Is Online Banking Safe? How to Increase Your Banking Security

Banking online gives you peace of mind when your account is safe from hackers. Yet, consumers might perceive online accounts as easy targets: Instead of robbing a bank, a criminal simply needs to type a few keystrokes to withdraw their money.

Keeping your online accounts secure is the bank and credit union’s way of combating these concerns, as well as protecting your cash. Security measures include anti-virus protection on bank computers, firewalls, fraud monitoring, and encryption on websites, which scrambles data so only those who are intended to read it are able to read it. These security measures are likely used by your financial institution if you bank online.

Is online banking safe enough?

Banking online is actually safer than traditional methods of banking. There are fewer errors when you use technology, and there is less fraud—as long as you’re extremely cautious with your login credentials and passwords and never use public Wi-Fi to access personal financial accounts. In addition, every transaction can be tracked in detail.

Staying safe online calls for vigilance, because scammers come up with new ways to separate you from your money every day. Anything that looks fishy probably is; however, you can keep yourself from becoming a victim by keeping an eye out for the most common scams, such as phishing. 

This happens when you receive an email from what looks like your bank asking you to update your account information. You’ll be directed to a website, which will ask you for your personal information, bank account numbers, usernames, and passwords. 

But the site you go to is not really run by your bank, even if it looks just like your bank’s website. Your bank will never ask you for personal financial information in an email, so if you get one like this, delete it without clicking on any of the contents. 

Other attacks involve stealing your information from your devices. Software programs may track your communication or keystrokes on your computer, and send that information off to a scammer. Fake outlets can steal information from your phone or tablet when you plug into recharge. 

How to improve your online banking security

Make sure the institution you choose uses industry-standard security. Banks and credit unions with low fees and high-interest rates are probably what you are looking for. Be sure to include “top-notch security” on your checklist. You should also ensure that your online accounts are backed by solid technology, such as those described above. A bank’s website or fine print may outline security features. If you can’t find it, contact the bank directly.

Authentication with multiple factors is another example. To verify your identity, the financial institution requires another piece of information, or factor, instead of just requesting a username and password when you log in. You can send yourself a passcode via text message or even use your own fingerprint. This is another layer, one that is not so easy to steal.

It should be easy to find a bank or credit union that meets these standards since many of the larger online banks — and traditional institutions with online accounts — adhere to them.

Don’t use public Wi-Fi for private banking. On a public network, you can’t be sure who sees what you send online unless each website you visit is encrypted. A private network is the best option. Consider using your cellular data plan in lieu of Wi-Fi if you need to log in away from home, or use a virtual private network (VPN). You can check the security of the web page by checking the address on the browser. Make sure it starts with “https.” The “s” signifies that the page is secure.

Update your anti-virus software. Make sure yours is updated on your home computer and mobile device.

Regularly change your passwords. Mix uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols to make your password difficult to guess. Complex passwords are harder to crack, so they are more likely to protect against hackers.

Request text alerts. Many financial institutions allow customers to receive alerts via text or email whenever a large transaction is made on their account or when their balance falls below a certain amount. If a customer sees a purchase or transfer they didn’t make, they can contact the bank immediately to prevent further fraud. Moreover, customers have 60 days from the date of their statement to dispute unauthorized charges.

Finally, keep a close watch on your financial accounts (bank, investment, and retirement) and keep a tight lid on your banking information. Simply telling somebody your account number can expose you to problems, so don’t divulge your banking information over the phone or via the web unless you know whom you’re dealing with. If you suspect that somebody else is using your account, call your bank immediately.

People Also Ask FAQs

Is online banking safe?

Secure technology on the back end of your bank or credit union, as well as security precautions on your end, makes online banking safe.

What can I do to protect my online banking?

If you bank online, you can take a few key steps to protect yourself. These include choosing a bank or credit union that uses industry-standard security, uses antivirus and firewall software on your computer, and keeping other software (browsers, operating systems, etc.) up-to-date. Make sure your phone and tablet have the latest security updates as well. Use two-step authentication whenever possible.

Which bank offers the most secure online banking?

In combination with your own security precautions, banks that offer several protective measures – such as multifactor authentication, alert notifications, and website encryption – can be considered safe and secure for online banking.

What are the risks of online banking?

Online banking has some risks, including your account being hacked or the website or app not functioning, or being down for maintenance when you need it. Therefore, you should bank with an institution that uses strong security measures to protect your accounts, and you should also take security precautions on your own. With a few key steps, you can securely use online banking.

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