Dos and Don’ts of Mobile Banking Apps—Keep Your Data Secure

Mobile banking apps are a convenient way to stay on top of your money. Given the recent headlines, though, it’s natural to be concerned about security. More than half of mobile banking users reported security as their top concern, according to a recent survey by Jumio and Javelin Strategy and Research. With a few tweaks to your routine, though, you can safely enjoy the personal money management offered by mobile banking apps, including Card Valet by Arthur State Bank.

Mobile Banking App Security: Best Practices

Mobile Banking App Security: Best Practices

When it comes to mobile banking app security, a lot of security best practices are common sense. They can also be a bit tedious in practice, though. For example, it’s tempting to use the same password for multiple applications. After all, it can be hard to remember them all (and challenging to remember where you wrote them down). It’s important to resist the temptation and consistently use unique passwords for every app.

Here are a few more mobile banking app best practices:

  • Don’t click—We all know not to fall for poorly worded emails from foreign countries. Unfortunately, cyber scams are getting increasingly sophisticated. If you’re not sure whether a phone notification came from your mobile app, don’t click on it. Go directly to your app or visit the bank’s website and confirm whether the message was legitimate. The same goes for text messages.
  • Don’t bank in public—Depositing a check through your bank’s mobile app is easy. To keep your account information secure, though, resist the urge to deposit it when you’re out and about. You never know when someone might be looking over your shoulder. Deposit mobile checks when you’re safely away from prying eyes.
  • Know where your phone is—It’s easy to take your phone for granted. We use them so much, it seems like they’re always in our hands, and it’s easy to set it down without thinking too much about it. If you do this in a public space, though, it’s an easy target for thieves. All it takes is just a moment for someone to grab it off a table. If you’re not using your phone, stash it in a secure spot.
  • Know how to find your phone—Your phone may come with location services that allow you to find it and wipe it remotely. Make sure you know how to use those services and your log-in information.
  • Password protect your phone—It’s annoying, but it’s important. Keep a password lock on your phone and set it to something random. The extra seconds it takes to unlock your phone will pay off if it’s lost or stolen.
  • Download with care—Although malware isn’t quite as prevalent on mobile apps as it is on traditional computers, it still exists. For example, keyloggers can track and transmit your keystrokes, revealing valuable information to cybercriminals. Be careful of what applications you download and only download from sources you know and trust.

Mobile banking apps allow you to do your banking without visiting a branch or making a phone call. With these steps, you can ensure that your information stays secure while you bank the way you prefer.


An App for the Security-Minded

An App for the Security-Minded

Arthur State Bank takes their customer commitment seriously. To ensure you have safety and convenience, they offer CardValet.

CardValet is a unique mobile banking app that allows you to control your debit/credit card (and the debit/credit cards of anyone else linked to your account). With the app, you can:

  • Turn your debit/credit card on or off—Whether you lose your debit/credit card, decide to leave it at home while you’re away, or for any other reason, you can instantly turn off your card. No one can use it until you turn it back on again.
  • Set up alerts—Set alerts based on location, spending amounts, or merchant type. You can also set alerts for when your card is denied, which can help prevent potential fraud.
  • Control family spending—You can set individual limits on each debit/credit card associated with your account. You can set limits by spending amount, spending location, and even by time of day.
  • GPS limits—CardValet can use your mobile phone to limit transactions, based on GPS location. In other words, if someone tries to use your debit/credit card and they’re outside of the range you’ve specified, it won’t work, giving you additional security protection.
  • Track account balances—You can see your account balances at a glance and control your spending. You can also find branches and ATMs if you need to make a quick deposit.

To start using CardValet, first visit the Google Play store or the Apple App Store. Download the app and follow the steps for secure registration. From there, manage your Arthur State Bank debit/credit card with just a few clicks.


Convenient Banking for a Secure Future

Convenient Banking for a Secure Future

At Arthur State Bank, we combine modern technology with the security of working with a bank that’s been a South Carolina presence for nearly 80 years. We’ve weathered some of the toughest economic times our nation has experienced, and we’re still going strong. We offer convenient banking services and the resources you need to build a solid financial future. Contact us today to find out more about our resources for personal money management.

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Man doing his banking online is the only source for free credit reports authorized by the federal government. Every 12 months, you can get a free copy of your credit report from each agency.

Your credit report has your credit history for all of your credit accounts as well as any credit inquiries and public record court information such as collections. In addition, the report provides personally identifiable information such as your name, address, and employment.

Be sure to carefully review all three reports to identify any problem areas that you may need to clean up prior to applying for a mortgage. If there is any incorrect information, follow the reporting agency’s rules to correct it or add a notation to the report to explain the situation.

Your FICO Score is a score combines data from several areas include payment history, the amount owed, length of credit history, new accounts. Many lenders use this score as a guide. This score is not provided as part of the free annual credit report.

Learn more about how your credit score impacts your ability to secure a loan.


Couple looking over finances

Primary considerations for setting your housing budget require an assessment of your income, debt and current savings for the down payment on the home. The following are generally recommended guidelines; however, you should meet with an Arthur State Bank lender to get personalized mortgage information.


Couple meeting with lender

The pre-qualification/pre-approval letter is included with any offer you make on a house to inform the seller that you have met with a mortgage lender and you are prepared to make an offer. The letter states that based on certain assumptions, the bank is prepared to lend you up to a specified amount of money for a home mortgage.

When choosing a loan officer, we recommend going local to work with someone who understands your community’s real estate market. This blog on first-time home purchases includes questions to ask your lender that may be helpful when preparing for your meeting.

