Creating an online account with your bank can make your life a lot easier. You can track your finances from wherever you are, instantly access balance information, transfer funds, and pay bills, all with a few simple clicks.
Plus, online banking allows you to be a bit greener and save room in your file folders with paperless monthly banking statements.
But as with most online interactions, it is not completely without risk. To mitigate, here are a few simple tips to help you safely manage your finances online.
Choose a Good Username and Password
Create a username that you’re not likely to forget but someone might have a hard time guessing. Avoid using your first or last name only.
For your password, the key is complexity. Use a combination of letters and numbers, but make sure it’s meaningful to you so you don’t forget it. Avoid passwords like 1234, password, or ABCD.
Check Your Browser Setting
Make sure you are on the secure version of your banking site, often marked by “https” in the link window (versus the more common “http”). The “s” indicates a secure connection has been established.
Check Your Account Every Day
By keeping account balances front of mind, you can not only prevent instances of overdrafts, but also make sure all the online activity in your accounts is approved.
If you still maintain a personal ledger via software or a checkbook, compare it to the one online. This allows you to closely monitor any unauthorized transactions.
Always Completely Log Off From Your Online Banking Session
Make sure you have logged off beyond just closing the online banking session window. You want to be completely signed out so that anyone who might use the computer after you won’t be able to access or manipulate the information you’ve left behind.
You can also clear the browser’s history before closing the window. Depending on your settings, this will completely wipe out the pages browsed, the cache, and any cookies that sites might have placed in your computer while you were using it.
Be Sure Your Firewall, Spyware and Virus Checkers Are All Up to Date
Every measure you can take to reinforce your computer against intruders of any kind will only help make your online banking experience a more secure one.