From buying coffee with the tap of your phone to depositin­­g a cheque with a smartphone snapshot, managing your money has never been easier. According to the Canadian Bankers Association, 76% of Canadians are using digital channels – both online and mobile – to conduct most of their banking transactions, and 91% believe that these new technologies have made banking more convenient.

With the Scotiabank mobile banking app, you can complete your everyday banking needs easily from anywhere, from sending an international money transfer and renewing your mortgage to paying your bills and applying for new products. It's no wonder that Canadians love using mobile banking apps, with 56% of Canadians reportedly using mobile banking in the last year. In fact, 32% of financial transactions are done with a mobile device – and this number is only expected to increase in the next five years.

But how safe are mobile banking apps? Read on to learn more about mobile banking and safe mobile practices.

Are mobile banking apps safe to use?

Generally speaking, mobile banking apps are very secure, as Canadian banks have invested heavily in sophisticated cybersecurity technology to keep you safe. Apps like the Scotiabank Mobile Banking app have a secure connection with their system, making it very difficult for fraudsters to crack in and interfere. Plus, there are layers of security build into apps to protect your privacy: for instance, user identity is verified through multiple factors, your credit card and account numbers are hidden, account nicknames are available, and sessions are automatically timed-out. We've also designed our interfaces to help protect those using devices in public places, as well as to support biometric authentication (fingerprint/facial recognition) when signing into the app.

However, there are also some extra precautions you can take to safeguard your confidential information. Read on to learn how to protect yourself when banking from your phone.

Get started with banking on your mobile device

Protect your device

Start by safeguarding your device against cyberthreats. Here are some easy and practical things you can do:

1. Choose a secure password

Create a hard-to-crack banking password that uses a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols, and don't reuse it for other websites/apps. If you suspect your password has been compromised, change it immediately.

2. Set up biometric authentication

If possible, set up biometric authentication to login to the Scotiabank mobile banking app. Biometric authentication is more secure than a password login, because it means that your fingerprint or face recognition is needed to access the Scotiabank banking app. So, if a fraudster somehow cracks your code and gets into your device, it would be virtually impossible to access your banking information through the Scotiabank app. In this way, biometric login is actually more secure than signing in with a passcode, and your biometrics are never stored on the Scotiabank system.

3. Avoid access through a public Wi-Fi network

A “free" Wi-Fi network could be a computer-to-computer network that allows cyber criminals to see everything you do online. For mobile banking or online purchases, stick to a secure Wi-Fi network that you know and trust.

4. Prevent unauthorized access

  • Enable a passcode or biometric authentication to unlock your phone.
  • Never share your user IDs, passwords, or PINs with anyone – even family and friends.
  • Avoid storing bank account numbers, user IDs, or passwords on your mobile device.
  • If possible, set up biometric authentication – whereby your fingerprint or face recognition is used to login to the mobile banking app.
  • If something seems suspicious, contact Scotiabank at 1-800-4-SCOTIA (1-800-472-6842), press 3, and then press 1.  Do not click on links or respond to questionable emails, texts, or phone calls.

5. Trust the creator of an app before downloading it

Beware of “free" apps and utilities like wallpapers, calendars, and third-party services that may collect your data, which can compromise your cybersecurity. An app could contain malicious code like “spyware" (that covertly monitors your online movements) and “keystroke loggers" (that secretly tracks what you're typing), which can be used to access your personal information or financial accounts. Luckily, Scotiabank has protections in place to defend against devices that have been tampered with.

What are the risks of mobile banking?

Canadian banks are equipped to detect and deal with cyber threats, but it's essential that you follow safe mobile practices to keep your device secure. One thing you can do is use a mobile banking app – a fraudster would have a hard time replicating a banking app, whereas it’s very easy to create a carbon copy of a website.

What if I make a mistake?

  • Don't panic! Mistakes happen, and if you encounter a security breach, immediately take the following action to protect your information:
  • Change your online passwords (email, mobile banking, etc.).
  • Contact your device's service provider to disable your account and “blacklist” your phone's unique identifier (IMEI). That means that participating Canadian wireless service providers will not allow your device to be used on their wireless networks.
  • Depending on your device, you may be able to locate your lost mobile device and/or delete sensitive information remotely using a built-in app.
  • Notify Scotiabank at 1-800-4 SCOTIA (1-800 472-6842) in the event of loss, theft, misuse or compromise of your ScotiaCardScotiaCard number, mobile banking password or mobile device.

Mobile app security tips

  • Only download mobile banking apps from the Apple App Store (iPhone) or Google Play Store (Android).
  • Turn on automatic software and security updates.
  • Use biometric authentication.  Enable Touch ID or Face ID on eligible iOS devices, and Fingerprint or Face Unlock on eligible Android devices to unlock your phone and access your Scotiabank account.
  • Mobile banking apps are very safe to use, provided that you’re adhering to safe mobile practices. The Scotiabank mobile banking app is equipped with high-powered security systems that protect your privacy and financial information.

Ready to get your finances on track for your future? Come in and speak to a Scotia advisor today