, deposit checks and occasionally to transfer money between accounts.

“It’s hackable. So it’s plausible, but it hasn’t happened,” he said. “I feel like in this digital age, everybody is just waiting for stuff to happen and being reactionary. It’s not like people are going to stop using their phones.”

Simpson said he thinks if someone wanted to get ahold of his information, they probably could. “People are hacking HBO and Sony, and they have more money than me.”

Deirdre Davis, chief marketing officer at Michigan State University Federal Credit Union, said there are steps mobile banking app users can take to minimize the chances of their data being compromised.

Davis said installing automatic software updates helps ensure the latest version of the app is on users’ phones. She said this is important because updates help to “patch” any mistakes or bugs that exist within the app.

Kosmyna said the convenience of mobile banking coupled with the fact that he’s always with his phone and won’t lose it makes mobile banking more convenient than carrying his credit card or wallet around with him.

Even if he were to lose his phone, Kosmyna said, his information is password protected and he can freeze his accounts through his bank, so he feels that his information is secure.

Simpson said that while he’s paranoid about his information being compromised, conveniences like depositing a check using only his phone definitely outweigh those concerns.

“Everything’s fine as long as it keeps working, but when it doesn’t, then everybody’s kind of screwed,” Simpson said. “They can hack anything, and the fact that the world is running digitally is kind of scary. Everything is hackable.”

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