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How to use financial apps on your phone without getting ripped off

By 05.21.12

Having apps on your phone to manage your finances is incredibly handy. Most major financial institutions, online banks like ING Direct, and loan providers have some form of an app that lets you access your account, shift money around, and pay bills. And, of course, PayPal has an app as well.


The problem, of course, is that if you lose your phone, that information could suddenly be in the hands of a thief, or worse the kind of jackass who thinks messing up your life is funny. So, here’s how to frustrate them both.

Don’t Save Any Information

If the app asks whether or not you want it to remember your password and login, the answer to that question is always no. It’ll make logging in a bit more annoying, but it’ll stop thieves in their tracks.

Be Careful Where You Use Your Phone

Want to know the most effective weapon in a credit card thief’s arsenal?

Looking over your shoulder.

Called “shoulder surfing,” thieves generally use this method to get your PIN or other access information. So, don’t use your phone to check your bank balance where people might be lurking behind you.

Pick and Choose Your Apps

Depending on how paranoid you are, you might want to just forget about some apps entirely. After all, the best way to ensure a thief can’t get at your bank account through your phone is to not download and use that bank’s app in the first place. And if you’re using the student loan apps…what’s he going to do? Pay them off twice?

About Dan Seitz... Dan Seitz is a semi-professional nerd (he'll have to code a homebrew game for the NES before he goes pro). He grew up fiddling with video game systems, computers, cameras, and other technology you should never hand to an eight-year-old if you want it back in pristine condition. Currently, he lives in Boston with his girlfriend, her cat, a Shih Tzu, and far too many objects with processors.
TAGSAppsfinancial app safetyfinancial appsfinancial tipsGadgetsGadgets for menHow tophone safetyphone safety tipssafetyThe Library

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