This blog was originally published in 2019, and it was updated in 2023.
Online banking and investing are modern-day services that provide convenience for those on the go.
You can quickly pay bills and move money around using your home computer, smartphone or another compatible device. However, this convenience can become a major hassle if you don’t properly safeguard your online profiles.
Why You Need to Create Strong Passwords
The strength of your account passwords is determined by the number and uniqueness of characters and can make all the difference when protecting your information.
Although using memorable dates like your birthday or address make it easier to recall, those numbers will also be easy for others to figure out.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) recommends using a password with numbers, lower- and upper-case letters and special symbols. One method for doing this would be to create a unique password phrase that is easy for you to remember.
Creating different passwords for each account and app you use is also crucial. If an email account or online shopping login is compromised and shares the same password as your banking, identity thieves can access that information.
The FDIC advises regularly changing passwords — usually about every 90 days or so — and never staying logged in to your online banking accounts after you have completed your transactions.
Work With a Trustworthy Institution
You should have complete trust in your financial institution or planner. Part of that trust is built by choosing an institution with industry-sanctioned security protocols and policies.
NerdWallet writer Margarette Burnette suggests looking for a financial institution that requires multifactor authentication when logging into your online banking profile. Instead of logging in with the traditional username and password, multifactor authentication will prompt you to provide one more piece of identifying information before granting access to your profile.
This better protects your account against hackers. If your financial institution notifies you when someone attempts to access your account unsuccessfully, you can notify your bank and change your password to keep yourself safe.
Dedicate a Device For Banking
You probably use your smartphone, laptop or tablet for more than just banking. All this online activity opens you up to potential malware that can creep into your sensitive financial accounts.
Instead of using one device to do it all, the FDIC recommends keeping other tasks separate from banking and investing by dedicating a device for handling online shopping and banking.
With a million things to get done in a day, you might be tempted to handle a bill or check your accounts while you’re out and about. However, try to avoid using public Wi-Fi for any sensitive transactions. Instead, wait until you are on your private home network or ensure that you are using your mobile device’s dedicated network.
Using an app or banking online through your browser is a great convenience, but the potential consequences should be understood and respected. You can access your money safely and confidently by taking preemptive steps to secure your information.
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