This week's post is a guest post from fellow blogger Andrew Altman. Andrew is the editor-in-chief of an informational website SlickBucks.com. SlickBucks aims to help beginner investors by reviewing financial products and brokerages, sharing advice and tips and publishing helpful guides for new investors and help them to get the kind of financial wealth they desire.
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Mobile app investing is rapidly becoming one of the leading ways that people invest today. You can do anything on your mobile phone -- from ordering food from a restaurant to ordering stocks when the stock market opens.
But is mobile app investing truly secure?
Types of Mobile App Investing
Mobile investing can occur in a myriad of different ways. Mobile apps such as Robinhood can automatically draft money into your savings account, control your stock portfolios, connect to your IRA, or even manage your budget for you -- essentially anything that a different platform can do.
The difference is simply that mobile app investing occurs on a mobile device, such as a smartphone or a tablet. This also means that the mobile app is usually available specifically for iOS, Android, or Windows phones.
The Benefits of Mobile App Investing
Available. Mobile app investing is available wherever you are, which means you can keep an eye on your investments on the go. This can be a huge advantage when dealing with investments that need to be managed all the time.
Easy. Many people can feel overwhelmed by more specialized programs, such as stock tracking platforms. Mobile applications are very easy and simple to use, as they are straightforward and designed to be used by anyone, regardless of their personal financial and technical knowledge.
Diverse. As noted, there are many different types of mobile app for investing. There are likely hundreds of reputable applications that a user can choose from, so that they can invest based on their own personal needs.
Affordable. Most mobile app investment accounts are specifically designed for investors who may not have a lot of money to sink into their investment strategies. Though they can be just as complete and robust as a professional app, they don't have expensive fees to purchase them.
Potential Drawbacks to Mobile App Investing
No type of investing is without potential drawbacks. Naturally, mobile app investment has some of the same drawbacks as other types of investment: there are certain levels of risk that an investor is going to have to take on. But there are also some potential drawbacks which are specific to mobile apps.
Mobile apps may not be as secure as other types of investment platform. Though there are many trustworthy applications, some of them may not have the types of security that are required of financial institutions. Mobile apps can be published from anywhere, including other countries and other legal jurisdictions. This means that users need to be especially conscientious when choosing a mobile app.
Identifying Trustworthy Mobile Apps
History. A company that has a significant amount of history in the financial industry is far more trustworthy than a company that has a background primarily in mobile apps.
You want to make sure that you find a mobile app that is backed by knowledge in both the technological sector and the financial sector.
Reviews. Customer reviews are one of the easiest ways to separate poorly designed and poorly secured mobile apps from the best mobile apps. However, there's a caveat: some companies do pay for reviews. Read reviews carefully to determine whether or not they sound authentic.
Security. Finally, mobile apps should also be able to outline the steps that they take to protect their customers data. This should include end-to-end encryption, secured data backups, and monitored servers.
Securing Your Mobile Device
It isn't just about making sure that the app you're using is secure -- it's also about making sure that your mobile device is secure. Even the most secure app won't be able to protect you if your phone itself is compromised. In order to secure your device, you should:
Keep it locked. Your phone should be locked by a password or a PIN -- and it should be a unique one that you don't use anywhere else.
Use two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication is inherently more secure.
On a phone, it might include a password and a fingerprint scan. On an account, it might require both a password and access to your email account.
Secure your email account. Most apps have you connect through your email. You should always secure your email account, as otherwise your password could be requested through your inbox.
Never use public Internet connections. When you use public Internet connections, you can never tell who is listening. Your transmitted data could be collected and combed through without your knowledge.
Investing through mobile apps isn't a trend; it's likely to continue to become more popular. More people today are using their mobile devices than PCs, which means that more people are trying to explore the world of finances through their smartphones and tablets.
But that doesn't mean that you should use just any app: it's very important that you find apps that are trustworthy and feature complete.