As a child, you might have used a piggy bank to save your allowance and birthday money. While a piggy bank offers convenient access, the tradeoff is security. As you’ve gotten older, storing your assets securely has become more of a priority. In 2022, U.S. consumers incurred $2.3 billion of losses due to imposter scams.
But with so many ways to store your money available, how can you determine the most secure? Take a look at how you can get the best secure banking and financial services for storing your money, key features to look for and tips on safeguarding your account.
What to Look for in Online Banks or Financial Apps
Consider the following features when selecting a secure bank account or financial app:
Multi Factor Authentication
Multifactor authentication is a security process that requires more than just your username and password to access your account. Many apps ask for your phone number so they can send a verification code to secure a login. You can confirm your identity with either a one-time code on your phone, a code generated on software-based authenticators like Google Authenticator or a biometric scan such as a fingerprint or facial recognition on an iPhone. Having multiple layers of authentication makes it much harder for hackers and bad actors to access your account.
Data encryption involves converting sensitive information into a code that only authorized users can access with a unique key. Encryption is a bit like scrambling data — even if someone were to intercept your data, they wouldn’t be able to make sense of it without the key. Look for institutions that use strong encryption to protect your personal and financial information, particularly when it’s being transmitted over the internet or stored on their servers.
A secure bank or financial app will offer fraud-monitoring services to help detect and prevent unauthorized transactions on your account. Fraud monitoring may include alerts for unusual or suspicious activity as well as the ability to set up transaction limits.
Most bank websites or apps have a feature that automatically logs you out of your account after a certain period of inactivity. This security feature helps to prevent someone else from accessing your account if you forget to log out on a shared device.
Do Your Research
In addition to looking for these security features, research the overall services and security protocols for a secure banking account or financial apps. Carefully review the measures they take to protect customer data and whether they have experienced any past data breaches. This information should be readily available online or on the bank’s website. Also, look for reviews and ratings from other customers, and consider contacting the services directly with any questions or concerns about its security measures.
5 Tips for Safeguarding Your Accounts
Finding and opening an account is only one part of the process. It’s also important to implement some safe practices on your own:
1. Employ Two-Factor Authentication
In addition to the security measures put in place by your bank, you can add an extra layer of protection by using two-factor authentication. This requires you to provide a second form of identification, such as a code sent to your phone or a biometric scan, such as your fingerprint, in order to access your account.
2. Choose Strong Passwords
You should only use unique and complex passwords for all of your online accounts, including your secure checking account or savings account. Avoid using passwords that can be easily guessed such as “password”, “guest”, “qwerty” and “123456789,” and consider using a password manager to help generate and store strong, unique passwords. It’s also important to change your password regularly.
3. Sign up for Alerts
Many banks or financial apps offer alerts that notify you of suspicious activity on your account. Transaction alerts or notifications can be a helpful tool for catching suspicious or fraudulent activity early on.
4. Steer Clear of Public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi networks are often available to anyone in the area and not private or secure. Determined hackers can easily compromise them. Avoid accessing your accounts or other sensitive information on public Wi-Fi whenever possible.
5. Beware of Phishing Scams
Phishing scams are fraudulent emails or websites that are designed to trick you into divulging your sensitive information, such as login credentials or financial information. Be on the alert for suspicious emails or websites, and only enter sensitive information if you are sure it is a legitimate request.
Protect Your Money: Choosing a Secure Account
Choosing a secure financial service and implementing safe practices are essential for protecting your money and personal information. By looking for banks and financial apps with solid security measures and being vigilant about protecting your account, you can help ensure that your financial information and assets are safe.
Some key considerations when choosing a secure bank or financial app include multi factor authentication, data encryption, fraud monitoring services, automatic logouts and doing your research. It’s also important to be careful when accessing your account online or using public Wi-Fi and to use strong and unique passwords for all your financial accounts. Taking these precautions can help protect you and your money from potential threats.