So you want to know ‘Is online banking safe?’
A very straight answer is ‘yes’ online banking is safe as long as you know how to safely use it. And for your knowledge, even after any online hack or fraud, your money is still safe. How? Let’s know.
As per rules and regulations of most banking regulatory authorities such as Reserve Bank of India, Federal Reserve System, or Bank of England, if customer of the bank informs about an unauthorized transaction within specified time limit say 3 days then bank has to reimburse the loss to the customer without demur.
If it seems complicated then don’t worry I’m going to take you through now. After reading this post, you’ll be educated enough on following topic ‘Is online banking safe?’
What are you going to read next:
- Bank’s website can be hacked
- Is Online Banking safe? Not really for banks but certainly online banking is safe for customers
- Online banking safety tips that you’re supposed to take care of to keep your internet banking account safe.
What are the benefits of online banking?
There are enormous benefits of online banking. I’m listing few of them:
- As of now, there are about 1.3 billion active online banking users worldwide. And according to analysts, by 2020, 40 percent of global adult population will be using online banking services.
- Modern banking has been changing the way we bank. Now, we can perform all activities pertaining to banking without visiting our bank branch.
- Over the years, banks have introduced many online banking solutions to enhance customer experience. Online banking is a convenient way to perform banking activities right from your home or office.
- In traditional banking, you’ve to stand in long unending queues to perform any banking activity. But now your accounts are right at your fingertips with online banking.
- Whether it’s bill payment, account enquiry, fund transfer, or cancellation of check, you can perform almost all banking activities with this fabulous service.
Your bank’s website can be hacked
According to reports, by average banks suffer more than 100 critical cyber attacks a year and about one-third of attackers get success. These are serious attacks and you would never know how many less-threatening a bank foils in a day.
Hackers work day and night to manipulate a bank’s security code and out of 100 attempts bank has to foil all. But on the other hand, out of 100 attempts, attackers need only one time success. Cyber criminals use ‘living off the land‘, smishing and phishing email tactics to compromise networks of the potential victims.
Though modern advancements in the technology helping banks make their website very secure for their customers but threats are always there.
No matter how threatening these attacks are, customers’ money is always safe with the bank. How? Let’s know.
Is Online Banking Safe?
Next let’s discuss, despite these security and hack attacks ‘Why is online banking still safe for customers?’
Online banking is safe for customers
Internet banking is a safe and secure service. Banks take all possible measures to maintain confidentiality and security of customers’ accounts for example making websites encrypted, automatic logout; if customer leaves computer unattended for sometime.
Though, this service is highly secure but some people still hesitate to use it. It’s a common phobia among majority of people (who do not use such services) that online banking is not safe and prone to many types of risks. We’ve discussed advantages of using online banking service in a separate post.
It’s indeed that internet banking does come with certain risks but such risks are also associated with other banking methods for example you’ve to follow certain safety tips while you use your ATM-cum-Debit card on ATMs, for shopping online, and while swiping your card.
128-bit and 256 bit Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryptions are the most secure forms of encryption. These are being used by banks and online shopping websites to build a secure connection between customers’ computers and their websites.
Banks implement highest level of security to protect financial information of their customers. However, customer’s participation is also required to ensure confidentiality and security of his/her financial information.
As discussed in the beginning, if you become a victim of an online fraud or a hack then your money is still safe. All you’ve to do is just inform your bank about the loss and done. You’ve completed your job.
Now, it’s your bank’s duty to reimburse the loss. Bank cannot deny that. If it does so then you can approach other redressal agencies such as consumer dispute forum.
Here you’d know that if you yourself send money to someone or share your login credentials then in that case your bank may deny your claim.
So final words for question, “Is online banking safe?” are a big ‘Yes, it’s safe as long as you know how to use it.” There is no rocket science. Simple rules are:
- Don’t use public computers to access your online banking account.
- Don’t use public Wi-Fi or internet connections.
- Never share your passwords with anyone.
- Keep your computer free from malwares.
- Inform your bank about the loss within the time frame.
Now, you know online banking is safe. As I discussed above you need take care of some important things while logging to your account, so now let’s see what exactly those things are.
I’m going to share with you some important online banking safety tips that you should follow while accessing your online account. By following these simple but very effective online banking tips, you can secure your online banking account like a pro.
Also, all banks advise their customers to take these online banking security measures while accessing online banking services.
Online banking safety tips
For safe internet banking, you’d always pay attention to following online banking safety tips.
1. Visit website by directly typing the address
Most of us use search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing etc. to open an internet banking website. Search engines show results on the basis of your search keywords. Therefore, it might be possible that you accidentally click on a fraudulent website link (such websites almost look like financial institutions official websites) that may steal your financial information.
And also never click on email links to open an internet banking website; because spammers use such tricky tricks to steal customer’s login details. It’s always a safe bet to login by directly typing the URL of your bank’s online banking website in the address bar of your browser.
This way you can ensure you’re landing on official website of the bank.
2. Make sure page is secure and starts with ‘https’
Banks use Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (https) for transmitting information between clients’ computers and their servers. It’s an encrypted connection which allows secure data transfer. This security layer doesn’t let third person to see any information being exchanged between client and bank’s server.
Therefore, always see ‘https’ in the URL address. If you’re unable to see ‘https’ on the login page then avoid login and don’t enter any confidential data. Ask your bank’s representative, ‘Should you use that website or not?’
