Is your bank secure? Research reveals the most secure mobile and online services

A new study has revealed which UK bank offers the most secure online service and the most secure mobile service.

New Consumer Watchdog Research Which? saw fifteen protocols in the bank’s security system tested by a team of volunteers, while cybersecurity firm 6point6 deployed experts to test the banks’ defenses in September and October last year.

An overall score was determined based on security of bank login systems (30%), quality of data encryption (40%), while account management, browsing and logging out each accounted for 15% additional.

Thirteen banks were rated for their online services and fifteen for their mobile services.

According to the online banking results, HSBC comes out on top, with an overall score of 81%. It scored five out of five stars for encryption and account management, and four out of five for login, browse, and logout.

NatWest/Royal Bank of Scotland round out the top five in line with 75%; Barclays at 73%; and Santander and Starling, which both received 72%.

When it comes to mobile banking, First Direct comes out on top with 77%. It recorded strong performance in encryption and account management, receiving five stars and four stars for login. However, it only received two stars for browsing and disconnecting.

Best performing online bank HSBC came third in mobile banking with 71%, beaten by Barclays with 75%.

At the bottom of the online ranking was Metro Bank, with 53%, making it the least secure. Although it scored a relatively high four out of five for encryption, it was disappointed with its sign-in and sign-out practices, which both got two out of five points, and account management, which got three points out of five.

The second lowest was Virgin Money at 56%, with TSB coming in third at 59%.

In mobile banking, Monzo came last, with 46%. It scored three out of five for logging in and encryption, four out of five for account management, but only one out of five for browsing and logging out.

Rounding out the bottom of mobile banking, TSB was at 50% and Virgin Money at 52%.

For the most part, all thirteen online banks scored relatively high in offering secure encryption. Seven of the banks earned five stars, with none scoring less than three. This carried over into the mobile banking categories, with seven receiving full five stars.

However, many banks have been disappointed with their browse and logout features. In the online category, only one bank received top marks, with six receiving two stars. The results were similar in mobile banking – two received five stars, but seven received two stars and four even received a one-star rating.


advised


Security is essential for online banking. With cybercriminals increasingly going to where the money is, attacking customer accounts is the logical end goal of a scam.

For the most part, banks have taken security seriously. Recent research has shown that the banking industry generally scores low for cyberattack risk. This is despite the large number of malware attacks targeting financial services.

However, new developments and technologies may change this in the years to come. The rise of AI-powered deepfaking can help circumvent traditional security. People’s voices or faces can be imitated using even small amounts of data.

As scams become more sophisticated, criminals will have more tools to gain access to bank accounts, so ensuring they are secure is essential.


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Veronica J. Snell