Online security: banking
Online banking is a great time-saver. Of course there are some things you still have to do in person at the bank, particularly if it requires a signature, but the vast majority of your banking can be done without leaving the house, driving to the bank, standing in line, and explaining your transaction needs to a teller. Being able to pay bills, transfer money, view statements, and check your account balances in real time with a click of the mouse in the comfort of your own home is a tremendous convenience.
About.com Banking/loans has four tips to help you increase your banking savvy:
- Pay your bills online. Bill pay is one of the most widely used features of online banking, and it does exactly what the name suggests: it gives you a central place to pay all your bills at once. Paying your bills online gives rds. You can see exactly when the payment was sent from your bank and received by the payee.
- Link your accounts. If you have a line of credit, credit card, savings account or even an investment at the same banking institution, you can link them all to your checking account. That way you can view balances all at once and easily move money between your accounts.
- Use the free tools. Most banking institutions now have sorting tools that allow you to view your expenses in groups. As transactions show up, they are grouped into categories like groceries, mortgage, credit card payments, etc. The sorter allows you to quickly see where your money is going, helping you to better plan your monthly budget.
- Download your statements. Gone are the days of paper statements cluttering up your desk and clogging your filing cabinet. You can now simply download an electronic copy of your monthly statement and save it in a special file on your computer to reference later, if needed.
At first the idea of doing something so important using the internet may seem a bit daunting and maybe even a little scary, but there are ways to keep your accounts safe and secure while you’re online.
Naked Security has some great tips for safer online banking:
- Create a strong password. Your bank will require you to create a password to access your online accounts. Make sure it is a strong password that would be difficult for someone to guess. Don’t, for example, use your birth date, address, name or telephone number as a password. Do use a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters.
- Keep your computer secure and up-to-date. Security software is essential for keeping your online activities safe. Make sure you have a firewall turned on and are running antivirus software, and always keep your operating system and other software up-to-date to ensure that there are no security holes present.
- Be email savvy. No banking institution will ever send you an email asking you to provide your personal login information. If you get an email like this, it is most likely a phishing attempt designed to get you to hand over your credentials. Report the email to your bank then delete it. Similarly, it is safest to access your online account by typing your bank’s URL address directly into your browser yourself. That way you’ll know for sure you’re accessing the real site. Never click a link that has been sent to you in an email, even if it appears to come from your bank. Remember, your bank will never ask you to divulge your PIN number or passwords, so never give them out if you are called or emailed by someone claiming to be from your bank.
- Bank from home at home. It’s best to do your online banking from a computer and network you trust.
- Keep your eye on things. While online banking is safe if you follow common sense precautions, it’s always wise to monitor your bank statements to make sure nothing has gone awry. With online banking there’s no need to wait until the end of the month—you can check your accounts 24/7!
410990 CAN/US (04/15)