In an age of technological convenience, banking security is more important than ever. And while it might seem daunting to get up to speed on the issue, we're here to make it easy for you. Below are a few simple guidelines to take you from a banking novice to a security pro.
What is the FDIC?
The FDIC is the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, an independent federal agency that protects the funds of people who deposit money in US-based banks. The FDIC is backed by the US Government. Impressively, no depositor has lost so much as a penny of FDIC-insured funds since the agency was founded in 1933.
Is it important for my account to be FDIC insured?
Definitely. When looking for a bank, FDIC insurance is one of the most important things to take into account. FDIC status means that in case of a large-scale banking event or loss of information, your deposited funds are guaranteed up to $250,000 per bank (as assured by the US government). While these events are extremely unlikely, choosing a bank account that is FDIC insured means one less thing to worry about. It’s peace of mind you can count on.
Is it safe to disclose my account number? What can someone do with my bank details?
No, it isn’t safe. Always be careful when giving out your bank details to a third party. While it can be beneficial, like when receiving a direct deposit from your employer, in the wrong hands it can result in unauthorized withdrawals or even identity theft. Always ask yourself if you trust the institution that has requested your details and if it actually needs this information.
Is mobile banking riskier than traditional banking?
No. In fact, it can be more secure, not to mention more convenient. If you follow the best practices we’ve set out here you should be well on your way to worry-free banking on the go.
Is banking on a smartphone riskier than banking on other devices?
Not at all. In fact, banking on a smartphone can be more secure than banking on other devices, as it usually means operating within the safe confines of the bank’s app. These apps are developed to have far more built-in security measures than a browser, which can be undermined through phishing, data interception, and more.
How can I improve my online banking security?
There are a few ways to safeguard yourself against possible security risks:
Be wary of unsecured Wi-Fi. Though it may be convenient to sign in to free Wi-Fi when you’re on the go, it does come with various security risks, including data skimming from online traffic in your vicinity. Whether you’re using a computer or a phone to log in to your online bank account, always use a secure Wi-Fi connection. If secure Wi-Fi isn’t available and you need to log in to your account, consider switching to your phone’s mobile data plan before you do. Most networks have built-in security measures that unsecured Wi-Fi does not, including high-end data encryption and identity authentication through your mobile account.
Always use your bank’s official app. This will protect you from the many browser-based scams that seek to replicate your bank’s credentials and collect your user data.
Protect your devices. Protect all devices you use for online banking with passcodes that are reasonably complex. This includes lock screens for your computer and phone, and passwords for websites and applications.
Store passwords safely. Don’t store your passcodes in places where they can be accessed or viewed easily.
Practice good password hygiene. This means varying your passcodes across devices and websites, using letters, numbers, and symbols within your passwords, and changing them regularly.
Be aware of your surroundings. Never log in to your account if your login details are in plain view of onlookers.
What happens to my bank account if my phone is lost or stolen?
Take a deep breath. As long as you practice safe mobile banking – including using a lock screen with a passcode and not storing your banking details in an easily accessible location on your phone – you can rest assured that your banking details are most likely perfectly safe. Simply contact customer support using the number on the back of your bank card and your bank will take it from there. Your bank should be able to easily reset any of your login credentials remotely, leaving your banking information totally secure.
Where is the security code on a debit card?
This is a three-digit code on the back of your debit card, most often directly below the magnetic strip. This security code acts as an extra security measure when conducting business remotely. You’ll find it is usually required when ordering items online or conducting business over the phone. Keep in mind that like the rest of your banking information, this code is a piece of private banking data, so be careful when sharing it.
How often should I change my PIN?
On average, every 3 months. This is a surefire way to ensure that access to your most important banking features remains secure.
How do I know if an ATM is safe to use?
Keep an eye out for anything that looks like it has been added to the machine. An ATM should look well serviced and in good condition with all parts securely attached.
What does an ATM skimmer look like?
An ATM skimmer is a small card-reading device that sits over the slot on an ATM where you insert your card. It reads your card in the same way the ATM would, but transmits your details to a third party.
Always remember that banking on the go doesn’t have to be stressful. Your bank is there to help you. If you suspect anything is amiss with your account, simply contact the number on the back of your card for help.
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