According to a report by Business Insider conducted in 2019, “The Evolution of the US Neobank Market Report”, 89% of US respondents said that they used mobile banking channels, and 70% said that they used mobile banking as the primary way to access their accounts. Considering our growing dependence upon technology and an insatiable appetite for all things convenient, it’s worth asking the question: Is online banking safe?
Granted, most things in life come with risk. The chances of you being subjected to a real life bank heist are slim; but it’s always worth knowing the ways in which you can help protect yourself and stay secure.
Thus, if you follow these eight online banking safety tips, which will mitigate the chances of anything ever happening to your online bank account. By following these tips, you will help protect your financial transactions, from potential cyber theft.
#1 Create a Fort Knox Worthy Password
One of the best steps to ensure online banking security is to make your password unbreachable. It’s much easier to remember little Timmy’s birthday or your favorite color (or even sequential numbers like 12345), it also makes it easier to hack into. Personal data breaches are common with online transactions. Take some time to create usernames and passwords that are strong enough to deter hackers and other malicious fraud.
To create a strong password, make sure it’s at least 10 characters long, if not closer to 14, and use both lower and upper case letters, numbers, and special characters.
The longer and more complex your usernames and passwords, the more difficult it becomes to break into.
- Modify a Familiar Password: If you’re worried about remembering an obscure concoction of letters and numbers, try creating a familiar phrase and replacing some of the letters with numbers or special characters. All tricks aside, if you’re the type of person who often forgets your passwords; try using a password manager such as Dashlane or Keeper to hold them for you all in one secure place.
#2 Update Your Password Frequently
The second best tip, is to scrap your old password and create a new one every three months. You’re going to get really good at this. Changing your password frequently is one of the best security tips for deterring scammers and potential theft.
- The Benefit of Frequently Changing Your Password: When you change your password regularly, you make it harder for any hackers or scammers to keylog/password-generate and break into your account. The other precautionary measure is to use different passwords across multiple platforms. Although it’s easy to have a ubiquitous password, it’s not advisable in today’s digital landscape.
#3 Avoid Using Public Computers and WiFi For Online Banking
Using public WiFi or a public computer puts you at risk of cyber criminals gaining access to your browser history and passwords.
- Stay Away From Public WiFi!: When doing your online banking, make sure you’re using a private computer with a password-protected WiFi network so you don’t run into any hackers trying to access your account. Additionally, it would be wise to have an IT expert, encrypt the data on your phone as devices often connect to public WiFi automatically.
#4 Regularly Monitor Your Accounts
As it’s now quick and easy to sign in online and check your bank account, take advantage of that by regularly monitoring your account activity. Despite banks using a number of precautionary measures to flag and detect fraudulent activity, singular transactions can sometimes fall through the cracks. If you make sure to check your own account activity, you’ll be able to spot anything out of the ordinary; keeping your banking safe.
- Every Transaction Alert: Some banks offer an every-transaction alert. This means, every time your card makes a transaction, an alert is sent directly to your phone.This is important, because if fraud does take place, you can catch it immediately.
#5 Set Up Account Notifications
Most of the leading banks, now offer notifications sent to your phone or email about any purchases made or activity on your account. These notifications keep you up to date with how much you spend on particular cards. As you receive transaction notifications, you will be able to spot any unusual activity, and notify the bank. This will reduce the risk of ongoing fraud.
- Call Your Bank: Next time you sign into your account, head to your settings to set up the type of notifications you’d like to receive. If you are unable to find what you’re looking for, you can call your bank (sometimes they have other types of notification that aren’t easily navigable on their website).
#6 Install Anti-Virus Software
Another key safety tip is installing and using licensed anti-virus software for online banking. considered a tool only necessary for PCs; anti-virus software is now recommended for Mac users too.
- Install Anti-Virus Software: Whatever computer you have, whether it’s PC, or Mac, keep them clean and out of harm’s way by sweeping them free of any potential bugs. Also make sure to keep the software updated so that you’re not running any obsolete systems that could slow down your computer.Remember that you could potentially download malware (even from unassuming sites), and give hackers insight to your movements. Armed with your keystrokes, they can gain access to your username and bank password.
Remember that you could potentially download malware (even from unassuming sites), and give hackers insight to your movements. Armed with your keystrokes, they can gain access to your username and bank password.
#7 Log Out When Finished
You would be surprised how many users leave their bank accounts open after they’ve logged in. Even if there isn’t much potential for someone to physically grab your device and steal your account information of; by leaving the account open, it can be ‘hijacked’ by another user to gain unauthorized access to your data. This is commonly known as ‘session hijacking’.
- Just Log Out: Make sure that once you’re done, you click to log out. Additionally, you can further safeguard yourself by browsing solely on a private window, and constantly clearing your cache/history to ensure there are no ‘trails’ left behind.
#8 Stay Away From Email Links
Email links can make your accounts vulnerable. Make sure you always type the URL of your bank into your web browser rather than clicking through an email.
- Never Sign In From an Email Link: This goes for literally any account you have. Hackers and cyber criminals can now replicate URLs to make them appear almost identical to your bank’s (or any other platform). The duplication URL will take you to a fake window and, once you put in your information, it will give them direct access to your account. Never, ever access your bank account through an email link.
Staying Safe While Banking Online
Although banks and financial institutions work tirelessly to derail potential break-ins, the safety tips for online banking above can help ensure that your money, identity, and future will be safeguarded. These measures are both precautionary and proactive.
To learn more about online banking safety tips, visit one of our branch locations or call one of our helpful Mission Fed representatives today.
The content provided consists of opinions and ideas and should be used for informational purposes only. Mission Federal Credit Union disclaims any liability for decisions you make based on the information provided. References to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name in this article does not constitute endorsement, control or warranty by Mission Federal Credit Union.
American Bankers Association. Survey: Bank Customers Preference for Digital Channels Continues to Grow. https://www.aba.com/about-us/press-room/press-releases/survey-bank-customers-preference-for-digital-channels-continues-to-grow
Nationwide. 6 Tips for Safe Online Banking. https://blog.nationwide.com/safe-online-banking/