How to stay safe while banking (and buying) online
The internet has undoubtedly made banking and finance more accessible than ever before. Now, anyone can quickly access funds or make purchases online with just a few clicks.But that convenience also means that your private financial information is vulnerable to being exposed online. And with identity theft and other financial related crimes resulting in billions of losses every year, it’s important to make sure your financial information is as protected as possible.
Luckily, there are a few easy steps you can take to make sure you are in a better position to protect your financial information. In a lot of ways, the easiest way to do that is to adopt some easy online safety habits to use with your financial-related information.
Your first line of defense when it comes to your financial life is your bank account. With the majority of people now using online banking, ensuring that your account is well guarded is of the utmost importance. Although the digital security of banks has improved, like most things online, your account is only as safe as your password is strong. The simplest and arguably most important step you can take to lock down your account is to use a strong and unique password.
Step 1: Creating Strong Passwords with a Password Manager
Given how difficult it can be to remember all the passwords you use online, many people resort to using the same password or similar passwords across services. This is the biggest mistake you can make. If another service you use online is compromised and your password uncovered, hackers can then use that information to break into your other accounts.
In order to stay protected, your best bet is to use a password manager.
These tools will not only generate unique and strong passwords for you, but will store them safely on your computer or phone as well. All you have to do is remember a master password that locks the password manager itself.
Step 2: Further Securing Your Account with Two-Factor Authentication
Now that you have set a unique and strong password, your next step is to enable Two-Factor Authentication, or what is often referred to as 2FA.
This is a security method that requires you to provide a second way of authenticating your identity in order to access your account.
To enable 2FA, check the security settings in your bank account or reach out to your bank for help. While most banks offer 2FA, some smaller banks may not. If 2FA is unavailable, make sure to let your bank know that it is a feature that should absolutely be offered to customers.
Your bank may offer multiple types of 2FA.
One example would be SMS-based 2FA. In this instance, after you put in your password, your bank would text you a unique code (One Time Pin-OTP) to enter online in order to prove that you are the one logging into your account.