I lost my banking application, what should I do?

For a year now, a notable list (currently more than thirty) of Russian banks has been under sanctions

from the United States, Britain and the European Union.One of the practical aspects of these sanctions for an ordinary citizen of the Russian Federation is the restriction imposed by Google and Apple on the use of applications of these banks, which is expressed in the fact that these applications periodically disappear from the Play and AppStore stores. VTB and Gazprombank are the “champions” in terms of the restrictions introduced, while the rest of the clients do not always have to deal with situations when their application suddenly disappeared. Last week, clients of Primorye, Levoberezhny and Uralsib banks got acquainted with this, and we prepared a brief analysis of what is worth and what exactly should not be done in such a situation.

What is going on?

Google and Apple, on the one hand,are American companies, so they seem to be supporting sanctions against Russian legal entities. On the other hand, there is no direct requirement in any sanctions package to disable banking applications on the platforms. Formally, banks do not profit from these applications, and third-party companies act as developers, the connection of which with the sanctions list still needs to be proven. Therefore, there is no and cannot be any logic in the restrictions on the operation of banking applications, so you should not be surprised that one application works and is downloaded from the store, while the other is constantly pursued by deletions and restrictions. Crimean RNCB needs to be called "Digital Office" to work with the AppStore, while VTB has to disguise itself as a restaurant guide. In general, it must be recognized that there is an active work on the part of banks to maintain stable support for their customers, while there is little desire on the part of app stores to deal with shutdowns. Therefore, it is not worth worrying about the fact that all banking applications will disappear. It is possible that in one of the future packages of sanctions they will still introduce a direct ban on the placement of such applications, but it will not work.

VTB app masquerading as a restaurant guide

The Android OS is already different in that it has availableseveral app stores, including Russian ones, which, of course, will not follow the sanctions policy. The ability to install the application from the APK file is also preserved. So while Android, in principle, will work in the Russian Federation, the applications of Russian banks will remain operational. With Apple, the situation is more complicated, but, in general, while the company itself does not show much interest in consistently pursuing all sanctioned banks (if there was such a desire, the same Crimean banks would have lost their applications long ago), and European politicians, with one hand imposing sanctions on Russia, another is seeking to eliminate Apple's monopoly control over iOS applications. So in the future, most likely, we will see third-party app stores for the iPhone, and the situation will even out with Android.


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What to do if your app is missing from the store?

However, let's talk in detail about the daytoday. What to do if you read in the news that your bank has been sanctioned and Google and Apple have removed its app from their stores? The very first thing is not to worry. A banking app is not a bank account, it adds to the comfort of being in control of your finances, but it is not the only means of control, so in the worst case, you just have to do without it. But even the scale of the inconvenience should not be exaggerated, you can still use critical functions from your phone, just not like before.

Next, make sure that the applicationsaved on your smartphone. If it works, then you don’t have a problem that needs to be solved here and now. If the application does not work, gives an error when entering, reports that the functionality is limited, then this may be due to temporary problems. For example, Uralsib Bank last week, simultaneously with the removal of its application from Google Play, was subjected to one of the most serious DDoS attacks in its history. Accordingly, for security reasons, the application had limited functionality, but the issue was resolved literally in a matter of hours. In any case, do not delete the application. Fraudsters will not be able to use it in any way, and with a high probability the bank's customer service will be able to "repair" it after some time.

The application of the bank "Uralsib" is missing, but Google offers to install applications of other sanctioned banks instead

If the banking application is deleted from the smartphone

A less pleasant option is to uninstall the applicationfrom a smartphone. Most often, owners of gadgets from Apple face this, and all that remains for them is to wait for the moment when the bank is able to restart its application. In this regard, the use of the iPhone in Russia has really turned into an attraction for thrill-seekers, and if you are not one of them, then you can only sympathize and advise you to choose something else.

If you have an Android smartphone, there istwo ways. The first one is more suitable for those who, out of old memory, prefer to install applications on their own by downloading the APK file. This method is not completely safe and requires disabling the default blocking of installation of applications from third-party sources in the OS. If you have not previously resorted to installing applications not from app stores, you will need to find the appropriate setting in the smartphone menu and allow such installation. Fortunately, the shell usually directs you to the right place when you try to install, so you won't have to look for a long time. You can get the APK on the page of your bank, usually both QR-code and traditional downloads are offered.