Helpful Resources:


Realtor shaking hands with a client

When a house is sold, the seller typically pays real estate commission to both the listing agent and the selling agent. It is extremely beneficial for the buyer to use their own real estate agent. Loan officers can often recommend selling agents in the area; ask your officer about realtor referrals when discussing your loan.

A good realtor will know the local market and can help you find an ideal home based on your budget, location and desired features. During your search, understand that you will most likely need to compromise on some items, so it’s important to identify your critical needs versus your wants.


Couple searching online for a home

Additionally, when you start with the house search and work backwards, homes can often go off the market while you’re completing steps 1-4. While browsing homes immediately can be tempting, we recommend following these steps in order so that, once you find your dream home, you’ll be well-positioned to take action immediately.

When you find the home you want and you think you are ready to put an offer on it, you will want to make sure you have all the information you need to make a solid offer.

  • Evaluate the neighborhood.
  • Drive by the house at different times of the day.
  • Examine how other houses in the neighborhood are maintained.
  • Consider any potential traffic or other disruptive noise.
  • Is there ample parking for you and visitors?
  • Read the details in any Homeowner Association agreements (HOA fees and rules).

Make sure to do a preliminary check of house details:

  • Check the water:
  • Does it have good pressure?
  • How long does it take to get the water hot?
  • Is it well water or city water?
  • Turn light switches on and off.
  • Open and close doors and windows to make sure they work properly.
  • Review previous utility bill expenses.
  • Consider the property tax bill.


Family meeting with realtor at new house

When writing an offer contract, be sure to pay attention to all of the details.

Offer Price:

Your agent should do a market analysis that pulls data on recently sold comparable houses. The best comparisons will come from the same neighborhood.

If you are asking for the seller to pay some of the closing costs, remember that this cost plus the sales commission determines the net amount you are offering the seller for the house.

Work with your agent on your negotiation strategy. There are many things to consider, such as how badly you want this particular house, whether it is a buyer’s or seller’s market and an assessment of the seller’s motivation to get the property sold.

There isn’t one best strategy.

Be sure to document in writing everything you want included with the house, such as appliances, etc. Your agent should guide you through the contract step-by-step.


  • Home inspection.
  • Mortgage.
  • Final walk through (24 hours prior to closing).

Proposed closing date. Typically, this is 30-45 days from an accepted offer.

A good-faith deposit is required for the offer. This is typically between 1-10% of the purchase price of the house. The deposit is kept in escrow until closing and the money is applied to the purchase price of the house at closing. If the house does not close due to one of the contingency clauses, the buyer receives their money back. However, if the buyer decides not to close on the property, the seller may get the deposit money.

Attach your pre-approval letter to the offer.


Two people in professional meeting

The clock starts ticking for everything documented in the contract, including mortgage application, inspections and closing date.


Woman advising other woman on mortgage application

You will need to decide which mortgage to select prior to the application.

Plan for the following potential fees:

  • Application fee (many banks and mortgage companies charge an application fee; however, there is not an application fee at Arthur State Bank).
  • Credit check.
  • Appraisal (may be paid at closing).
  • Loan origination fee (paid at closing).

Once you have approval for your loan, make sure you don’t change anything that will impact the status of your mortgage. Banks do a final check on credit and jobs just prior to closing, so now is not the time to change jobs or make another purchase on credit such as a car or furniture.


Home inspector going over findings with home owner

Depending on the size of the house, an inspection can cost on average between $300 to $1000.

Many real estate contracts specify how problems uncovered in the inspection will be resolved, up to a certain dollar amount. Should necessary repairs exceed that amount, the buyer has the option to cancel the contract without penalty and receive their deposit money back. Another option is for the buyer and seller to renegotiate who will pay for additional repairs.


Woman happily holding keys to her new home
  • Homeowner’s insurance is required by the lender prior to closing on the loan.
  • Turn on utilities in your name, effective the closing date.
  • Change your address with the U.S. Postal Service.
  • Make moving arrangements.

Three days prior to closing:

  • You should receive your final Closing Disclosure from the closing agency. The final Closing Disclosure shows a column for the seller and a column for the buyer. All closing charges and credits for both the seller and the buyer are documented in the closing statement.
  • Review the closing statement for accuracy prior to coming to closing.
  • The final amount in the buyer’s column shows you the amount of money you need to pay at closing.

The closing office will provide specific payment instructions. Closing funds have become recent targets for cybercriminals. If you are asked to use a wire transfer, call the office and ask to speak to someone you have been working with to double-check the instructions.

Closing day:

In South Carolina, the closing will usually take place at the attorney’s office. Everyone signing for the mortgage must be present to sign the closing paperwork. Make sure you bring the following:

  • Cashier’s check or proof of payment for wire transfer.
  • Driver’s license.
  • Checkbook, just in case there are any additional items that were not on the closing statement.

Be sure to understand this information:

  • How and when you will pay:
  • Your mortgage.
  • Your property taxes.
  • Your homeowner’s insurance.
  • Any HOA dues.
  • Who to call with any questions.

The best practice is to go through the homebuyer’s roadmap in this sequence. However, if you jumped ahead early in your journey, just circle back to address the steps you missed.

Arthur State Bank’s loan officers are closely tapped into local real estate markets and experts at helping clients get what they need on terms that work for them. We also offer mortgage specials for first-time homebuyers.

To start planning your journey to your dream home, try out our mortgage calculator. If you’re ready to talk to a loan officer, contact Arthur State Bank to request personalized mortgage information today. Don’t forget to ask about our first-time homebuyer offer.