Online banking can be an easy and convenient way to manage your money. Nowadays most banks and other financial institutions have mobile apps and offer their customers a way to access accounts and services online. Because of all the data breaches in the past couple of years many people may be wondering whether or not online banking is safe. Online banking can be pretty safe as there are precautions that banks take to protect the accounts and identities of their customers. Furthermore, there are some safety precautions that only the customer can take when banking online.
The Measures that Banks Take To Protect Their Customers Who Bank Online
When banking there is a lot of important information that is exchanged. Reputable banks know this and take thorough security measures to protect their customers. Here a few ways that banks control the flow and safety of personal information:
- Data Encryption– Encrypting data makes it so it is extremely hard for it to be hacked- think of it as a second line of defense for important information. To find out if a bank uses data encryption on their website, just check the URL. It should have either a closed lock symbol or begin with “https” (the s in here is the important part -as it indicates a website who data in encrypted).
- Banking Alerts– Many banks have alerts set up anytime your account is accessed online. These alerts are sent instantly to a phone or an email to help notify a person just in case they are not the ones using their account.
- Additional Login Requirements– Banks who offer online or mobile banking may make it so there are personal questions in addition to the a username and password while logging in. These questions are set up when a person first begins online banking and make the process even safer. When picking the questions and the answers- it is important to choose ones that only you know the answer to. Additionally make sure the answers aren’t available through your social media accounts or somewhere else online.
Why The Safety of Banking Online is Similar to the Safety of Banking in Person
When it comes to banking online or in person they are surprising similar when it comes to the risk and safety. When dealing with banking in person there are still important documents involved that -even though are on paper- can still get into the wrong hands. In addition to this nowadays many banks – even if you go in person- will have all of their information stored through their computer systems.
Things You Can Do to Be Safe While Banking Online
There are many ways the customers themselves can jeopardize their account or important personal information. Even though a bank can take safety measures there are things that only you the customer can control. Here are a few ways to be safe when banking online (or when doing anything financial online):
- Access Financial Accounts Only through Trusted Hardware and Networks– When accessing any financial accounts or any important personal information it is extremely important to use a trusted computer and a secure Wi-Fi network. Many people find that using their own network at home and their personal computer is the best way to bank and shop online.
- When Shopping Online Use Your Credit Cards- By using credit cards for purchases instead of their bank/debit card a person can protect their bank account information- so hackers do not have you primary account information if you re hacked. Furthermore, credit card companies can relatively easily reimburse you for any money lost or stolen.
- Use Official Banking Apps if Available– Instead of using a browser to access your online banking information it may be more secure to use an official app. This is because these apps are directly connected to a bank’s financial account- and so safer.
- Check Your Credit Report Often- This an important tool to use to monitor your credit information. On top of monitoring spending/credit usage, checking a credit report can show the first signs of identity and account theft.
When banking online through any kind of bank, it is important to understand the risks and safety that surrounds the topic. This is especially true for those who use online banking often. Banks who offer their services online do take a wide amount of security measures to protect their customers. There are precautions that a customer themselves can take to protect themselves when banking online. Before choosing a bank it is important to read up and ask about the security measures that company takes to protect its customers.