How to bank and shop safely from your smartphone

Our smartphones are morphing into mobile purses, allowing us to bank and shop at the touch of a button. But with this convenience comes a need for greater security. Use these simple ways to pay safely.

Set up security

A new phone will prompt you to set up a passcode or fingerprint ID to unlock it. It's essential to do this (you can ask for help in your local phone shop) because it gives an added level of security as well as time to block your handset if it's stolen.

Installing the free Find My iPhone or Android Device Manager apps let you track your device and remotely erase your personal data if it falls into the wrong hands.You can download the app from the app store or Google play store on your phone.

Mobile banking

More than a third of us regularly use our mobiles for banking and provided you take precautions there's no reason why banking on your smart phone should be any less secure than banking online from your home computer. It's an easy way to access your accounts and you can use it to check statements, transfer money and pay bills. Download your bank's app onto your phone and your bank will run through security checks and ask you to set up a passcode.

If your mobile's stolen, it’s worth knowing it doesn’t hold your personal bank information, it just accesses it from a secure data-centre. Your password or security code keeps your details secure. However, always report a missing phone to your network provider and bank.

For an even faster way to pay, download the free Pingit app. Powered by Barclays, but available to anyone with a current account it allows you to pay someone using just their mobile phone number, doing away with the need to know someone's account information.

Smartphone shopping

You can use your smartphone to make contactless card payments up to £30 using free Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay. You just show your phone to the infrared reader at the till as you would your debit card. Experts say it’s more secure than traditional payment methods as your card number and identity aren’t as visible as they would be when you hand over plastic in a shop or restaurant.

Finally, your coat pocket is the least safe way to carry your mobile around, so pop it in your handbag with a zip or an inside pocket instead.

7 essential money-saving apps

  1. Money Dashboard – budgeting app connects with current account and credit card so you can see where you’re over spending

  2. Quidco Earn cashback when you shop by liking the offers and then redeeming in stores

  3. JustPark – finds affordable parking spaces and lets you pre book

  4. Bounts earns you points for your physical exercise which you convert into money-saving vouchers

  5. XE – work out the cost of souvenirs, excursion or meal abroad with this currency app

  6. Whatgas – find the cheapest petrol station near you

  7. MySupermarket – save money on your weekly supermarket shop.