Today, it's incredibly simple to manage your money on the move. Got a computer or a smart phone? Just log in; you can check your balance and pay your bills quickly, simply and conveniently at just the push of a button.
It's a far cry from the days when everything had to be done in-branch or through a hole-in-the-wall. But online and mobile banking come with their own new challenges and threats against the security of your hard-earned cash. So what's the best, most secure portal through which to keep tabs on your cash - your phone or your computer?
Accessing an account online is old-hat for most of us these days; we're certainly more used to using an internet browser than a smart phone. But so too are hackers. Cyber criminals have developed a number of ways to access your online bank account over the years, but banks are pretty up to speed on security too.
Most banks and building societies don't just rely on passwords anymore. You'll require a card reader to gain full access to your account making it harder for criminals to break in. On the other hand, it can be quite tiresome when you realise you've left your card reader at home and have to resort to finding a cash machine to check your balance.
On top of that, you'll most likely need to remember a password, a pin and a customer number, which can pose memory problems even for the most mentally agile.
But once you've managed to gain access there's a much greater level of functionality available online than you'll find on a smart phone banking app. You can move money between accounts, check your bank statements in greater detail, set up new accounts and more. Find out about the different online banking portals available at MoneySupermarket.
Mobile banking has moved on from calling a number to access your balance and even from getting weekly text messages. Now, you can download apps to your smart phone, which are like miniature versions of the online banking portal you use on your computer. They'll have less functionality, generally just checking your balance and making payments, but they can prove very useful.
Banking using a smart phone app is very new to most of us and hackers have yet to find as many ways to hack into your account. However, don't rely on this as your entire mobile security policy. It is still possible for data to be intercepted from smart phones especially due to their wireless internet connection.
Remember, when you log into your bank account on either a computer or a phone it is safer to do so through a secure Wi-Fi connection. This way, you can ensure your data is encrypted. Remember you can also use a wired internet connection on a computer for extra security.
With your mobile there's a greater chance that you'll lose your phone or have it stolen, so make sure you secure your banking app with a passcode, the more complex the better. But don't, whatever you do, save your passcode in your contacts list under "passcode". It's the first place thieves will look.
Overall, both mobile and computer banking are useful in their own ways. It's easier to check your balance on your phone, but you can do more by logging in on your laptop. In terms of security, it's up to you. Being vigilant will help you stay protected.