The Crimean bank RNKB has been under sanctions for 9 years now, but the application can be downloaded from its official page.

And this is also a banking application, but it does not pretend that it is related to someone who has fallen under sanctions.

The second option is to check third-party storesapplications. Samsung and most Chinese manufacturers preinstall these stores on their devices. Russian brands must install Russian app stores, and the State Duma insists that in general, all smartphones officially sold in the Russian Federation must have some kind of RuStore out of the box. Usually there is nothing useful and interesting in these stores, so I will not recommend using them. But when it comes to finding the application of a sanctioned bank, such a store is a very good helper. At the same time, the reality is that the Chinese AppGallery from Huawei may not help, but the Galaxy Store from Samsung has not been seen at all in deleting applications from Russian banks.

Sberbank applications cannot be found in Google and Apple stores. And in the Galaxy Store it is right with the indication of the developer.

No app yet

As I wrote above, the banking application is notis the only way to control your finances remotely. So if you need to do something urgently, you can do without it perfectly. You will still need only the smartphone itself and a stable Internet connection. All banks have an online Internet banking service accessible through a browser. Such a connection is in theory more vulnerable, but if fraudulent bookmarks live in your browser, your data has most likely already been stolen. In other cases, two-factor authentication, which is required for all transactions in Internet Banking, will be sufficient.

Always use the browser versionthe client-bank, of course, will be inconvenient. Firstly, not all banks normally make its mobile version. A confusing menu, small lines, inconvenient navigation, lack of gestures are common signs that the bank relied on its smartphone application, and developed the browser version only in the desktop version. In addition, some of the functionality for smartphones might simply not be transferred, so payment by QR code may not work. Bonus accrual systems may not work if they were tied specifically to smartphone use. So there will be a lot of little things that at least spoil the mood in this version. At the same time, you are not deprived of the opportunity to carry out the movement of your financial resources and control over them.

No matter how it was customary to scold domesticpayment services, at the moment they act as a lifesaver in case of turning off other alternatives. So if your application stops working and you need to pay within the country, use them. The system of fast payments will be available to you through the browser as well as the traditional payment for purchases in online stores by entering card data.

The application for fast payments through the SBP system has not disappeared anywhere, you can use it for the convenience of transfers

Helpful and not so helpful tips

The main principle of action in case of a problem withbanking application is the same as in the case of any fraud. The main thing is not to panic and not make any hasty decisions. The most important thing is to follow the official news directly from the bank. I don't know of any of them that aren't active on social media, so you just have to choose the one that suits you best. But traditional media channels are better to be postponed. Most often, except for the first message that a problem has appeared, the information in them will be generalized and will appear with a delay. You also need to know what the situation is with your bank, so you will have to specifically follow its news.

But there is one caveat.First of all, it concerns users of Apple products. Applications after deletion often appear without mentioning the bank. This is the same menu, the same corporate colors, perhaps even the exact same logo, but not a single word about the fact that this is a bank's proprietary application. It will not be in the developers either. As well as there will be no link from the bank's website to the AppStore and, in general, any mention that the application for iOS exists. I don’t know how fair it is to refer to the Crimean experience here, but in the branches of Crimean banks, consultants know whether their application is actually in the AppStore or not. So, just like with scammers, visiting a branch can solve your problem. But resorting to advice from the Internet should be done with caution.

In general, the best principle regarding "advice withforums" in the case of banking problems - follow them with extreme caution. If you have not followed the discussions, you cannot assess whether the administration of the public has any connection with the official representatives of the bank, it makes sense to refrain from such hints. It is better to lose time than to lose both time and money, because no recommendations other than official ones will be considered by the bank as something different from a mistake you made deliberately. So remember that all experiments are solely at your own peril and risk.

In a situation where the banking service suffered notdue to sanctions (or not only from them), the most reliable way is to return to the use of cash and account management through a visit to the bank office. Yes, it turns out that this is a kind of rollback to a couple of decades ago, but if the question concerns the account where your savings are stored, and not just the spending cache, excessive vigilance will never be superfluous.

In order to avoid blockingat the moment, it is worth diversifying the banks in which you have an account. Although my personal experience says that at the moment it is not so easy. You can be the owner of a dozen bank cards, but they will all be from banks that have fallen under sanctions.

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