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Online and mobile banking allows us to manage our money without having to step foot in a bank. The banking industry has evolved significantly over the past decade. With the prevalence of smartphones, online banking is becoming the primary way people are managing their finances.
While it may be a little scary to start banking online, it can simplify your life. If you can connect to the Internet, you can take care of almost all your banking needs from anywhere at any time of day or night.
Mobile Banking Benefits
There are a ton of benefits to online banking, and here are the top three:
With e-statements, you don’t have to wait until you receive your monthly report in the mail to check your balance, checks cleared, etc. If you have a question about your account, the information is at your fingertips.
Also, receiving your statements electronically is more friendly to the environment. You can download them and save them on your computer or smartphone if you choose, or just know that they are accessible for several years by logging into your account.
Automated Bill Payments
Almost all your bill payment can now be set up as automatic; everything from your mortgage, car, utilities, and insurance.
Once you set-up the automated payments, you don’t have to even think about them. Payment is sent on the same day at the scheduled time frame (i.e., once a month, or every month on the 20th).
Mobile Check Deposits
No more having to drive to your local bank branch or an ATM to deposit a check! You can do it from anywhere by just snapping a photo of the front and back of a check.
Other benefits of using online banking (depending on your bank) are creating and managing your budget, setting up travel notifications, so there aren’t issues with credit cards when on vacation, and sending money to anyone you know with a couple of taps.
Is Mobile Banking Safe?
The online banking industry has a good track record, but there are always risks. The same way brick and mortar banks have safeguards in place to maintain security, so do their online counterparts.
Banks typically use 128-bit encryption or higher to protect your information. Encryption scrambles the data, making it more secure. When you’re online, check the web address of every website you are to log into, looking for https:// and the padlock before typing in your username and password.
Your bank is continuously monitoring your accounts for fraud. If they detect something they deem suspicious, you will be notified via text, email, or phone.
Be careful with scam email that may be masquerading as coming from your bank. Your bank will send notifications about something happening with your account or actions that are taken. It will not send you an email seeking private information, or to click on a link.
Many financial institutions require you to use two-step authentication to provide an additional layer of security. Either you can use an authenticator app or receive a text message with a code when you log in to your account. Two-factor authentication ensures that it’s you attempting to log in to your account.
While two-step authentication is the latest trend, some banks may use security questions, such as, “What is the name of your first pet?” Make sure the answers to these are not commonly known or easy for others to guess.
You Are Responsible for Your Online Security
When it comes to online safety, technology isn’t the problem. It is the people misusing the technology that leads to the issues.
Don’t just rely on the banks to keep your accounts safe, be proactive and educate yourself on online security best practices, such as:
- Activate two-factor authentication.
- Avoid public Wi-Fi unless you are using a secure VPN connection.
- Use complex passwords. “Complex” means a random string of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols that is at least 12 characters.
- Use unique passwords for every account you have (this is where a password manager comes in handy).
- Don’t click on links in emails.
- Keep your devices updated.
- Secure your phone/computer/tablet with an 8-12-digit passcode or complex password.
Online banking gives you the freedom to manage your money wherever you are. If you take some simple security steps, you can rest assured your funds are safe.
(This article was originally posted on Sixty and Me)