What happens to my neobank account if I lose my phone?

Chances are it’s been a while since you last walked into a branch or received bank statements in the mail. From transferring funds between accounts to checking your monthly spending, more and more Aussies are banking with their smartphone - and the rise of app-based neobanks in Australia has only made this shift from physical to digital more pronounced. 

But as convenient as mobile banking may be, Aussies aren’t completely worry-free when it comes to this new way to bank, with many questions tossed around about security. For instance, since your neobank account is only accessible through an app, what happens to your funds if you lose or misplace your phone? 

The good news is, just like any other banking app, as long as you haven’t shared your password with anyone or left your account logged in, your funds should be in safe hands. And to get back into your account, you can download the neobank app again on your new phone.

RELATED ARTICLE: Neobanks report 2020: digital banking in a new decade 

According to neobanks Up and Volt Bank, the process around regaining access to your account is fairly straightforward. 

With Up, it’s a matter of redownloading the Up app and following the prompts onscreen to set up your new phone. Meanwhile, Volt Bank advises customers to contact them over the phone to register again. 

Generally you can reach out to your neobank by phone, as most will have a customer service team on call during business hours to address any concerns. Be sure to check your neobank's website for their contact details. 

RELATED ARTICLE: How to keep your phone safe while banking 

But if for some reason you think someone might have your password or you’re worried that you haven’t logged out of your neobank account, then you should also remotely lock and wipe all information from your lost or stolen phone. This is especially important if you’ve linked your account to a digital wallet like Google Pay or Apple Pay. 

- Android users can do this by using Android Device Manager or Google’s ‘Find My Device’. Once you’ve performed a remote factory reset, no more Google Pay transactions can be processed. 

- For iPhone users, this means signing into ‘Find My App’ on your browser and switching your phone to ‘Lost Mode’. This will remotely lock your device with a passcode, help you track its location and suspend all ability to make Apple Pay transactions. You can also erase all data from your phone; just bear in mind that once you’ve wiped your device clean, you won’t be able to track it anymore. 

How to make your phone more secure 

As the saying goes, better safe than sorry. Certainly, prevention is better than cure, so here are a few things you can do to make sure your neobank account doesn’t fall into the wrong hands: 

1. Set a strong password on your phone

Think of your password as the first line of defence against hackers, scammers and cybersecurity threats. A strong password should consist of multiple characters, using a combination of uppercase, lowercase, numbers and symbols. Avoid dictionary words, pet names or reusing your passwords. 

2. Sign out of all accounts

Remember to log out of your bank accounts after every session rather than just closing them. That way, anyone who gets their hands on your phone won’t be able to log in. 

3. Get a phone tracker

Whether it’s Find My iPhone or Android Lost, it’s a good idea to download an app on your phone that tracks lost or stolen smartphones and has a ‘kill switch’ (wipes all data from your device and returns it to factory mode). 

4. Don’t jailbreak your phone

Avoid the temptation to jailbreak your phone - or modify it so it runs software that isn’t supported by the manufacturer. Jailbreaking removes your phone’s in-built security features, making it more vulnerable to attack.

5. Set up biometrics

From fingerprint scanning to facial recognition, biometric authentication can help make sure the only person using your phone is you. Neobank apps like Xinja’s give you the option to set up fingerprint log-in.

Still worried about how secure your money is with a neobank? Check out our guide on the safety of neobanks, or head over to our neobanks and money apps page for more news and insights into the world of neobanks and money apps. 

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