Top 5 Online Banking Safety Tips

banking tips

Online banking has reached the point where it is almost as common place as getting in the car and going to the physical bank. With online banking, you can deposit checks, check account balances and even make transfers. Not only that, but some banks allow you to download an application for your computer and smartphone that will give you alerts when you have made big purchases, when automatic payments have been made and even when your account balance is too low. These alerts are great, because it can reduce bank fees and other overdraft protection costs. However, one of the biggest downsides of online banking is that you have to take bigger measures to protect yourself from piracy and theft. Here are the top five online banking safety tips.

  1. Never click on anything you don’t trust. Many hackers use a method called phishing to gather passwords and usernames for bank accounts. Basically, when you click on a link, you might be brought to a separate page where you will be asked for your user name and password. What happens is that nothing happens when you do enter the information, but now your protected information is in the hands of hackers who might use that information to steal money or they might sell the information to a third party.
  2. Always look at the URL. Sometimes you can get brought to the wrong URL. This is another phishing strategy. What happens is that you type in the address, but what you actually get is a mirrored site. Basically, the site looks identical to your online banking site. In order to avoid this, make sure to always pay attention to the url. If there is an extra letter or if there is a suspicious domain extension, you should probably click elsewhere.
  3. Never bank on a public computer or on a public network. If you are at a cafe or a library that doesn’t require a passcode, there is a good chance that the network is not protected. If you want to avoid getting your account hacked into, you never want to bank or share passwords over an unprotected network. You can usually detect an unprotected network by whether or not there is a little lock symbol next to the network name. If there isn’t, it would be smart to wait to do your online banking.
  4. If you do bank on a public network, always sign out and then refresh the browser. When it comes to banking on a public network, it isn’t always the hacker that can access your information, it is also people who go on the computer after you. So, if you want to protect your information, be sure to erase the history and refresh the browser, especially if you are at an Internet café or library.
  5. Always make sure to deposit checks safely. Even if you use for all your checkbooks, it is important to make deposits with safety in mind. Even though you can deposit checks using your smart phone, you can still open the risk for theft. So, staying cautious is your best bet.


When to Leave Your Bank?


Banks are simply companies with whom you do business. You know this, but how often do you think of changing banks because of the service you receive? Switching banks is viewed as a hassle, but it would be in the be interest of some customers to move their personal or business accounts elsewhere. Here are some tips to help you know when to leave your bank.


Banks claim the low interest rates are killing their profit margin, and they probably are. So to make up the difference many are adding fees. It’s not unlike the airline industry that began to charge to check luggage or eat a meal. When profits suffer, the customers end up paying more for what they once got for free. And because interest rates are lower, you end up paying the bank to keep your money!

You pay to keep your money there (annual and/or monthly service fees), to withdraw your money (ATM fees), for transferring your money from one account to another too often, and for not keeping “x” amount of dollars in your account. Some banks even charge you a fee for overdraft protection. It’s like they’re holding your money hostage. Maybe the hillbillies who shove their income into a mattress are on to something.

Not only do some banks charge you an annual fee just to have a checking account, they want to charge you a fee for using the debit card associated with that account. They double-dip with credit cards, too, wanting an annual fee plus astronomical interest rates on unpaid balances. Your account balance gets chiseled away gradually, and it’s just “policy.” And they wonder why they have a difficult time with debt collection

Put a pen and paper to it. How much do you spend each year to do business with your bank? Is there another bank that would be less expensive?

Relationship with your banker

If this subheading makes you chuckle and wonder if that is a possibility for anyone with less money than Donald Trump, then it might be time to change banks. A corporate banker should accompany a corporate account. The previous section was a reminder that you are paying the bank to work for you, so it only makes sense to expect a banker who at the very least knows your name (or your business name).

In the classic movie It’s a Wonderful Life, when there is a rush on the Bailey Savings and Loan, George was able to talk his panicked customers down because he knew their stories and they trusted him. While, clearly, times have changed and life is not as simple as old Hollywood movies would make it appear, your banker should acknowledge that you and your business are more than a number, more than a notch in their sales belt and more than someone from whom they squeeze profits a nickel and dime at a time.

Your banker should be able to help you strategize for future business growth, provide debt recovery advice and look out for your best banking interest. If that’s not the case, find one that does.

Tiffany Marshall is a freelance writer who writes for Direct Recovery, a professional debt recovery agency, but her brother is a corporate banker at a bank that will remain unnamed because the service and track record will speak for itself.