Many financial institutions now offer online banking. To many, this can be an idea that is easy to see in a bad light. After all, isn’t the internet crawling with hackers? Surely it can’t be safe to bank online?
In reality, online banking is a very safe option, and is used by millions of people every day. We’re going to explain why online banking is safe, and talk about ways to help yourself and others keep it even safer.
First, let’s talk about why online banking is such a great option. With online banking, you can conveniently view your financial history, including credit card transactions, written checks, and deposits such as cash deposits, checks, or direct deposit payments. This can help you budget better, plan out your savings, and in general have access to information from the comfort of your home rather than after a trip to the bank.
You can also use online banking to transfer funds from one account to another, which is very useful if you prefer to control your own transfers between your checking and savings accounts. Using online banking is much more convenient and much less time-consuming, making it far easier for you to handle your finances.
We’ve already acknowledged the existence of hackers, but in that case, it makes sense that our financial institutions know about that danger, too. That’s why banks consistently protect themselves and your accounts from the harm of dangerous internet criminals.
Besides the log-in and password you use to access your online banking account, banks and other financial institutions combine standard safety measures with more stringent procedures to ensure your financial information does not fall into the wrong hands. Computers and equipment in the bank themselves are protected by firewalls and anti-virus protection. Accounts are heavily monitored for signs of fraud, and data intended for specific recipients is encrypted, which means that the information is laid out in such a way that it only makes sense to the person intended to receive that information.
The technology utilized by your bank is completely intended to do its job and keep your financial information safe. This is something that you, as a user of your financial institution’s online banking system, also have a hand in protecting.
There are many different ways that internet hackers can take control of your electronic devices. From computers to cell phones, you can keep your online banking information safe by knowing how hackers might try to fool you into giving up your personal information.
Does an email seem too good to be true, or does it include information that you know for a fact is incorrect, such as owing a payment on a loan you don’t have? Did someone you don’t know send you an email with an attachment but no message? Is an email coming from the old email address of a friend or acquaintance, even though you know they no longer use that email address? Cases such as this are called phishing, and are a common way that online banking users can unknowingly give a hacker access to their accounts.
Certain steps such as anti-virus software, avoiding public Wi-Fi usage while accessing your online banking account, and changing your passwords regularly can help in keeping your financial information safe. You also need to be sure to do research on your online banking company, checking that they use industry-standard security to protect your account. Many banks will use extra security online such as asking you a question only you should know the answer to or sending a unique passcode to your phone. It’s always a good idea to opt in for text notifications, as it can make the process of accessing your account easier and will also be another step in the protection of your online banking accounts.
Through a combination of well-tested technology and your own caution and care, online banking is an easy, safe alternative to banking in person. Watch for possible scams, err on the side of caution, and you’ll have a great experience with online banking that you didn’t think you could have!