In a world that is becoming increasingly digital, many have shifted towards using technology in order to manage and monitor their finances. While the notion of traditional banks is still very much alive, the birth of financial technology (or fintech, as it is better known) has introduced numerous ways of managing your funds via your smartphone, laptop or tablet, all the while dodging pesky banking fees, long queues, paperwork and other bureaucratic hurdles that traditional banking brings along with it.

With fintech ballooning at an unstoppable rate, concepts like e-money and virtual cash have also become commonplace, and while there are several benefits that have been brought along, it is important to be aware of one’s security and safety, especially when it comes to managing your funds online or through your phone.

With the swift adoption of smartphones into our daily lives, many users are left vulnerable to financial attacks. These can occur especially when phones are used for shopping, or any other transaction which requires the exchange of payment information. A 2013 Norton report revealed that 1 in 3 smartphone users has experienced some form of cybercrime.

The following are a number of ways in which customers can help safeguard their funds against theft or hacking. While several may seem obvious, they tend to be the ones that we take for granted, and subsequently ignore.

1.    Monitor your account on a daily basis 

While this might seem like an added task or waste of time for some, checking your account(s) on a daily basis will not only give you a clearer picture of what is going on with your funds, but it will also help make you more aware of any possible fraudulent activity.

2.    Use strong passwords/face authentication systems

Whether it is to access your funds online, make a transaction, or purchase an item online, each time you log in to any platform, hackers are given the perfect opportunity to steal data. This is why it is important to use strong passwords, and even two-step authentication systems and face ID log-ins when applicable, in order to make sure that anything accessed online is protected with an extra layer of security.

3.    Refrain from accessing your account from just anywhere

Unsecured Wi-Fi networks or unprotected devices can be a gateway for hackers. While it is ideal that you view your financial information from the same platform, there are other ways to protect yourself while accessing your banking activities, and making sure you are connected to a secured internet network would be the first. Another step is to only access web pages with the “https” prefix at the beginning. If this is not visible, sites can be deemed unsafe. 

4.    Never share banking information 

Keeping your passwords and banking details as private as possible is paramount in safeguarding your finances. Even disclosing them to the closest family members or friends is considered unsafe. Scammers may also try to disguise themselves as banks or financial institutions via email or text, which is why it is always important not to respond in these cases and keep any piece of information about yourself private. 

5.    Do not save card details on browsers
Web browsers often offer the option of automatically saving card or banking details, facilitating the process for the user by not inputting the same data each time. Although this may seem like a tempting option, avoiding it would be best in order to protect your details and steer clear of hackers or online thieves. 

6.    Be aware when shopping online

While it is not wrong to shop online via your phone or tablet, whether via browser or retail app, one should be extra wary with unfamiliar sellers. It is advisable to verify the legitimacy of an online shopping site, prior to finalising any transactions.

7.    Freeze your card immediately if lost/stolen

Finally, in the event that your card is lost or stolen, it is advised to immediately freeze it, blocking anyone but the authorized user from conducting any transactions. With Vault, freezing and unfreezing your card on the go has been made easy. The unique feature allows you to instantly freeze your card – and unfreeze it in the event it is retrieved – saving you from the time-consuming process of ordering a new one, without having to worry about fraudulent transactions.