Online banking makes it easier to manage your business’s funds by giving you access to your funds wherever you have access to your computer or mobile device. Due largely to their convenience, online and mobile banking are the two most popular ways to bank. As of 2023, a significant majority of consumers (71 percent) prefer to manage their bank accounts online.
Those who don’t use online banking often cite the security of online banking as their primary concern. However, there are several things you can do to protect your information when banking online. To help you feel more secure in your online banking experience, here are some safety tips.
Choose strong passwords
The first line of defense for your online banking account is your password. In order to keep your account better protected, you should make sure you’re using strong passwords that are unique and difficult to guess.
Some common mistakes that people make when creating passwords are choosing passwords that are too common or short, repeating the same password for multiple logins, and not updating passwords regularly. All of these things might make it easier for you to remember your passwords, but they also make it easier for hackers to figure them out.
To create a stronger password for your account, keep the following tips in mind:
- Use a longer password. Rather than using a single word, consider using a longer phrase.
- Have your password use a mix of lowercase and uppercase letters to add extra variety.
- Make sure to include numbers and special characters, such as exclamation marks or percent symbols.
- Try to avoid using personal information that would be easy for hackers to guess, such as your name or your birthday.
- Avoid common sequences, such as “12345”
- Update your password regularly. It’s recommended that passwords are changed every three to six months.
For an added layer of security, you should avoid writing your passwords down in an easily accessible place, such as on the back of debit cards or on a notepad beside your desk. Password managers can help to store your passwords more securely, allowing you to make longer and more complicated passwords without having to remember them on your own.
Enable two-factor authentication
Along with your password, some online accounts may offer a two-factor authentication system. Two-factor authentication goes beyond the traditional username and password by requiring you to provide a combination of two authenticators, such as a one-time code and an account password. Unless you provide both authenticators, you will not be able to establish your identity and receive access to the account or service. This extra layer of security helps to prove your identity when logging into your account, making it harder for hackers to manipulate their way in to access your funds.
Avoid using public wifi
Public wifi is convenient when you need to stay connected on the go, but it’s not always safe to use. One of the biggest risks associated with using public wifi is that it can be unsecured and vulnerable to attack. Hackers can use this vulnerability to steal your personal information or install malicious software on your devices without you knowing. A study done by Forbes found that 40% of people have had their information compromised while using public wifi.
If you need to access your online banking or mobile banking while using a public wifi, here are some ways to make sure you’re staying secure:
- Disable public file sharing. Any information you share while using public wifi is susceptible to malware attacks.
- Only use sites that are secure. You can tell if a site is secure if a lock symbol appears on the top of your browser, or if “https” is included in the site’s URL. The firewall on your device may automatically flag unsafe sites for you.
- Use a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN creates a private network that only you can access, which helps to protect your data while you’re online. You install and activate a VPN on your mobile device or laptop by using a VPN service.
Be aware of phishing scams
One of the most common ways for hackers to get your information when banking online is through phishing scams. ‘Phishing’ is when criminals use scam emails, text messages, or phone calls to trick you into visiting a website. If you go to these sites, scammers are able to download viruses onto your device and steal your passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. This information can give them access to your bank account.
You can protect yourself from phishing scams by following these three simple steps:
- Recognize: Look out for common signs of phishing. These include: poor grammar or misspelled words, requests for personal information, urgent language, incorrect email addresses or links (ex: amazan.com).
- Resist: If you suspect a message you’ve received may be phishing, resist the temptation to click on any links or attachments. Instead report the activity in order to protect yourself and others.
- Delete: Delete the message. Don’t reply or click on an “unsubscribe” link.
If you think you clicked on a link or opened an attachment that downloaded harmful software, update your computer’s security software. Once your software has been updated, run a scan and remove anything it identifies as a problem. If you believe your information has been successfully stolen, you can report the activity to the Federal Trade Commission.
Choose a bank that you can trust
The best way to ensure that you are staying safe when online banking is by banking with a service that you can trust. When banking with Grasshopper, you can feel safe in every step of the banking process, starting at onboarding. When you apply for a business banking account with Grasshopper, our team takes extra security measures when needed to validate your identity and your business.
Grasshopper also offers other security features, such as FDIC insurance, fraud monitoring, bank level encryption, and more. All of these features work together to help to bring your business a safe banking experience.
By Michaela Lenahan in Digital Security