Watchdog warns of mobile dangers

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People using mobile-banking services to transfer cash are risking making mistakes, the City watchdog has warned.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said that the small screens and limited keypads increase the chance of people typing in the wrong amount or incorrect details for the recipient, resulting in cash being sent to the wrong person.

The regulator also warned people to look at ways to protect their phones and tablet computers from fraud and viruses and to ensure that if they lose their phones, their details cannot easily be accessed.

The FCA has started a review into the mobile-banking sector, looking at the risks to customers and what banks and mobile-phone firms can do to help protect consumers and ensure the system is not being abused for money-laundering purposes.

It is looking at contactless payments, financial transfers and account monitoring via mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets.

Clive Adamson, director of supervision at the FCA, said: "We want to ensure that consumers are appropriately protected."

Mobile banking is soaring in popularity, and more than a billion people worldwide are expected to use their phones for banking services by the end of 2017, according to a report from Juniper Research. This year just 590 million are expected to use their phones or tablets for banking.