Consumer Comfort Level with Financial Apps

From Candy Crush Saga to Google Translate, consumers have thousands of mobile apps to choose from. While numerous people are quick to download music or movie-streaming apps, not everyone is as confident with financial apps.

According to a 2016 Mid-Year Consumer Survey conducted by the Ohio Credit Union League, 52 percent of respondents don’t use a financial app. The 48 percent who said they do, mainly use it for basic banking needs. Thirty-six percent said they use a financial app to deposit or transfer funds, 32 percent track financial accounts, 25 percent track where their money is going, and 17 percent keep a mobile budget. While nearly half of Ohioans use a financial app, 82 percent of users said they aren’t sure how safe their information is when using the app, and figure someone will let them know if any information is compromised.

Although threats to mobile data security have made consumers wary of using financial apps, market research shows that the number of consumers downloading them is increasing. A survey conducted by Market Force Information found that 77 percent of consumers whose financial institution offers a mobile app have downloaded it, an increase of 5 percent over 2015 and 12 percent above 2014. Those who are 18 to 24 years old have the highest adoption rate at 92 percent. Half of those older than 65, also use their financial institution’s app.

With so many apps outside of your primary financial institutions out there, how do you know which ones are safe, effective, and useful? Here are some tips for choosing safe third-party financial apps.

  • Confirm an app is legitimate: If you decide to download an app to manage money, do the research. Check with the Better Business Bureau’s comprehensive database, and read customer reviews online before downloading a third-party financial app.
  • Don’t ignore Terms of Service (TOS): Not only will the TOS outline the app’s privacy and security policies, but it will also summarize any important disclaimers.
  • Use advanced security: Take advantage of security features such as fingerprint ID or a numeric passcode on your smartphone and on the app, if it allows it. This offers an added level of protection against fraud or theft.
  • Streamline your finances: Stay organized by using a single app to streamline your finances. An added benefit to credit union membership is the mobile wallet Sprig® by CO-OP. If your credit union offers it, it’s essentially a virtual credit union where you can track all of your accounts and send money to friends.

To learn more about how a credit union can help you watch your finances on the move, visit www.aSmarterChoice.org and find a credit union in your area.

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