Do you use Internet banking for your banking transactions such as paying bills and transferring money to other people? Internet banking is one of the useful tools of personal finance because it allows you to monitor and manage you bank account easily and conveniently wherever you are in anytime you want.
Almost all Philippine major banks have Internet banking these days since it is helpful also for them not only for their clients. In this post, the word “Internet banking” will be used interchangeably with “online banking”, “web banking”, and “net banking”.
Safety when using Internet banking should be your topmost priority when you use it online. Though banks have several ways on how to safeguard your financial and bank information, as a customer you must also do your part to protect your bank account from thieves and frauds.
So how can you be safe online when using Internet banking? Here are several tips that you must follow to guard your bank account against online thieves and identity theft.
1. Do Not Share or Disclose Your User name and Password
This tip is a no brainer. Your user name and password are the two information that you need to access your Internet banking account. If you don’t know either one of of the two, you cannot log in to your account. Therefore, other people cannot also access your account if they don’t know these information.
That’s why it is very important not to disclose and share your user name and password except to the people you trusted. Sometimes, it is also important to share it to your spouse just in case of emergency or accidental death.
In addition, as much as possible, do not write your user name and password in notebook, sheet of paper or notes. It should not be seen in your wallet, phone or other gadgets that can be lost.
What I am doing with my bank and financial user name and password is I put it in Google Docs so that I can retrieve it whenever I can’t remember it. I shared that document to my wife so she also knows that information.
2. Access Your Internet Banking Using Authentic Site
There are many phishing sites operating nowadays so that they can get the financial information of those people who use web banking. Phishing sites are almost the same as the authentic website.
They appear exactly same as what the true site looks. The only difference you will notice is the URL (uniform resource locator) or the web address. Please remember that no two website can have the same URL address.
Thus, you must check carefully the URL address of your Internet banking. I recommend that you bookmarked it so it is always saved in your web browser. Whenever you want to access your web banking account, just open your bookmark and click the saved Internet banking site to be sure.
Always ignore any email that commands you to click a link and telling you to log in you to your Internet banking. It is a phishing email! Normally, banks do not contact their customers via email and if they do, they will always address you using your name not the general “Dear Customer”.
Normally, all web banking websites are secure and generally, free from hacking. You will notice the “https” address on the URL, it means the site is in a secure address since the normal one has “http” only.
3. Update Your Web Browser to the Latest Version
Another tip on how to be safe online when using Internet banking is by updating your web browser to the latest version especially if it is related to security purposes. I would suggest you use Firefox or Google Chrome because these two are the most sophisticated in terms of web security and it’s free to download!
4. Do Not Use Public Computers when Logging in to Your Internet Banking Account
As much as possible, do not use public computers when accessing your Internet banking account, it is very dangerous to do so unless for emergency situations. Anyhow, if you will use public computers, just make sure the computer will not remember the password and you will delete the browsing history of the Internet browser.
If you have a smart phone, download an application of your Internet banking so that you can check you bank account even without computer. Most major banks these days have apps for mobile banking which can be a good alternative when checking your bank account.
5. Change Your Password Once in a Year or Regularly
As a good practice, it is recommended that you change your password regularly, maybe at least once in a year. Some Internet banking sites have mandatory change of passwords for security purposes.
In creating a new password, you should make a unique one composed of letters, numbers and symbols to make it a strong one and difficult to guess by other people. However you should make a password that you can easily remember so you don’t need it to write to your phone or any sheet of paper.
Your safety online while using your Internet banking account depends solely on you since it is all your control. Make sure that you safeguard your user name and password and do not disclose it to any people.
Updating your web browser and changing your password once in a year can help to prevent fraud and identity theft. Safe Internet banking should be your highest priority.
How do you make sure that you are safe online when using your Internet banking? Could you share some of your thoughts?