Life before mobile banking just seems so rudimentary now. Trying to find your cheque book, those silly bank statements (which you know you put in a safe place), or even a carpark near the bank feels old school now.

When banking became available online, the people cheered. What a huge time saver. But when banking apps became available on mobile phones, the people roared. Life would never be the same again.

Whether it’s paying your electricity bill or even the flute teacher on the go, transferring money at the supermarket register, or locating an ATM when you need cash ASAP, mobile banking has been transformational.

But while there are massive upsides to mobile banking apps, it is essential that we understand the best way of managing the risks to avoid the potential downsides. Here are my top tips to ensure you stay safe while banking on your smartphone:

1. Never Ever Store Your Banking Passwords On Your Smartphone

I know it sounds super obvious but a clever crim knows exactly how to locate your banking logins and passwords on lost or stolen phones. Please commit them to memory and don’t even think about trying to hide them in your phone contacts.

2. Avoid Using Public Wi-Fi For Mobile Banking

A shared, unsecured Wi-Fi hotspot could actually be a trap set up by a lurking hacker intent on stealing any data you share while connected. Please try very hard to avoid using public Wi-Fi’s but, if you are absolutely desperate, ensure your chosen Wi-Fi hotspot is reputable and password protected.

3. Be Aware Of Shoulder Surfers

Most of us bank on the go, so being aware of others snooping over your shoulder while conducting financial transactions is essential. Take the time and sign up for multi-factor authentication which will reduce the threat of a shoulder surfer stealing your banking logins.

4. Protect Your Phone And Install Security Software

Many of us have protected our laptops with security software but don’t remember our phones. Top notch security software will not only protect you from downloading viruses and malware, it can also remotely wipe your data if you lose your phone. McAfee offers free McAfee Mobile Security to secure both Android™ and iOS® devices.

5. Ensure You Are Using Your Bank’s Official App and NOT A Fake One

Fake apps are one of the latest ways hackers are worming their way into our private lives and getting their hands on our private information. One way to ensure you reach your bank’s ‘real’ app on either the App Store or Google Play is to click the link from your bank’s own website. And just to be doubly sure, before you tap download, check out the reviews to ensure no one has had any issue with it. Unfortunately, not everything is legitimate.

6. NEVER Click On A Link Sent To You By ‘Your Bank’

Cybercriminals spend a lot of time and resources trying to direct consumers to fake websites they have created that look almost exactly like the real thing. So if your bank has sent you an email and you’re just not sure, please navigate yourself to the site. Do NOT click on that link. Remember, a secure website URL should start with ‘https’.

7. Say ‘YES’ To Your Bank’s Security Offerings

Many online banking platforms have a number of additional security offerings to protect their customers and minimize the impact of stolen logins. Multi-factor authentication, daily transfer limits and transfer notifications are just a sample. So please, say YES to all of them and give yourself another layer of protection.

And if you have teens in the house who are on the cusp of managing their own finances, please make sure they know how to avoid the pitfalls of mobile banking. While they may think they have mobile banking ‘all sorted’, they may need a few reminders about how to make good decisions… Ah, the joys of parenting!!