The UAE has a competitive banking sector with over 50 banks operating, both international and local. It also has a flourishing Islamic banking sector with a couple of banks operating exclusively as Islamic banks while others have developed products to cater for this expanding customer base. All the major banks operating have online banking facilities while almost all have an operational website for the convenience of their customers.
Several banks and telecommunication operators in the UAE have launched mobile banking capabilities as part of their services to consumers. Most of the international banks have their own mobile banking apps which they provide to their customers free of cost. While using this application, a user only incurs mobile data charges or internet subscription fees from the telecom service provider. It’s always advisable to check with your mobile service provider for details on data charges.
Mobile banking enables various services including account information, bill payment, transaction alerts, deposits, fund transfer between accounts in the same bank or to in an account in another bank, request for remittances and updated foreign exchange rates.
But how secure is mobile banking? The good news is that mobile banking is somewhat secure just because there are so many variations of banking apps and methods in the market. A hacker has no way of predicting which method a potential victim might use. If there were only one standardized method the story might be different.
Even so, there are certain rules you should follow to make sure your banking information remains safe. You should never follow a banking link sent to you in a text message or e-mail. These links could potentially lead you to a spoofed website. If you enter your information into such a site, you’ve just handed that data over to thieves. It’s always a good idea to navigate to a website directly. Enter your bank’s web address into your phone and bookmark it. This will help you avoid bogus websites.
Many banks now offer official applications in smart phones and tablet app stores. In general, these apps tend to be more secure than sending information by SMS message or e-mail. Most banks go to great lengths to make sure any information sent across a network by an app is encrypted.
Make sure your bank sanctions the app before you download and install it. Most banks will include a section on their websites to let you know about the official app. Once you’ve verified the app is official, it shouldn’t be difficult to download and install to your device.
Top 5 security tips to protect you online:
- Keep your passwords and security details safe, so no one else can access your online accounts
- Download security updates and patches for the computer programs you use
- Update your anti-virus software regularly to protect your computer against attacks from new viruses
- Install a personal firewall to block hackers and to stop spyware recording the personal information you enter online
- Avoid using public computers to access your personal internet banking