Is Your Financial Information Secure Online?

Man is confident his financial information is safe when he uses his credit card for an online transaction

Online banking and investing are modern-day service that provide convenience if you often find yourself on the go. When banking online, you never have to worry about waiting in line, making it into a branch before the end of the day, or visiting your financial planner.

You can easily pay bills and move money around using your home computer, smartphone or another compatible device. This convenience can turn into a major hassle, however, if you don’t properly safeguard your online profiles.

How 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 it comes to an identity thief or hacker accessing 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 password phrase that is unique and easy for you to remember.

It’s also crucial to create different passwords for each account and app you use. If an email account or online shopping login is compromised, and it shares the same password as your banking, identity thieves will be able to 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.

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Work With a Trustworthy Institution

You should have complete trust in the financial institution or planner you work with. Part of that trust is built by choosing an institution that invests in 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, and 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, but Burnette warns against 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. By taking preemptive steps to secure your information, you can access your money in peace and confidence on the go.

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Financial Planning From Minster Bank

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