10 Tips for Safer Online Banking

Written by Karen Bryan

I often read all sorts of banking scams and tricks that try to relieve you of your cash. While some of these attempts are more obvious, e.g. receiving an email asking to download and complete a form with your details, others are pretty sophisticated.

In fact, the last time that I had a phone call and text from my bank to inform me that, because of a suspicious transaction in the US my debit card had been cancelled, I initially thought it might be some kind of scam. However, as the call progressed I was reassured that it was genuine.

Santander fraud infographic

However, there are several ways that you can increase the security of your online banking detailed by Santander in their helping you stay safe online guide. Below are their top ten tips.

  1. It’s crucial to check your statements regularly to see if the transactions were made by you. When you bank online it’s easy to check the last few transactions whenever you are online, much easier than waiting for a monthly paper statement to be posted out to you.
  2. If you get a new mobile phone, update the information in your account details. If you also have a landline, this gives your bank an additional way to contact you by phone, especially to query a transaction when you’re out and about.
  3. Never click on any links or attachments on emails supposedly sent to you by your bank. Log-into, or phone, your bank  to check if there are any issues.
  4. Ensure that there is a locked padlock icon in the top left of the url address bar and that the site url starts with https (HyperText Transfer Protocol with Secure Sockets Layers).
  5. Never disclose the PIN for your credit or debit card. Your bank will never ask you for this in full.
  6. Regularly check your credit rating. Part of the information in the report is a search history which lists the date and name for the financial institution which has accessed your details. I use Noddle, which offers free credit reports for life, as opposed to a trial period.
  7. Be careful about how much personal information you divulge on social networking sites.
  8. Don’t send any personal details in an email, as it’s possible your email account could be hacked.
  9. Don’t use the same user names and passwords for several different accounts. Make the log in details for every account different, but still memorable. Easier said than done, from my own experience of regularly having to re-set passwords.
  10. Always update your computer operating system and browsers, as updates are often to address security issues. Download anti-virus software. I use the free version of AVG.