Browsers can be risky for online banking as there are trojans designed to collect data, but apps have drawbacks too. Photograph: Alamy
Why should I use a banking app instead of logging into my bank accounts with the relevant passwords via Windows 10 and Edge? Which one would be more secure? Irene
Over the past five years or so, I feel the consensus has changed to using apps. However, it depends on the devices, banking software and browsers, what else is loaded on the device (either knowingly or not), and the communications network.
Browsers are risky because there are trojans designed to collect banking information. Apps are risky because most banking apps probably have security flaws, and because fake/malware apps sometimes appear in app stores.
If you are a careful user with a secure PC, and if you only use it on your secure home network, you should not have any problems. However, if you want to perform banking transactions from wherever you happen to be, without taking too many precautions, then it should be safest to use an app over 3G/LTE (turn off wifi and Bluetooth).
Systems that use two-factor authentication, preferably with a separate device that generates new passwords on demand, are really the way to go.
What is an app?
When personal computers first went on general sale in the 1970s, the VisiCalc spreadsheet was hailed as a “killer app”, which was short for “application program”. However, the past decade has seen a huge growth in app stores for smartphones and tablets. These apps are different from traditional PC programs in that they are vetted by and downloaded from secure online stores. Further, these apps run in sandboxes to prevent them from doing bad things.
PCs, by contrast, can run unvetted software from any source, including malware-infected websites, unless your anti-virus software blocks them.