Note: Your bank’s official website may start with ‘http’ but when you’re redirected to internet banking login page then it converts into ‘https’.
3. Stay private
To safeguard your personal or financial information, always use your own personal computer or smartphone to access your accounts. For the sake of your online banking safety, do not access your online banking account using a public computer or WiFi such as cyber cafe or shared computers.
Chances of online fraud are more at such places. Also, never use shared WiFi connections to login. If you necessarily need to login from cybercafe or shared computer then use browser’s ‘incognito mode‘ in which browser does not save browsing history and other data.
Always use virtual keyboard; it reduces the risk of password theft.
4. Change password regularly
If you want to keep your online banking safe, make a habit to change your internet banking password after every 45-60 days. Create a strong password by using uppercase and lowercase alphabets, numbers and special characters’ combination.
Your password should be unique (do not use same password for other websites) and difficult for others to guess; avoid using names, date of births, telephone numbers, vehicle registration numbers etc, to create passwords.
5. Don’t respond to emails
Mark this word into your mind ‘NO‘.
Whenever you see an email asking you to login or perform other activity that requires your confidential information then the word ‘NO‘ should promptly pop-up in your mind.
Do not login by clicking on an email link. For your kind information, your bank never asks you to verify your login details.
Therefore, it would be good for you to stay away from such emails or calls. Never respond to such emails and do not download any type of attached file.
Sometimes, attackers send emails alerts that triggers our impulsive action behavior for example ‘$100 has been deducted from your account.’ If you receive such emails then don’t respond to them instead login to your account and verify the details.
6. Use virtual keyboard
You might have heard about ‘Keyword Tracking Software’. Such software allow users to track all key presses on a computer. These software record all key presses including special function keys.
Some people may misuse this kind of software. If you’ve installed a pirated software onto your computer then you’re simply putting your personal and financial information at risk.
Some pirated programs use malicious spyware or Trojan programs to steal your online banking passwords and login details.
It is also recommended by banks that use their software based keyboard (virtual keyboard) to login. Always use virtual keyboard shown on the screen to enter user ID and password; especially when you’re logging in from internet cafes or shared computers (BTW, you should never do that).
Virtual keyboards show random letters and numbers therefore ‘keyloggers’ will not be able to track your key presses.
All internet banking websites are equipped with virtual keyboard facility; so always use software based keyboard to enter login details. This way you can ensure your online banking is secure.
7. Monitor account regularly
Regularly, monitor your account to discover any discrepancies. After every transaction, login and check for amount deductions; if you find any unauthorized transaction, then immediately inform your bank.
Whenever your login, first see last login date and time, if you notice any suspicious activity then take a prompt action to protect your account.
Set-up account notifications through SMS (Bank sends you a confirmation message after every transaction) and make a habit to track account activities like last login details, last transaction details etc.
8. Keep your computer up-to-date
It does not matter for what purpose you use a computer you should have an antivirus to protect your machine from malware attacks.
As of now, security programs are immensely important for computers because in our day to day life we access many websites and who knows which one is going to harm our computer.
Always use a paid version of antivirus program because free antivirus programs give you limited security. BTW if you can’t afford paid one then keep your computer’s inbuilt anti-virus e.g. Windows Security Program, up-to-date and scan your computer regularly. These programs protect your computer against malware attacks and keyword tracking software.
Make sure your antivirus program is up-to-date and also use an updated version of internet browser. Avoid use of pirated software.
Microsoft Safety Scanner is a very effective tool to clean your PC from malwares.
9. Use phone’s secure space to install banking apps
Majority of us use mobile phones for our all online activities. It’s obvious we access our online banking accounts through mobile too. If you do so. Then use your phone’s secure space to install your banking apps.
Almost all smartphones offer secure work space to their users for example in Samsung phones you can find ‘Secure Folder’ option. That lets you create a secure and isolated work space where you can save your important documents and install apps.
If you have installed mobile banking app to your phone’s secure space. Click here to know more.
10. Don’t share user ID and password
Obviously, you’re not going to do that. But it’s worth mentioning.
Never ever disclose your online banking user ID and password to someone. Never write user ID and password on a paper, just remember it.
However, if you’re absentminded then you can write a hint for yourself.
11. Enable account notifications
Nowadays, all banks automatically send confirmation messages of credits and debits to customers. If you’re not getting such messages then visit your home bank branch and activate account notifications.
Such notifications help you detect any unauthorized activity. Your contact information like phone number, should be updated with your bank.
12. Forget to login but don’t forget to log out
How can you forget to login? I’m insane! Just for you I’ve created this line ‘Forget to login but don’t forget to log out’.
Do not forget to log out from your internet banking session. It’s very crucial for your online banking safety. If you leave your computer unattended for some time then you’ll be automatically logged out, even though, you’ve not opted for log out. But never do so.
Simply opt log out when you no longer want to use internet banking. Clear browser history and cache every time after the end of the online session or use ‘incognito mode’.
It doesn’t take too much time. Just press Ctrl + H and you’ll be redirected to your browser history page. Alternatively, you can also press Ctrl + Shift + H keys.
Follow above mentioned security measures to use online banking safely.
And don’t forget your money is always safe.
Did you find this “Is online banking safe?” post helpful? Do let me know your valuable feedback encourages me to come up with more similar topics and tips.