Here in the 21st century, banking has never been easier. Remember when we had to get out of our pajamas and go to the local bank just to deposit a check? Now we can do almost any transaction on the go with our phone or at home on our desktop.
While online banking is convenient, it does come with its fair share of risks. Your identity and banking information can be compromised if you are not careful. The next time you decide to log into your online banking account, keep these tips in mind.
1. Change your passwords frequently
I understand, it’s really annoying to change your passwords over and over again. You probably think it’s bad enough that you have to incorporate a series of numbers, capital letters, and symbols into your password, and now you have to change it all the time? But seriously, having a complex and frequently changed password will help protect your account from hackers.
If you are worried about forgetting your password, you should consider using a password manager to securely store all of your passwords. With password managers, you never have to worry about resetting your password again.
2. Never use public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi has a ton of downsides. Not only is it generally slow, but sometimes it does not provide a secure internet connection. When a hacker connects to public Wi-Fi, they can see everything, including your bank account ID.
However, encrypted web pages can save you from the prying eyes of hackers. Make sure to check if your bank URL starts with “https: //” and not “http: //”. The “s” tells you that the page is safe to use.
Even if a page is encrypted, it’s always best to avoid public Wi-Fi altogether. Using a virtual private network (our main recommendation is ExpressVPN which is discounted if you sign up using this link), or using your cellular network to access the Internet is much more ideal when dealing with online banking. If you really want to play it safe, simply access your account from your own home’s Wi-Fi.
3. Enable two-factor authentication
Most banks will give you the option of enabling two-factor authentication (2FA). While 2FA has its strengths and weaknesses, it still gives you additional protection for your sensitive account information.
When you sign up for 2FA, you usually receive a text message with a one-time password every time you log into your account. It might seem like a downside to take the extra step, but it’s worth it.
If a hacker tries to log into your account, you will receive an SMS with a code. Once you realize that you haven’t made this request, you can immediately intercept the hacker.
4. Don’t open any suspicious emails
Emails that ask for your personal information are called phishing emails. These emails try to trick you into disclosing your bank and credit card information. Emails may appear to be from a legitimate source, but the person on the other end of the message is almost always a hacker.
Remember that your bank will never ask you for personal information via email or text. If you ever receive an email or text from a “financial institution” that seems a little too curious, be sure to report it to your bank.
5. Avoid using automatic login
With automatic login, your browser saves your username and password, allowing you to access your bank account without remembering your login information. While it’s convenient and all, it’s not the safest thing to do.
You should avoid automatic login at all costs, especially if you are using your phone for online banking. What if someone slips your phone? They won’t even need your username or password to access your bank account.
If you haven’t already, turn this feature off on your phone and desktop right away!
6. Use the Mobile Banking app
Download your bank’s mobile app and use it instead of accessing it from your desktop. Unfortunately, computers are affected by the most malicious attacks.
While every device has the potential to be hacked, it’s just not as common for mobile devices. Accessing your cellular network and connecting to your bank account will give you the best protection.
7. Update your computer and mobile device
Updates can sometimes take several minutes or hours, so I understand why you are delaying them. However, if your computer or phone is months or years behind in terms of updates, you won’t have the latest protection against security breaches and malware.
8. Secure your mobile device
Remember to use all the security measures on your smartphone, especially if you are a fan of mobile banking. Make sure you can lock your phone with PIN, face recognition, pattern or fingerprint. If your phone is stolen, it is more difficult for the culprit to get into your phone.
9. Subscribe to text alerts
If your bank offers you the possibility of receiving SMS alerts concerning your account, do not hesitate to subscribe. Whenever a large amount of money is withdrawn from your account, you will receive an SMS. Hope you will only receive SMS when you withdraw the money.
SMS notifications allow you to jump on any suspicious activity in your bank account. If you receive a text message saying that your balance has suddenly gone down and you haven’t made any transactions, you can contact your bank and put an end to the scammers quickly.
10. Keep an eye on your statements
Finally, you should take a closer look at all of your monthly bank statements. Your bank may ignore fraudulent activity on your card and fail to alert you. By going through your statements, you can look for any strange transactions. If you find any, you should contact your bank as soon as possible.
Smarter, more secure online banking
While online banking can potentially lead to hacking and fraudulent charges, using these practices above will help you avoid any issues with your bank account. For secure online banking, all you need to do is use your common sense. If an email seems incomplete or a network doesn’t seem so secure, go with your gut and avoid it.
For more information on keeping your bank account safe, check out the potential risks of online banking.
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