Practical guide to understanding how digital banking works
Making transfers, checking funds, managing accounts, arranging loans, and a wide range of operations can be done without leaving your couch. Gone are the days when you needed to take the morning off work to resolve domestic financial issues. Today just an internet connection and a device are required. But, be careful; in the 2.0 environment you also have to behave responsibly, especially when it comes to accounts.
Society is evolving at the pace of technology, a giddy pace that accelerates any process of change and forces us to adapt ever faster. This reflection may explain, in part, the increase in users that online banking has experienced in just a decade, from 16% penetration on the market in 2007 to 46% in 2017, according to the latest Eurostat report. A study that also marks 2016 as a turning point in the internet banking industry in Spain, when the number of clients increased to 43%. And although we are still far from the 85% of the Netherlands or the 64% of the United Kingdom, the truth is that the growth in the use of online banking in our country has been extraordinary.
We go less and less to entities to perform simple operations such as making transfers, checking our balance or managing the systems we use to pay back the payments made with a credit card; and we leave the more complicated operations, those that we cannot understand over the screen, for our bank advisor to explain. According to the Pagos Digitales 2017 study made by Visa, 77% of Spaniards use their mobile devices to control their finances and make daily payments.
In just two years, the number of users in Spain checking their balance or accessing other services through a banking application has grown significantly, from 7% in 2015 to 63% today. And the reasons for this important growth are not few: access to your accounts 24 hours a day, seven days a week; the convenience of performing any operation without having to go to the bank; the lower management costs that allow better offers and conditions to be achieved; and, in short, greater closeness to the financial entity and greater transparency and control of operations and accounts.
And, although it is true that the digital attitude is, in many cases, a generational feature, it is also true that more and more users prefer to operate through mobile phones. Without going any further, in Spain, at the end of 2016, 14.8 million digital banking customers were registered, 1.2 million more than in 2015. Banco Santander stood out among the most active entities in digital banking, accumulating, in March 2017, 22.1 million customers (of which 2.8 million are in Spain), which is 24% more than in the same month of the previous year.
Although we are more than accustomed to using the smartphone or tablets in our daily lives to check email, watch series, read, take photographs and even access our bank, it never hurts to know a couple of tips to avoid surprises:
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi. If we connect through an open network, that is, in a network that does not require a password, the data that we transmit can be read by anyone. If the system asks for a password, the information will be transferred in encrypted form. However, this will always be conditioned by the security system that network uses.
- Confirm your operations. All, if not the vast majority, of banks have an SMS operations notification service to inform their customers of the movements they make in their account. This is an ideal way to control your expenses and also avoid unpleasant surprises.
- Always close session. Each time you use your online banking through any device, close the session when finished.
- Update the system. Updates are additions or modifications made on the operating systems or applications that we have installed on the devices and whose mission is to improve aspects of functionality and security. If we do not keep our equipment up to date we expose ourselves to all kinds of risks: information theft, loss of privacy, economic damage, etc.
- Access via the bank page. And never through a link sent to you in an email, for instance.
- Periodically change your access codes. You must choose a secure password containing uppercase, lowercase, numbers and other characters and change it every so often. And very important, never share these passwords with friends or use them for other internet services such as social networks.
- Check the security measures of the page. When you access a secure site on the Internet, a yellow padlock appears in the address bar and your address always starts with https: //. If not, do not trust it. The page will not be secure or may have been hacked.
- Do not answer mails from your bank. Sometimes mails arrive seemingly from a financial institution, in which information or the verification of certain confidential data is requested: personal, financial data, passwords ... Never answer. The entities never send these kinds of emails and, if you have any doubts, call your bank and ask.
With these simple measures you will not have problem in managing your domestic economy through your mobile phone without leaving home.