Mobile Banking Brings Payment Cautions

Published 06/10 2014 07:30PM

Updated 06/10 2014 07:54PM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- People are relying less on wallets, cash and checkbooks and relying more on smartphones.  The question is: How secure are they?

From paper, to plastic, to smartphone.  Consumers are changing their payment and banking methods.

"It's growing in popularity every day," says Shane Cowger, Arvest Bank sales manager.

Certain apps, like Venmo, Squarecash, and PayPal, allow users to make payments with their smartphones. 

"Whether that's between two individuals, or transferring money between PayPal and their bank account, you're seeing more and more people utilizing these devices," explains Cowger.

"It's so simple. It takes out the middle man," says Madeline Hickman, a mobile payment user.

Trips to the bank aren't as common because of mobile banking.  Some apps even allow you to deposit checks directly from your phone! 

"You're finding more people that want that convenience factor," adds Cowger. 

Arvest Bank saw a 202 percent increase in mobile check deposits when comparing January and February of 2013 to the same months in 2014.

Cowger says there is low risk for the mobile banking user.  Most banks use the highest encryption: 128 bits. 

"I would be highly confident in those institutions providing me, and my financial information being very secure," says Cowger.

Other apps and financial institutions, however, may be using lower encryption levels.

"If someone is asking for bank account information, and so they're storing this information on those applications, and somebody accesses, or hacks into that application, that's where that consumer is going to have risk," explains Cowger.

Cowger says the risk is low with vendors, like PayPal, who have been around awhile.  He cautions users about using newly released apps.

"There are some other folks that are trying to get into this payment to payment system world.  So those are yet to be proven," adds Cowger. 

Check the app's website to determine how credible they are.

"There are a lot of cool apps out there. Sometimes not being the first user is the best thing. Make sure it's proven," advises Cowger.

Cowger expects this trend in increased smartphone usage to continue.  Even some retailers and food vendors are starting to incorporate mobile payment methods into their business.

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