Online banking completely changed the way we interact with banks and other financial institutions, to the way our fathers did. Online banking is a powerful "value added" tool to eliminate costly paper handling and teller interactions in an increasingly competitive banking environment. As the Internet continues to expand exponentially, banks and other financial institutions have increased their use of the Internet to deliver products and to enhance financial services, or simply to improve communication with customers.
However, the arrival of online banking has presented both an opportunity and a challenge for the banking industry. While it’s true that the Internet has the "potential" for safe and secure financial transactions, safe online banking relies very much on individuals for making good choices and decisions that will help them avoid costly surprises.
Here are some safety tips for online banking:
Password is the key in protecting privacy as it opens the gate to one’s online bank account. Therefore it is critical to secure this vital piece of information. Password should never be too personal such as birth date, phone number, or social security number. A secure password is the one that is unique, and a combination of impersonal letters and numbers. The longer it is the better. Also, one should change password every few months or so.
Use Anti-Virus and Firewall Protection:
Anti-virus and firewall protection keep the computer and its data safe and secure. Especially for online banking, anti-virus software and firewall protection is a must. Ensure to get the best protection that is available in the market.
Beware of suspicious E-mail/Phishing:
Stealing personal information online is called "phishing". In this practice, crooks may send malicious emails asking for credit card info, PINs (personal identification numbers), or passwords. However, these emails often contain a link that leads to fake sites designed to get compromising personal information. Therefore, if an email is suspicious, it is always safe to check with the concerned financial institution. Legitimate emails from a legitimate online bank will typically follow the same standards each time, and will never ask for password, PIN, or credit card information.
Protecting credit and debit cards:
One needs to be very careful with important items like a credit or a debit card. While online shopping can be quick, easy, and rewarding but can also be dangerous at the same time. Therefore, it’s wise to shop only at trusted merchants’ websites. Also, ensure that the transaction occur in a secured environment. One should look for the padlock icon at the bottom of the browser window. Typically, website address, or URL, should begin with https:// on any pages where one enters sensitive information. Lastly, it’s advisable that, for online transaction one should buy only from merchants that request the 3-digit security code from the back of your concerned card. It just gives extra assurance that the card is physically in one’s own possession during the transaction.
Choose a legitimate bank:
Choosing a legitimate bank is very important. Legitimate online banks will usually detail their security standards on their official web site. One has to figure out exactly what s/he needs from a bank. And, make sure the selected banks offer the same, and then quickly evaluate one’s options and choose the best bank account – that suits one’s need.
FDIC Insured Bank:
FDIC is an acronym for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. It is an independent agency which is backed by full faith and credit of the
Accessing bank account from public network places:
Never leave a computer unattended once signed in to online banking. After completing the transactions sign out of online banking web site. Also, it is advisable to clear cache memory, and immediately close the browser. One should avoid sharing, disclosing, or providing bank card number, or password, to another party or website other than the bank or trusted merchants’ websites. Lastly, one should never save bank card number, or password, on a publicly accessed computer.
Online banking can definitely be a convenient and a safe way to manage finances. However, no matter how secure the security system is, there will still be a hole in it. Therefore, necessary precautions have to be taken in order to ensure the safest experience. Also, never hesitate to get help from the financial institution, while at the same time one must also learn, and take advantage of the security features offered by the financial institutions.