Online Banking as a Digital Tool for Safety
One of your best ways to monitor and protect your money is through online banking. Online banking is a free, safe, and convenient way to access your accounts anytime, anywhere. Most banks and credit unions encourage their customers to use online banking to monitor and access accounts 24 hours-a-day, seven-days a week, transfer funds between accounts, and pay bills online. In addition, you will receive alerts regarding any fraudulent activity or problems that might potentially cause you financial damage or loss.
As a precaution: Monitor your online banking accounts two to three times a week.
Before using online banking, consider the following:
- Does your bank or credit union have a user-friendly, well-established, online banking platform with adequate customer service support?
- Do you have the required computer skills to access the web and navigate the online banking platform?
- Do you have a dependable smartphone or computer with the necessary software?
- Is your computer and/or mobile device set up with a secure internet connection, a firewall, and/or antivirus system?
- Does your computer have problems connecting to the internet? Are you using a reliable internet service provider with adequate coverage in your area?
If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, you may want to opt out of online banking until you can answer “yes” to every question.
To get started with online banking, follow these steps:
(1) Establish your username which must be unique to you. If you plan to use some combination of your name, you may have to add numbers or additional letters to make it exclusively yours.
(2) Create a strong password that has at least eight characters, including one letter, one number, one upper case letter, and one special character. Be sure to remember your username and password. If necessary, write them down and keep them in a secure and secret place.
(3) With online banking, a strong password is a must. Make a password some combination that you will remember. Example: Ihave1dog! Take note that the longer and more convoluted the password sentence, the more likely it will be for errors in remembering or typing.
(4) When you have an existing bank account, sign up for electronic services via your computer by going to your bank’s website and looking for “Online Banking” or something similar. You can also download the bank’s app on your mobile devices.
(5) If you are having issues about setting up your electronic account, visit your local branch and have someone walk you through the process. They will be happy to help.
(6) Be prepared to go to your local branch for any major account transactions and money exchanges.
And, of course, once you master the technology for online banking, you will wonder how you lived without it in the past. But, isn’t that true with most technology we now take for granted?
Pull together by: Patricia K. Flanigan, Smart Strategies for Successful Living
Patricia K. Flanigan has worked in higher education for over 28 years. She holds a doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of La Verne as well as a M.A. in Latin American Studies and B.A. in Anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Before retiring and moving to Idaho in 2015, she served as the dean of online education and learning resources at Saddleback College, a large community college in Southern California. She currently consults in higher education, volunteers for AARP, writes for a local magazine, and serves as an Affiliate Faculty member at Boise State University and on the Board for LEARN Idaho. Since February 2017, she has been the founding director for Smart Strategies for Successful Living, a community-based website designed to promote quality aging. As an educator, her focus is to inspire others to live and age well.