How we bank has changed
Banking used to be a personal experience. If we needed to get money out of our account, or deposit money into it, we would go to our bank, stand in line, and then interact with the bank teller. As things changed over time, we began to use banks in different ways.
First, we no longer had to go to the physical bank anymore. We could use ATMs to get money out of our account. Then we could simply use our debit cards to pay for our items, meaning we didn’t even have to carry cash anymore.
But now things have changed again. When we do need to interact with our bank, we do so online or via mobile apps on our phone. Now if you want to deposit money or check your balance, all you need to do is log on to do all of that.
In a nutshell, it’s much more convenient to bank online. We nlo longer even need to leave the house anymore to do all our banking.
How much do we rely on online banking, anyway?
What’s surprising, though, is how quickly and dramatically online banking has replaced our old banking behaviors.
The graphic below from the American Bankers Association shows just how much we are using online banking. Nearly three-quarters of us use online banking at least some of the time, and this is for nearly all age groups, from young to old.
Ways to stay safe when banking online
All the convenience of online banking comes with significant risks. Perhaps the biggest risk is that if we are logging into our bank account on our phones or computers via an open WiFi network, anyone on that network can see what we are doing, and even gain access to our bank account.
Here are some ways to stay safe when banking online:
- Keep your anti-virus software up to date – Make sure yours is up to date on both your computers and mobile devices.
- Use a bank that has industry-standard security – For example, make sure you have a bank that uses two-factor authentication. Many of the larger online banks adhere to this and other security standards, so it should be easy to find a bank that fits the bill.
- Change your banking passwords regularly – Use combinations that are difficult to guess, such as a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. The more complex the password, the harder it will be to crack and the more likely it will provide protection against hackers.
- Use a VPN like Private WiFi to fully protect all of your banking information – If you ever use a public WiFi network on your phone or computer, you can’t be totally sure who sees what you do online. The best way to protect yourself is to use a virtual private network, or VPN, like Private WiFi.
Private WiFi uses 256-bit encryption, the same technology used by your bank or your credit card company. But we use it to secure everything you send and receive—web traffic, emails, and access to your bank accounts.
Online banking is safer with a VPN because information is encrypted. Instead of connecting straight through the public Wi-Fi, the VPN allows access the internet through an encrypted “tunnel.” The VPN tunnel gives you the ability to use the internet with more freedom, privacy, and safety.
Even though a VPN will help protect privacy considerably, a VPN cannot guarantee that you won’t be hacked.