Online and mobile banking offer convenience and simplicity when managing your finances, but some people avoid them due to the potential risks.
While cybersecurity is a genuine concern when using online and mobile banking services, you can take meaningful steps to keep your financial accounts safe. Discover how to harness the benefits of digital banking – securely.
9 Security Tips for Online & Mobile Banking Users
- Use a strong password – and keep it secret! Create a unique, secure password for each account you use to access your finances. Each password should:
- Use at least 8 characters (12 or more is best)Include a combination of numbers, symbols, and uppercase and lowercase letters.
- Be free of identifiable or searchable information about you, like your birthday or family name
- Be different from other passwords you use for other accounts or logins
Don’t share your passwords with anyone. If you think someone knows your password, change it immediately and do not reuse old ones.
- Always use a secure internet connection. Websites using SSL (Secure Socket Layer encryption) always show a web address that starts with https://, which indicates that you are on a secure site. Anytime you enter financial information, like a credit card or account number, make sure the website is secure. Avoid entering personal or financial information when you are connected to public Wi-Fi networks. Public networks are less secure than private, password-protected networks.
- Verify who you are communicating with. If someone unexpectedly contacts you and claims to work for your financial institution, do not interact with them. Instead, contact your financial institution directly at a number, web address, or email address you trust and verify if the person is actually a representative. Don’t use contact information provided by the person who tried to contact you.
- Download from a trusted source. Download mobile banking apps from reputable sources, such as your financial institution’s website or a valid app marketplace. Double-check with your financial institution to ascertain the exact name and appearance of their mobile app and/or website to ensure you’re using the correct one.
- Use other resources to stay safe. Your financial institution may have other tips and guidance for additional steps you can take to stay secure. Some mobile banking apps have features like multifactor authentication or biometric authentication, which offer improved security for your financial accounts. Multifactor authentication requires you to present at least two types of authentication, such as entering a code sent via text, email, or a secure app before you can log in to your account. Biometric authentication uses unique physical features – like your fingerprint, iris, or face – to verify your identity before unlocking your device or signing you in to your account.
- Regularly monitor your accounts and transactions. Review your financial account statements and transaction histories at least once a month to identify suspicious or unfamiliar activity. This way you can spot and report fraud to your financial institution right away.
- Don’t forget to log out. When you’re done accessing your financial account online or through a mobile app, log out of your account, especially if you’re using a public computer or tablet. Staying logged in to your account, even on your own devices, could make it easy for your finances to become compromised if your device is lost or stolen.
- Keep anti-malware and antivirus software up to date. If your device is the target of a cyberattack, any financial information or accounts on your device might be compromised. Anti-malware and antivirus software on your devices can help protect against certain malicious attacks, like viruses and ransomware. Each device you use for mobile and online banking should have trusted anti-malware and antivirus software installed on it. Update the software regularly to ensure you have the latest protection.
- Know your rights. Financial institutions are required to take reasonable efforts to protect your privacy and the security of your financial information when you use their website or mobile app. Certain federal and state laws require the same of other businesses as well.