Password safety for online banking

Posted on 22 October 2009

Passwords, they're the first line of defence in protecting your online bank accounts from unauthorised access. But as important as they are, passwords are often given lax treatment by the average internet user, putting online bank accounts at risk!

Keep your accounts safe - follow these key password tips for an enhanced level of security:

Choose a secure password

Insecure passwords are the easiest way for baddies to access your accounts!

  • Try to use a combination of lower- and upper-case letters, numbers, and special characters like ! # or *
  • Ensure your password is at least 6 characters long, ideally it should be over 8 characters long

* Don't use your spouse's name or child's birthday! These things are just too easy to work out.

Change your password regularly

Ok, not so regularly that you're always forgetting your current password... But at least try to change your password once every couple of months.

Why? Hackers can try to break into your account by using automatic scripts that try out many combinations of passwords. Banks have systems in place to try and minimise this, but the longer you leave your password unchanged, the higher the possibility that your account is compromised. Also, if you've used the same password for your other online activities (don't!) then there's also a chance that once of those less-secure systems gets hacked, giving the bad guys the ideal starting point in trying to break into your internet bank accounts.

Don't use the same password as you use on other websites

Yes we know, you have so many online identities these days that it's inpractical to have a separate password for each one. But your online bank accounts aren't just any old site - they hold your money and deserve better protection than say your blog or facebook page (maybe some of you will argue otherwise...)

Even if you do share passwords between different online accounts, at least ensure that your internet banking accounts are protected with a distinct, secure password!

Don't save passwords in your internet browser

Modern internet browsers have plenty of tools and nice features to aid you in your web browsing. One of these features is the ability to "remember passwords". What a great feature - you'll no longer have to worry about remembering all of those pesky passwords! Wrong! Please don't let your browser remember the password to your internet banking account - it's just way too insecure. In fact it's sort of like having the ATM remember the PIN to your cash card...

Don't save passwords in email or on your computer

We know that it's hard to remember all of your passwords but online banking passwords deserve special treatment. All it takes is one little virus or security breach and your password could be exposed to the world.

If you just can't remember your online banking password then write it down - not on your computer, but on a piece of paper - and keep that piece of paper somewhere safe away from the computer and away from prying eyes!