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How To Stay Safe When Banking Online

Online banking is increasingly becoming the main way people organise their money, in 2017 71% of adults in the UK accessed their bank account through a mobile banking app or online web browser with people logging into a mobile banking app on average 275 times a year. Meanwhile bank branches are noticing large declines in customers.

The modern desire for convenience is driving these numbers but it’s not just for convenience, did you know that you are 24% less likely to incur unarranged overdraft charges if you use a mobile banking app? Being able to monitor your account and view any transactions in an instant is a huge help when it comes to spotting any unwanted activity.

Most banks will let you do pretty much everything you’d need to online including paying bills and transferring money to other accounts. Checking your statements and bank balance. Setting up direct debits and check any savings accounts that are linked to your bank account and much more.

Now that’s all well and good but what about security, can people hack into your bank account and take your money? Well although it is technically a possibility it’s also quite unlikely and you can make it even less likely by following these 6 tips for staying safe when doing your banking online.

1. Use two factor authentication if your bank offers it. Two factor authentication is when you have to provide two pieces of evidence (or factors) that you are the owner of the account you’re trying to log into. So the first factor would be your login password or pincode and then the second is usually a code generated either by a mobile app or a small device that some banks provide such as a PINsentry device that Barclays use.

2. Never give out passwords or pin numbers to your bank over the phone or by email. Banks will never ask you for this information, if you receive a call or email from your bank asking for this do not provide it as it’s likely a scammer impersonating your bank. If your bank does need to access your account for whatever reason they will have the tools to do so without having to ask you for your login information.

3. Don’t access sensitive accounts from insecure computers or networks. It is not advisable to log into your bank account on a computer that other people use such as a work computer or in a library. Try to access it when you’re at home on your own computer and internet connection.

4. Make a good password. Now there are various ways to make a strong and secure password but one trick I like to use when making a password for a particularly sensitive account such as a bank account is to think of a memorable sentence and use the first letter of each word as well as a couple of numbers. Just be careful to not use things like names of children and pets or birthdays for a pin code. If you write down your password make sure that you put it somewhere hidden and secure.

5. Use a trick security question. Some banks may ask you to provide an answer to a security question, remember that when you create the question the answer does not have to be true. For example if the question is “What is your mother’s maiden name” and her maiden name was lets say Smith, why not put it as something else entirely like Green or Johnson to throw off anyone trying to access your account who may have some information about you.

6. Set up notifications. If you’re using a mobile banking app many of them offer different options for receiving notifications to your phone when certain actions happen. Such as a large transaction or someone logging into your account. These will help you monitor what’s going on and you’ll be able to spot any discrepencies more easily.

If you follow this advice then your chances of running into problems with online banking will be extremely small. Your bank will take many precautions behind the scenes to protect you such as encrypting information and logging you out of your account after a certain time of inactivity. If something does happen to go wrong then call your bank immediately. Make sure you call them and not the other way round just so you’re certain you know who you’re talking to is a legitimate employee of the bank.

So all of this combined leads to a safe and convenient way to manage your money that millions of people across the UK are taking advantage of. You don’t have to do your banking online but if you do remember the advice in this article and keep your money secure. Thanks for reading.

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