Online banking has made managing one’s funds very convenient.
You no longer have to wait in long lines at the bank to transfer money or pay your bills.
You also don’t need to wait for the next paper statement to know how much your balance is.
You can view your balance and use a host of other banking functions simply by logging into your online account.
However, this accessibility also exposes you to new threats.
Criminals can use phishing scams and other fraudulent practices to gain access to your bank accounts.
An unsuspecting user clicking on links sent through emails and text messages is all they need to collect confidential information, access bank accounts, and steal the money in them.
It’s definitely important to stay vigilant and guard your personal information against these bad actors.
Make sure that you practice the following good habits to keep your online banking safe and secure.
Never Share Your Personal Details
While bank representatives may occasionally need to get your details for verification processes, they will never ask you to share your personal login information by phone or email.
This applies to all kinds of transactions, including loan and credit card applications.
So, if you get a phone call or an email requesting your details, don’t give them out, even if the sender seems to provide a compelling reason to do so.
If you’re concerned that it may truly be an urgent matter, contact or visit the bank yourself so that you can be assured of a secure transaction.
Don’t Log in to Your Account Using Public Wi-Fi
Typically, public Wi-Fi networks are free for all, so you can login at any time.
Unfortunately, this also makes them unsecured, and hackers can use it to easily access other people’s devices and steal their personal information.
Avoid this risk by not logging into your bank’s website or accessing your online banking apps while connected to public Wi-Fi.
If you’re not able to do it from your home network, get access to a password-protected Wi-Fi network or stick to using your phone’s data connection.
This reduces your exposure and makes it harder for criminals to gain access to your information.
Avoid Saving Your Login Details
Many sites offer the option to save your login information.
This can help you quickly log in in the future, but it also makes it easy for other people who share the device to gain access to your online accounts.
As a precaution, some banking sites have a time-out function that logs users off if they have been inactive for a certain amount of time.
You will have to log in again if you want to resume your online banking activities.
Additionally, if you need to write down your passwords and other login details so you don’t forget them, make sure to keep the physical copy secured and hidden so that other people can’t easily find it.
Use a Unique Password and Change It Often
When creating your password, choose one that is unique and doesn’t include your name or birthdate.
Instead, use a strong password that’s more difficult to guess by including a mix of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols.
In addition to using a hard-to-guess password, make sure to change it regularly, every couple of months.
Also, it’s best to use different passwords and usernames for all your online accounts.
Doing so helps make them more secure against hacking threats.
Opt for Two-Factor Verification
As part of improving their security measures, many financial institutions use two-factor authentication.
It’s an additional step to keep your account secure.
Typically, banks will ask you to update your contact information so that when you need to log in to your account, they can send you a text message or email containing a one-time code.
Then, you must input this code to access your account.
This is a good precaution because even if someone gets hold of your login details, they won’t be able to access your account without the secondary code or one-time pin sent by your bank.
If your bank offers the two-factor authentication process, make sure to have it activated and set up for your account.
Never share the one-time code or pin with anyone to protect yourself from hackers.
Never Click on Links from Suspicious Senders
If you receive links from an unknown sender, don’t click them.
Avoid activating the link even if the sender identifies as your bank or as a legitimate entity, as it might be a phishing attempt to capture your login information.
If you really do need to access your online banking, type the URL of your bank in the address bar of your browser to ensure that you’re using an authentic site.
You can then bookmark the page for future use.
Update Your Devices Periodically
An outdated device makes it more susceptible to security breaches because it may no longer have the necessary updates to protect it.
For your peace of mind, always update your computers and mobile devices to keep them protected against the latest digital threats.
Additionally, update your banking apps as soon as they become available.
This helps to ensure that you’re always running your apps and accessing your online banking with the latest security protocols.
Monitor Your Accounts Frequently
Online banking services make it easy and convenient for you to check your account balances and transactions, so do it regularly.
This way, you can ensure that your funds are secured and that all transactions are ones that you actually made.
If you notice any suspicious activity, change your passwords immediately and contact your bank.
While banks set up many different security measures to keep your accounts secure, you also need to be proactive about safeguarding your access.
After all, your hard-earned money is at stake. Start practicing these good habits to protect yourself from scammers and other financial threats.
If you suspect fraudulent attempts to access your accounts, report them to your bank immediately.