Making sure online banking transactions are safe is mostly a matter of common sense and keeping your passwords secure.
In the 5 years I have been doing my banking online, there have been very few problems.
Here is how the FDIC suggests keeping your transactions with online banks safe:
1. Read key information in the ABOUT page of the bank’s website
Which means, make sure they have a toll free number to resolve internet issues. Also, call the number and see what your impression is before you make any moves to buy their services.
2. Check the FDIC’s online list of approved banks
If the bank is approved by the FDIC, the first $250,000 on deposit is insured by the US government. That is a necessary seal of approval the bank should have before you should even think further about doing business with them.
3. Beware of fraudulent websites
There are a number of fake bank websites set up to grab your personal information (phishing scams). They name the sites something very similar to those of legitimate banks.
The look and feel of the site will be very similar to the real site and many people will inadvertently enter their information.
As you know, access to your bank account is only allowed if you have a valid PIN#.
The safety of your online banking experience will depend on intelligently choosing one.
When selecting your online banking PIN numbers, follow these rules:
Pick a word you will remember. Then, create your PIN from the letter number place in the alphabet.
Definitely don’t pick your birthday, but this is a great way to pick a memorable PIN.
Set up a fictitious friend in your cell phone and store your PIN numbers there
Needless to say, don’t ever store your passwords and PINs in a file named, “passwords”…instead, setup a dummy name in your cell phone and just store them there.
The longer the better
At least 8 characters – made up of upper and lower case letters and numbers, with a symbol at the end.
Keep your password written down somewhere only you know. Just like using a backup storage company to make your data safe, this means your money will be accessible when you need it.
In closing, also keep in mind, the internet is a VERY public place. Banks are a source of focus for internet thieves because, as Willie Sutton said, “that’s where the money is”.
So, you have to do a bit more homework on the front end and make your password airtight.