Follow these simple steps to make the most of your online banking facilities.
From 24-hour access to your account, anytime fund transfers and bill payments, it's no surprise that over 50% of Indians prefer online banking to traditional banking. But, if you’re not careful, banking from the comfort of your living room opens you up to several security risks that can be avoided if you are very, very careful. Here are 10 practical online-banking security tips that will help you have a safer online banking experience.
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1. Create strong passwords & change them regularly
The very first rule of safe banking comes down to simply creating a strong password and changing it on a regular basis. Always use random strings of lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols when allowed to create a strong password. Be safe and never use anything personal - no birthdays, pets names or favourite foods.
2. Monitor your accounts
It might seem like a simple enough thing, but avoiding online fraud also means doing your bit by checking your bank statements every month and contacting them if you notice any suspicious charges, credits or debits.
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3. Use a secure location / sites / network when banking online
Free and public Wi-Fi networks are often not encrypted which makes you an easy target for hackers to steal your personal information. Ideally, leave all your financial workings for when you’re on a secure network at home and when possible use a dedicated browser for banking. But, if you’re in a pinch, find a private spot and use your smartphone data hotspot to transact.
Another thing to watch out for is making sure your bank’s website has the lock symbol in the web address bar and begins with ‘https’. This means that the site is definitely encrypted and all data is converted into unreadable gibberish before it is sent - thus keeping your private information safe.
4. Use Banking Notifications
Most banks provide customers with text and email alerts for various purposes. It ranges from getting a notification when there is a transaction over a certain amount, when your balance dips below a certain amount and more. Use these notifications to alert you every time your account is accessed. Always keep your banks assistance numbers handy, in case you see a transaction you didn’t initiate and need to stop it immediately.
5. Always Log Out
Avoid falling prey to session hijacking and cross-site scripting exploits by always logging out of your online banking session when you’re done. Computer or cell phone, you can add another layer of protection by using a private browser that clears its cache at the end of every session.
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6. Enable multi-factor authentication
You can prevent identity theft and all its many complications by simply using an extra layer of security also called multi-factor authentication. Many banks natively offer two-factor authentication where, whenever you try and log in, the bank sends you a text message or email with a unique verification code to be input on the bank's website along with your username and password.
7. Beware of email scams
No bank worth its salt would ever ask you to share sensitive, personal information or account details over email or a text message. Whenever a complaint is raised, the bank will always ask contact you personally and verify it is you by asking for your account number and personal questions around information you’ve summitted earlier.
Phishing scams are just one kind of fraud that asks for your bank details so that they can deposit millions as a prize you’ve just won or as incentive to help someone in need. Ideally NEVER respond to any of these emails. But, if you want confirmation on what to do next, contact your bank using the official numbers /email addresses from your bank's website or via their other authentic handles and authorised channels.
8. Use antivirus software
One of the simplest things you can do to safeguard your personal information is to set up, run and regularly update anti-virus software that will screen everything from your emails and browsers to even your pop-up ads.
9. Update your operating systems
Software updates can feel a bit tiresome but they often include necessary security upgrades that prevent infection by newer computer malware. Never skip suggested updates and always try and install the latest edition of your operating system to ensure your data is safe.
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10. Only Use Official Banking Apps
Much like the original Trojan horse, vicious malware can sneak in and cause some serious damage if unintentionally download it. The good news is that your bank's encrypted mobile app is probably the most secure place you can transact. Just don’t forget to install updates with latest security features and only use apps from known / authorised sources like the Google Play Store or itunes.
As technology develops and gets ever savvier, so do the risks you face online. By staying vigilant and following the tips above, you can ensure you have safe and easy Internet-banking experience. Safe banking!
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This content has been created in association with YONO SBI