At one time, bank counters were the first port of call whenever people needed to withdraw money from their accounts. It seems quaint today but it's a pre-ATM fact of life. All withdrawals had to take place over the bank counter at the local branch.
Happily, the advent of automated cash machines made it possible for our cash to be accessed 24/7. This led to the more recent rise of online and smartphone mobile banking to make money withdrawal and banking processes even more simple.
But how safe is online or mobile banking? If you're opening an account via Moneysupermarket, can you be sure that it will be secure?
Banking in person
We have been popping into our branch during opening hours to withdraw money, pay in cheques and cash and manage payments to other accounts or our utility bills for years.
The risk with this type of banking is the paper trail. If you still receive paper statements or bills, be sure to shred them before disposal.
In-branch cash withdrawals are protected by the identify proof of pin system. Of course, if you have a local branch with staff that you recognise, you may be lucky enough that they recognise you and can add that old fashioned touch of personal identification.
Banking online via the internet
Once a novelty, now it seems that everyone is banking online! In fact, a recent study revealed that more people go online to manage their accounts than visit Facebook! But what is the appeal and is it safe?
Most banks offer online banking options to use a range of traditional facilities via the internet including checking balances, transferring money to other accounts and setting up payments.
Security threats are a concern, however and fraudsters are working as hard to access online accounts as the banks are to protect them. A common example of this is 'phishing' emails. This is when con artists send emails purportedly from a user's bank account asking them to log in via a link and check some information.
Of course, this link simply attacks their account and hacks into it, allowing the criminals to steal sensitive information or even access bank accounts. Always make sure you use the latest version of quality anti-virus software to prevent these types of attacks. This will prevent you from unwittingly downloading viruses.
For bank account homepages and log-in sites, security details vary according to provider, but all accounts are user name and password protected and will have a range of security procedures to pass successfully before you can access your online accounts.
Mobile banking via your smartphone
When first launched, mobile banking applications simply offered regular internet banking but with the ease of accessing your account via your phone.
However, technology continues to move on at a rapid pace and it looks as though mobile banking via smartphones will eventually replace cash and debit and credit cards, as banks offer more sophisticated mobile payment technologies.
Unfortunately though for users, mobile banking is potentially even more threatening security wise than online banking and protection needs to be all the more stringent on mobile devices.
However, with good attention to personal security, as well as the advances in technology such as encryption and tighter banking controls, money is as safe in the cyber world as it is in the physical banking world.
Users must simply take care to be as vigilant with online banking as they would with handling their cash on the street.