Mind the FeesOne major economic point you need to keep in mind: While the banks aren't charging for these new cell-phone services, your cell-phone provider does. Unlike accessing your accounts on a laptop, every time you use a wireless data service, you pay. If you have a monthly data service, then you'll just be using some of what you pay for already. If you don't have a data plan, you will pay for each up/down data you use. Like any other cellular service, things can get expensive quickly.
Theft FretThe other factor to consider is security. At the outset, your bank accounts may only be safe as long as the cell phone is in your possession. Lose it, and you might be in trouble. And what about the electronic data thieves who might be able to steal the information you are sending and receiving? The banks worry, too. Companies like VeriSign ( VRSN), Symantec ( SYMC), Credant and others are constantly working to make sure that the cellular banking information you send and receive is safe. In recent surveys, young adults (those 18 to 24 years old) believe cell-phone banking is a good idea. They're not worried about whether it is safe. They're also young enough not to remember what happened the last time mobile banking made a big push. Nearly 20 years ago, hackers and viruses took a large toll on a burgeoning industry. Technology has improved, but you should still be aware of the possibility of a problem.
If you currently use your handset to do banking tasks, you should, at a minimum, make sure you are asked for a secure password every time you try to log in to your account. There are some online banks that actually scramble the position of on-screen letters and numbers so that no one can accurately copy your keystrokes from a distance.As more and more people use their cell phones for communication, entertainment and now business, we will have to be vigilant about the security of our cellular identities. Nobody ever made a dime by panicking, says Jim Cramer. Moneymaking opportunities exist despite the market turmoil. So where's a market master like Cramer putting his money these days? Check out his personal portfolio at Action Alerts PLUS. Take a free trial now.