Cell phones are no longer a luxury for the rich. The availability has made them attractive carriers for everything except phone calls. One of the most recent applications that have cell phones vibrating is financially related.
Financial information is available like never before. Being able to find and monitor an investment used to be tracking down a brokerage firm, meeting with someone, making the investment. The invention of the internet has put the brokerage firm in your home and in your hand.
Brokerage Firms – they trade in everything: stocks, bonds, commodities, etc., for a price. An experienced broker is assigned to handle your account and will make transactions either based on your wishes or the parameters set by the portfolio.
They can also provide a wealth of information to their clients. For instance, if you called and asked what the Amazon earnings date was, they would be able to tell you.
Electronic Brokerage Platforms – while many firms have built their own applications, there are some that allow individuals more flexibility in how they invest. Your portfolios are broken up into several sections and investment types.
Personal Finance Application – You can buy shares of JP Morgan as an individual or a group of companies under a particular title. For example, there could be a title called corporate dividends and would include several companies.
The advantage of being able to access this information online is that the average investor now has access to learning materials they did not have before. No longer do the privileged few get the benefit of being able to understand what the ticker symbols mean. The average investor can look it up if they want, but it is no longer a necessity.
Online banking used to mean having to sit at a computer and log into the bank’s website to access account information. This was a wonderful innovation as it meant you no longer had to wait in long lines at the bank just to get the balance of the account. It also brought about several unique changes in how people viewed personal finance.
- Bill Pay Services – simply plug in the information regarding utilities, rent, credit cards, etc., and your bank would send out the payment for you.
- Opening accounts – forget having to wait for a manager to help you. Simply log into your account online, then open and fund the account in seconds.
- Mortgage/Lines of Credit Payments – very similar to the bill pay service provided by banks. Instead of having to go to the bank to make mortgage payments, they can be deducted directly from a preselected account.
Safety and Security
With the availability of internet hotspots in practically every store or business, security is at the fore of every application creation. Unlike, a standard brokerage firm, phone applications do not leave paper trails. They leave cookie crumbs. Those crumbs are left all around unsecured access points such as dentist offices, coffeehouses, etc. Essentially, any place that advertises its Wi-Fi name and password for visitors is an unsecured spot.
Biometrics – Is software is designed to recognize facial features, fingerprints, even vocal patterns, and typing cadences.
Pin Codes/Fingerprints – These are standard when accessing banking or investment information via phone applications. In many cases, they will also follow up with wanting users to answer follow-up questions.
Private Browsers – Unlike popular browsers, privates ones do not collect and store information the same way or at all in most cases. Using private browsers limits the number of crumbs left for hackers to follow.
Encryption and Firewalls – Both of these measures work to ensure that the information being transferred to and from the server is protected from being read by an unauthorized person.
As much as any company might wish it, creating measures of security is only as good as the person who uses them. It is important that you do not give out personal details regarding accounts or access them via unsecured locations.
A long time ago, banking and investments were for people who had money. Clients had a reasonable expectation of privacy and security. Today there is plenty of expectation, with very little of it being reasonable. Regardless of what provisions companies use, the security of investments is literally in the hands of the person who holds the phone.