Investing has gone mobile. Millions of people are turning to their mobile devices and downloading mobile trading apps that allow them to invest from wherever they are located. Reputable trading app developers are concerned about the cybersecurity of its users. They put clear protections in place designed to guard private and financial information from nefarious individuals.
That being said, there are several applications that are used for online trading by investors who have been shown to have some cybersecurity vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities may allow hackers to siphon funds from account holders or steal their personal information. For this reason, it is imperative that anyone looking to invest online using an app does their due diligence to make sure they do not end up becoming a victim of cybercrime.
Are investment apps safe?
The answer depends on the source of the app. If you choose your stock trading app or your online trading platform wisely, it’s possible for you to manage your investments, track them, and also enjoy massive returns. Good trading apps allow you to track accounts, avoid hidden fees, and evaluate the risk of your investments.
The safety of the trading app you use will be determined by where you download it from and the institution that created it. If you download a trading app from a third party app store, you are putting yourself at risk of downloading something fraudulent. Third-party app stores do not have the same protections that you would see with more recognised names, such as Google Play or the Apple Store.
The company behind the trading app has a lot to do with its safety. There are major players in the online investment world, including E*TRADE and TD Ameritrade. If you download their trading apps from a reputable source, you have the protection that comes from using products by brands that have a vested interest in protecting your security.
This does not mean that these apps are free of vulnerabilities. They still have weaknesses. However, large firms have teams of cybersecurity experts who are focused on finding these issues and fixing them.
Several reports have shown that if a trading platform is available as an app and is also available as a desktop application, the desktop application is going to be safer than the mobile software. These same principles apply to banking applications. Platforms that are accessed via a desktop are safer than mobile apps.
Knowing when trading apps are safe to use
Cyber criminals are always inventing alternative ways to take advantage of the public. Regardless of the safety procedures you take and of the safety procedures the app store you download from takes, there is always a risk that an app is going to contain something that is going to be potentially dangerous for you or your information. The key is learning how to mitigate risk.
Know your source
We have briefly discussed this already, but it’s worth mentioning again. The safest way to buy and sell equities today is to use one of the most-secure stock trading applications, such as Robinhood or Acorns. There are several third-party app stores, but these app stores lack the security and safety measures that reputable markets have.
Knowing the source of your trading app goes beyond knowing where to download it from. It also means that you need to get information about the developer. It only takes a few minutes to Google search the developer and other apps the developer has in the app store. By looking at reviews, the number of downloads, and other characteristics, you can determine if the app is legitimate.
Some characteristics that show that an app marketplace is safe would include:
- The terms of service are well developed. It uses proper grammar and the correct name of the app and its developer throughout.
- Easy to find contact information along with a troubleshooting FAQ. If you are considering downloading an investing app from a marketplace, it’s worth it to invest a minute or two to reach out to the marketplace’s administrators using the contact information. If the contact information does not work, it’s time to move to the next option.
- Strict criteria for app developers.
- Evidence of removing vendors that produce poor content.
But you might think to yourself, what if I really find a good app outside of the app store? Ask yourself, would you purchase a package of steak from someone selling it outside of the grocery store on the street? Absolutely not. You would not ingest anything unless you knew its source. The same principles apply to downloading trading apps. Bypassing reliable app markets is dangerous. If the app was as good as advertised, it would be found in an app store.
Learn about the app developer
It’s now time to look at the app developer. Most app stores are going to have links to the vendor’s websites. If you are downloading from Google Play, you can find the information on the bottom of the app page.
Give the link a try. If the link doesn’t work, then do a simple Google search. It is up to you as a customer to do your due diligence. If an app developer is reputable, they will be easy to reach. If it seems like you have to struggle to reach them when you are considering purchasing their trading app, just ask yourself how challenging things will be if you have a problem with the app that involves your money.
Part of vetting a trading app is inspecting permissions. If the trading app you are going to install is asking for permissions that have nothing to do with what the app actually does, it’s not the right option for you. Take the time to read reviews. It is a good way to see how others feel about the trading app you are considering.
Trading apps can be a convenient way to invest. They can also pose dangers. It is up to you to do your due diligence and make sure that the app you download is safe.