The world is increasingly becoming more global and making the most of online banking facilities. Online banking, also known as Internet banking, describes a range of online systems that provide users with access to their personal bank accounts, including information and functions that enable account transactions. Online banking allows 24-hour access to our bank accounts, anytime fund transfers and bill payments and thus many people prefer online banking to traditional manual banking. However, if one is not careful, online banking can open up several security risks. Nonetheless, most of the risks can be avoided by being meticulous.
Is Online Banking Safe? Boost Your Banking Security Ensure online banking safety by using secure networks, creating strong passwords and choosing banks and financial institutions that have quality-standard security systems.
Online banking and other financial transactions are safe but come with a set of risks. There are also various conveniences such as monitoring your balances to avoid fraud. You must take several steps to protect your bank accounts and ensure safe transactions while making sure your bank uses quality standard security systems to keep your accounts safe. The following 10 practical online-banking security tips will lead to safer online banking.
- Create a strong password and change it regularly
A major rule of safe banking involves simply creating a strong password and changing it on a regular basis. Always ensure that you use random strings of lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols as this enable you to create a strong password. In addition, avoid the use of names of family members, birthdays, animals and pet names or favourite foods.
- Use a secure location, sites and network when banking and conducting other transactions online
It is very tempting to log on every time one has a chance to be online. However, free and public Wi-Fi networks are often not encrypted which make them an easy target for hackers to steal personal information. Ideally, always conduct all your financial transactions on a secure network. This can be done in the office and at home, and whenever possible, use a dedicated browser for banking. If you are in a hurry or in transit, find a private spot and use your smartphone data hotspot to transact or a virtual private network, known as a VPN. Always look out and ensure that your bank’s website has the lock symbol in the web address bar and begins with ‘https.’ This means that the site is definitely encrypted and all data is converted into unreadable gibberish before it is sent. This keeps your private information safe.
Always look out and ensure that your bank’s website has the lock symbol in the web address bar and begins with ‘https’. This means that the site is definitely encrypted and all data is converted into unreadable gibberish before it is sent. This keeps your private information safe.
- Always Log Out
After creating a strong password and changing it regularly, always log out of your online banking session and emails when you are done. Avoid falling prey to session hijacking and cross-site scripting exploit. You can add another layer of protection on your computer or cell phone by using a private browser that clears its cache at the end of every session.
- Monitor your account regularly
In addition to a strong password, keep checking your bank statements regularly even on a monthly basis. This is because large-scale data breaches and frauds are always in the headlines, but criminals work on a smaller scale by attacking consumers directly. In addition, always contact the bank personally if you notice any suspicious changes, charges, credits or debits.
- Make use of Banking Notifications
Banks provide customers with text and email alerts for various purposes. This ranges from getting a notification when there is a deposit or a withdrawal, transactions over a certain amount, when the balance dips below a certain amounts and other details. Ensure that you make use of these notifications to alert you every time your account is accessed. It helps to keep the number of your bank adviser or assistant, in case you need to confirm or cancel a transaction you didn’t initiate or are not sure of.
Money is safest in a bank. When you do your transactions online, you trust that your money and account are safe from hackers. Even so, online accounts are easy targets for fraudsters because they are easier targets instead of robbing a bank. The culprits simply use their phone or a computer to siphon and whisk away money with a few keystrokes. To protect your cash and other transactions, banks and financial institutions adopt policies and security to keep customer accounts secure. Standard measures include using anti-virus protection on bank computers, firewalls, fraud monitoring and website encryption. It is important that you are cooperative and make use of several security measures.
- Update your operating systems
Software updates can feel a bit tiresome and bothersome but they often include necessary security upgrades that prevent infection by newer computer malware. Do not skip suggested updates. Instead, always try and install the latest edition of your operating system to ensure your data including banking and emails are safe.
- Always use licensed antivirus software
A major way to safeguard your personal information including banking and emails is to set up, run and regularly update anti-virus software. This is to screen everything from your emails and browsers to even your pop-up ads.
- Enable multi-factor authentication
You can prevent identity theft and all its many complications by simply using an extra layer of security, also called multi-factor authentication. Banks, emails, government and other unique institutions such as the revenue authority often offer two-factor authentication where, whenever you try to log in, they send you a text message or email with a unique verification code to be input on the website (sometimes along with your username and/or password). Most banks now use your fingerprint to verify yourself. This higher point is at another level and much more difficult to work out.
- Beware of, and avoid email scams
Banks and other unique institutions will not request or ask you to share sensitive, personal information or account details over an email, chat or text message. Instead, banks and other financial and unique institutions will always contact you personally and verify it is you by asking for your details such as account number and personal questions around the information you have submitted earlier. Phishing scams are very fond of asking for bank account, password, names and other details. This is a simple kind of fraud. There are those asking to deposit money into your account about a prize you have won, a deposit they want to make in your account or other charities. Ideally, you should not respond to any of these emails. In case of doubt, contact your bank or the institution directly using their offices, official numbers or email addresses from your bank’s website or via their other authentic handles and authorised channels.
Be on the lookout
Fraudsters often use so-called phishing scams. They are always sending out emails or text messages pretending to represent a bank or financial institution in the hopes of hooking an unsuspecting consumer.
- Only Use Official Banking Apps
Sometimes, vicious malware can sneak in and cause some serious damage to your computer if unintentionally downloaded. However, your bank’s encrypted mobile app is probably the most secure place you can transact. Remember to install updates with latest security features and only use apps from known and authorized sources.
The above simple rules appear ordinary but the rule of thumb is that you avoid online fraud by doing your bit. As an account holder, you have a clear role in making sure your money, accounts and transactions are fully protected. Security features will be clearly outlined by the bank or financial institution including in their website or fine print. If you have trouble finding that information, reach out to them directly. As technology develops, it will probably be safer to transact online though the risks we face will increasingly intensify. Therefore, you should remain vigilant and follow the above tips and other relevant ones by adding them to your checklist. This way, you can ensure that you have safe and easy banking and financial transactions towards ‘top-notch security.’ Safe Bank!