Online banking safety tips

Posted on 22 October 2009

It's your bank's responsibility to keep their online banking system safe and secure but it's your responsibility to protect and access your online accounts in a secure manner.

Here are some essential online banking safety tips:

Keep those passwords strong and safe!

Secure passwords are such an important aspect of internet banking that we've written a special section about them: Password safety tips for online banking.

Never click links in "banking" emails

It's not uncommon to receive emails purporting to be from your bank

Banks sometimes do send out legitimate emails but the best approach is to be cautious - play it safe and treat all banking emails as suspicious.

The best way to access your online bank accounts is to always access online banking by entering the web address directly into the web browser, and check what you're typing!

Always check the url of the site you are accessing

Some bad sites try to disguise themselves as the real site - and some of them do a very good job of it. These phishing sites as they're called generally aim to capture your login credentials or personal details so that bad guys can log in to your account.

As mentioned above, always be sure that you're accessing the website that you think you are - i.e. check that the web address is that of your real online bank account.

Ensure you have anti-virus and firewall software installed

If you don't know what these things are, then find out now or get some help!

If viruses and other malicious software are able to access your computer then they can do all manner of evil things like capturing your password, or installing key-tapper software that records everything you type into your computer, including new passwords whenever you change them. Take a pro-active role in preventing such software from making it onto your computer.

It's not enough to have anti virus software installed, you also need to ensure that it's up-to-date!

Avoid using online banking in internet cafes

When you're using a public computer you have no way of knowing what software is installed - the PC could be riddled with viruses and other bad stuff as mentioned above.

Keep your online bank accounts safe and avoid accessing them from public computers wherever possible. If you're going travelling then consider having multiple bank accounts (with multiple banks) and use only one of them when on the road - keep a low balance in it without any overdraft facility and set up an automatic payment from your other "secure" account to your travelling account to top up your funds each week.

Avoid online banking in public-access wifi-spots

The similar thing applies here as to using internet cafes - though your computer may be safe, the information sent over the public wi-fi network could be intercepted and used to break into your account. There's a lower chance of this happening for encrypted networks, but remain cautious if you don't trust the network (change your password as soon as you get home!)

Follow general security precautions

  • don't tell people your password
  • don't write your password down (or if you do, don't keep it by your computer)
  • don't leave your computer unattended at work while logged in to internet banking
  • I think you get the drift...

This is list is not exhaustive! Take care in your online activities and play your part in keeping your online bank accounts secure.