Online banking is pretty much a must these days if you want to keep things convenient and avoid some of the most common problems associated with banking in general. And yet, as great and convenient as it may be, it’s not without its fair share of problems. Security is the most notable one. If you’re not careful, you could easily have your accounts compromised, and expose your complete financial activities to unknown third parties.
In most cases, cutting down on that risk boils down to common sense and nothing else. You have to be aware of the potential problems that can come up along the way, and be ready to deal with them as they arise. And you must stay informed about recent developments in the field of security to the best of your abilities.
Use 2-Factor Authentication
2-factor authentication is a popular security solution these days, and it alone can boost the security of your account significantly. The basic idea is that you need to log in through an additional point on top of your username/password combination every time you want to access your online banking. For example, you might receive a code on your phone. Some banks even issue special hardware tokens that generate the necessary codes.
In any case, 2FA is a big step up from regular security practices, as it requires hackers to gain physical access to a secondary device on top of hacking your account, which is often infeasible.
Use Your Smartphone
Online banking doesn’t have to happen on your computer only. In fact, many banks can offer you comprehensive mobile solutions that complement their website products, and it’s not a bad idea to take a look at those and see what’s available. A single app can sometimes simplify so much in your life when it comes to finances, and you’ll be left wondering how you could have lived without that before.
Only trust the official sources though! Never download any third-party apps that require access to your financial accounts, because you never know where your information might be getting sent when using them. This is a common security risk in the industry at the moment.
Don’t Panic When You Get an Alert
Sometimes, people end up in a state of panic as soon as their online banking alerts them that something might be wrong. Don’t fall for that trap though. You need to remain calm and approach the situation with a collected state of mind. Chances are, it’s nothing to worry about in the first place. It’s possible that it’s simply a routine alert that many people receive regularly.
However, if it does seem like someone is trying to break into your accounts, take action immediately. Call your bank and notify them of the situation. They might already be aware that something is wrong if the alert came from your online banking in the first place. If the bank contacts you first, don’t give out any information about your account that they should already have. This is a common trick used by some attackers.
Tracking Multiple Accounts from One Place
Having multiple banking accounts is sometimes inevitable. At the same time, it can be a huge nightmare to deal with if they’re all over the place and you have to keep logging in to them from multiple different sources. There are some solutions that can consolidate all of that in one centralised place, and it’s a good idea to take a look at them if you’re feeling confused by all the different points that you have to keep track of.
However, make sure that this is an app approved by your bank(s), and not a random third-party product. The reason is exactly what we described earlier – someone might be able to compromise your accounts by using the information they’ve extracted from poorly secured apps in those cases.
Use a Separate Browser/Device
This might sound a bit extreme, but if you’re really conscious about your online banking security, it might not be a bad idea to use a separate browser for accessing these sites specifically. Some people even use a completely separate computer for that purpose, although this is admittedly a bit overkill. In any case, this minimises the risk of any “cross contamination” from things like the sites you regularly visit, extensions you’re using, and more. It’s not a guarantee that you will not get compromised, don’t treat it like that – but it can go a long way towards adding one extra layer of security to your overall situation.