The single greatest source of security applies when banking online as well as by cell phone: That source is the sheer mass of transactions.
People fear their personal information might be stolen over the internet, or eavesdropped upon when using a cell phone. While it is absolutely possible for these things to occur, and we hear about them every day, the fact of the matter is that of all the millions and millions of people performing literally billions of transactions daily, the tiniest fraction of a fraction of transactions actually are intercepted.
Thieves would need a supercomputer to comb through all those transactions to weed out all the people who only have a couple of hundred dollars in their bank account from the targets that are worth the time and effort to defraud. With the incredible popularity of cell phones, so many different signals are whizzing by on GSM and CDMA channels for half a dozen different carriers that picking out any single call to monitor is just a matter of absolute pure chance.
Face it, if you become a target of fraud, whether in the real world or online, a sufficiently determined criminal will be able to take advantage of you. My bills go out in the trash when they are paid – I am not going to set a guard on my trash until the Sanitation department comes to take it away – or ask for I.D. when they do show up. If a criminal wants to get my account numbers, there’s the trash – go right to it. Some nimble thief determined to suck the last few dollars out of my poor, strained credit cards could climb the telephone pole outside my building in a pair of coveralls and clip a line onto my phone wire. If any thieves happen to be reading this, fair warning that you are in for a sad disappointment after a scary, sweaty climb.
The chance of online and telephone fraud exists, and everyone should take reasonable precautions to prevent it. Choose good, hard to guess passwords including capitals, numbers and symbols for your online and telephone banking. Avoid banking from a shared computer or a phone belonging to someone else. Keep your assets in a variety of places, not all in one basket, and check your credit at least once a year to ensure everything that should be reported is reported accurately, and that there is nothing there that should not be.
Past those common sense steps, do not waste your time worrying that banking by cell phone is any riskier than banking my mail or online.