10 Tips for Secure Online Banking

Online banking has become the norm these days, allowing you to check balances, pay bills, and transfer money without ever leaving your home. 

While the convenience is undeniable, the rise in cyber threats and scams targeting banking customers means you need to be extra cautious when managing your finances online. 

From using strong passwords to watching out for phishing attempts, practising safe online banking habits is crucial to protecting your money and personal information from falling into the wrong hands. 

In this article, we’ll cover the top ten practical tips and best practices to help you navigate the online banking world with confidence and security!

1.  Stay Away From Public or Free WiFi (or Use a VPN)

One of the easiest ways to invade privacy online is through open or public WiFi and free IP sources. You should avoid using public WiFi as much as possible – it’s unencrypted and unprotected, which means it’s easier for hackers to invade and steal your private information. 

If you absolutely must use public WiFi and there is no other option available, make sure you follow good cybersecurity hygiene practices.

The best way to stay safe is to avoid logging into anything sensitive like your bank account or email when using public WiFi. If you must use it, make sure the network is legit and password-protected. 

And for an extra layer of protection, use a virtual private network (VPN) app to encrypt your data and keep prying eyes off your browsing. For example, you could connect to a VPN in China to keep your location anonymous and secure your traffic.

Better safe than sorry when it comes to public WiFi!

2. Never Save Your Login Information

Saving your personal/login information saves time and effort, but it can be quite dangerous, too. Saved login information is easily accessible even for less techy hackers.

Hackers can exploit saved logins if they gain access to your device through malware or other shady tactics. It’s just too risky to keep that sensitive info stored, no matter how convenient it may seem. The safer play is to always log in manually and never leave your credentials lying around.

If you habitually need to remember passwords, do not write them on a separate piece of paper. Instead, try using a reputable password manager. As a bonus, they can even create strong passwords for you!

If your phone or laptop is completely inaccessible to anyone else, the chances of your information being shared or hacked are much lower. 

3. Don’t Click on Suspicious Links

Have you ever received a suspicious-looking email or text message from someone claiming to be your bank?

This is something commonly known as “phishing”; it’s called this way because phishing acts as a metaphorical bait to try to “hook” victims and reel them in to steal their personal information or data.

In a phishing attempt, scammers convince victims that they’re contacting them from their bank, often with some sort of urgent matter.

By clicking on falsified links (which often closely resemble your real bank’s URL), victims are then prompted to fill out their bank credentials… except this isn’t really a real bank, and the information has now been stolen, granting scammers access to the victims’ bank accounts.

Next time you receive a dodgy-looking email or text message, remember this article. Don’t respond and, most of all, don’t click on anything. If you’re unsure whether it truly is your bank, go directly to your bank’s website and log in there.

Remember – your bank will never ask you for your login details.

4. Change Your Password Regularly

Another smart tip is to change your passwords regularly – ideally, every couple of months.

Regularly changing your passwords makes a hacker’s life much harder. That way, even if one of your passwords has been leaked, you’ll have changed it by the time anyone tries using it.

Set a recurring reminder on your phone, and make swapping out those passwords a habit.

5. Unbreakable Password

When creating a password, make it as complicated and unique as possible: make sure it includes upper and lower case letters, symbols, numbers, punctuation, etc.

Avoid sequenced passwords at all costs, and try to make a blend of your keypad as much as you can.

Longer and tricky passwords are incredibly difficult to surpass compared to those containing your personal information such as birthdays, pet names, contact numbers, etc. 

And no, despite what you may think, it won’t be difficult to keep track of them. Just use a reputable password manager to help you manage all your logins.

6. Turn Notifications On

Turn your banking application’s push notifications on! 

While you may think that these could be distracting, they could be a great asset when it comes to online banking.

By enabling these on your phone, you’ll immediately receive a notification if suspicious activity is detected or once a payment has been made or received. 

You’ll be able to see the merchant’s name and the time the transaction was made, all of which will help you to keep track of your finances – and notice any that weren’t carried out by you.

7. Use 2-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication is your best friend when it comes to enhancing or doubling your security and account verification. 

This method lowers the chances of surpassing your account security, and you can easily enjoy online banking services whenever and wherever you like. 

Two-factor authentication works by sending a code or security question to one of your trusted devices after you log into it, which minimises the chances of hacking and privacy breaches. 

8. Never Share PINs, Account, or Card Numbers

You should never share your PINs, passwords, account details, and card numbers with anyone, not even your relatives. This information should always remain confidential – and for good reason. 

Even those with no bad intentions could inadvertently lead to your online banking account being hacked if they don’t follow good cybersecurity practices.

9. Monitor Your Balance Regularly

Maintain the habit of checking and rechecking your online banking application on your phone regularly.

Check the latest transactions and your outstanding balance – have you noticed an unknown charge that you don’t remember? Is your balance different from what it should be?

By keeping an eye on your balance regularly, you’ll spot these changes more quickly and, as a result, you’ll increase your chances of the damage being repaired. 

10. Always Log Out

Even if you’re using your own device, don’t forget to log out! Whether it’s a coworker who brushes past your desk, a family member grabbing your iPad, or a straight-up thief, they’d have open access to your finances. 

And if you forget to log out on a public computer or sketchy WiFi network… That’s practically handing your details over to hackers on a silver platter. 

Get into the habit of logging out every single time after you’re done banking online. That way, your info (and your money) stays secure.

Don’t Think Twice – Call the Bank!

If you run into any issues, contact your bank immediately. Get to your branch locator, contact the operator and branch manager, and state your issue. They should be able to remedy your issues quickly.

With convenience come risks; in a world where digital and online banking services have made our lives relatively easier and faster, it is also the quickest way to con you.

June 19, 2024
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