Banking core services mainly revolve around the acceptance of deposits and the provisions loans to clients and customers alike. Banking has a history spanning over 2000 years and has evolved over these years to what it is today, a highly organized and sophisticated collection of financial institutions accepting deposits and providing loan facilities. In its early days, record keeping was cumbersome as several physical records had to be maintained for clients and customers alike. The physical filing system made the banking process slow and tedious; however, with the introduction of personal computers in the 80s’ and 90s’, the banking process became easier and seamless.
The introduction of the internet in the 90s’ gave the banking sector a significant boost, as it allowed banks share valuable financial records with their branches and other banks in real time, as well as letting customers carry out financial transactions with their respective financial institutions remotely. Banking from the comfort of your home comes with its attendant gains. However, threats from fraudsters and other malicious agents are trying to overshadow the overall objective of its development. To mitigate these challenges, these are 6 Do’s and don’ts of online banking:
1. Inculcate the habit of using a secure password
Most online banking accounts, if not all of them, require a password to gain access to its features and functionalities. Your online banking password should be your first line of defense against online fraudsters and scammers. Always try as much as possible to protect your online account using a strong, secure password. A strong password should include a combination at least 8 to 10 alphanumeric characters. You can also consolidate your password strength by adding a special character in its combination e.g. asterisk, plus sign, Dollar symbol, etc.
2. Ensure It’s your bank’s site before given away your online credentials
Online fraudsters and scammers are getting smarter and more sophisticated by the day and are deploying highly sophisticated means and technologies to steal legitimate customers online banking credentials. One of such malicious ways is by cloning legitimate banking sites. These fake banking sites look like real, genuine banking sites but are created for the sole purpose of phishing customer online banking credentials. Most official banking sites are secured, and you’ll find the “https” (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secured” sign in their address bar. Most unsecured sites only use HTTP in their address bar.
3. Scan email attachments
Banks, from time to time, send emails to their clients and customers, intimating them about recent banking developments and services. Sometimes, these emails come along with some attachments that help to educate customers on these developments. However, malicious agents and fraudsters now send emails that look very much like those sent by banks, with attachments that include malicious programs such as malware and spyware. Once installed on your PC, these malicious programs spy on your activities and send out your online banking credentials to their developers, who would then use it to carry out illegal banking transactions on the accounts of unsuspecting customers. Make sure you scan email attachments using a good antivirus, especially those from banks before opening it.
4. Don’t give your online banking details to anyone
Most unsuspecting customers trust easily and are quick to give out financial details, especially when they are in need of online banking assistance or technical help. On no occasion should you give out sensitive financial information such as CVV, tokens or other online banking details to anyone, not even your bank staff, so as to avoid falling into the trap of fraudsters. Your bank will never call or send emails asking for such personal financial information from you.
5. Avoid Password Reminders like plague
Yes, we know how cumbersome it is to enter those long, complicated financial credentials each time you want to make banking transactions online. Nowadays browsers now come with the ability to save online credentials for each and every site you visit and register with, so as to allow for a stress-free access to your online account. While this feature may afford you some convenience, it can also be used by fraudsters to gain unrestricted access to your bank accounts, especially if your computer falls into wrong hands.
6. Avoid jotting down your online banking credentials
Many bank customers are guilty of this mistake. Many of them of them operate multiple bank accounts in different banks, making them prone to mixing up their online banking credentials. So, many customers now jot down these online banking credentials in a jotter to allow for speedy access to their bank accounts and easy remembrance. While this procedure may come with some benefits, it also has the potential to grant unrestricted online banking access to fraudsters, especially when such jotters get into wrong hands. Try as much as possible to restrict your online banking activities to a few banks, so as to make it easy for you to remember your online banking details.
Online banking gives people the ability to facilitate and process financial transactions remotely. The convenience online banking affords customers cannot be quantified easily. Just as it comes with lots of benefits and potentials, it also comes with its fair share of risks that can potentially wreck you financially if not properly managed. Adequate care should be taken into consideration when transacting online, as well as maintaining financial credentials, so as to avoid the pitfalls of online banking.