Money apps, cash apps, and mobile payments apps all have one thing in common – they need you to release your banking details to maximize their benefits. This can be an enormous risk since you wouldn’t want to expose your finances. So how do you avoid being scammed on a cash app? How do you avoid downloading dangerous apps on your smart device? In this article, we have outlined 7 steps you must take to check if a money app is safe before you sign up.
1) Check Google if the Company is Legit
The first step you must take to check if a money app is safe before you sign up is by checking them out on search engines.
Most people do say “Google is your friend”. This is absolutely right. One big reason that should compel you to do a Google search is if the service is largely advertised to low-income earners.
Sometimes, the companies that offer this low-income service have negative pretentious motives. This is the reason why you should do a thorough google search especially if their advertised services sound too good to be true, if there is scanty information, or if their policy seems confusing.
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2) Read Third-Party Reviews about the Company
A lot of money apps are so casual that you can hardly find a detailed guide that simply explains their products and services. At this point, it is advisable you check the section for expert third-party reviews on popular online platforms like Forbes and Investopedia, just to get an unedited random review of all the good and bad of the company’s services. This will reveal a lot of information as to whether you should subscribe to their service or not.
3) Carefully scrutinize reviews to weed out fake reviews
Sometimes it’s hard to find other information about a money app, especially when it’s mostly found on an app store. Naturally, app stores have their review platforms but developers may often abuse trust by planting fake reviews. So, you need to look beyond the app’s star rating, focusing on negative reviews to find out the weaknesses of the app.
4) Visit the Company’s Website and Get Their Phone Contact
Getting the phone number of the money all may not solve your immediate need but it is important you get hold of it in case you encounter a challenge that requires their attention. Do not conclude that sending an email would always guarantee a speedy response. So, getting someone on the phone to talk to is very soothing because, at that time of discussion, you are assured of getting a solution to your problem.
5) Check if the Company Website is Legit
While trying to find out if the website is legit or fake, check if there is a security feature in the address bar of your browser. This feature can be “HTTPS” in the URL or the small “padlock” sign. If they are there, then be sure that there is a security feature that guides your browser and the website.
Furthermore, you can check for the Private Policy on the website and read through it. If you didn’t see any, then look out for their social media handles to see if they have professional looks. It is more convincing if you see their representatives responding fast to customers, and directing them on what to do. But should you see several answered messages, then that’s a wrong sign.
6) Read User Reviews on Company’s Website
Most commercial websites have a review section. You can easily get user reviews in the app store, where people share their various experiences about the services of the money app. I must tell you that this is quite revealing, as you will be well educated on the company’s response to complaints, transaction charges and indeed, the legitimacy of the said money app.
Nevertheless, it is very important you know that some bad reviews are not actually true. But if you see several reviews that complain about poor and unprofessional customer service, that’s a red flag. If it is hard for a company to respond to customers’ complaints, then that financial service lacks trust and it’s not worth subscribing to.
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7) Pay attention to the installation process
One of the most important ways to check if a money app is safe is by being careful about the installation process. Some malicious or spam apps sneak things at you through terms and conditions. A lot of people often do not read the terms of service and would click “Accept”. Sometimes, in these terms of service, you might be giving consent to pop-ups, data sharing, data mining and all other kinds of things. Always release and if it’s hard to follow through, consider using an app like Rewordify to simplify the process.
8) Check their Percentage Service Charge
Bank services always attract fees. However, if you notice undue charges, that’s a red flag. As part of their service charges, here are things to look out for:
- Credit Cards – first off, see if there is a yearly fee. This can either be for card maintenance or for any form of percentage charge. It is understandable that sometimes, they have reasons to charge fees but if you’re not comfortable, stay off that app.
- Credit Monitoring – Instead of paying for this service, you can possibly have access to your annual credit report. In fact, all these charges should feature a reliable guide on how customers can navigate through the complex world of credit.
- Investing – You should look for the minimum transaction charges and any other types of charges. It will be beneficial to see little or no fees, or even accounts that can enable you to invest with just a little money.
- Other Charges – You can check for the total costs of deposit and withdrawal, and juxtapose them with the benefits. Ask yourself if it’s something you should pay for or get for free. What is the worth of this service, if it’s for free, what data are they trying to get from me? If you are satisfied, you can make your choice.
9) Visit Reddit and Search for Information about the Money App
I suggest Reddit because it has a lot of information about personal finances and how companies within this sector operate. Most users on this platform are well educated and their conversations are reliable. Also, some companies have something similar where users share their views about the company’s products and services, and as well interact with members of staff.
Sometimes Reddit threads are compared with other money apps that do almost the same thing and it’s really helpful to see the choices and preferences of different people among competing firms. Sometimes, taking a look at one company on Reddit threads may reveal an interestingly different service they offer so you can make your choice. Whatever it is, I believe you will definitely learn something new when you navigate any company’s threads on Reddit.
No doubt, following through a number of steps will definitely say if a money app is safe to use before you sign up. As long as you follow the steps I explained in this article, you will have a perfect idea of whether any particular money app is safe, reliable, useful, legit, and worth the cost of subscribing to.