Financial information

Secure your financial transactions in the digital age with these best practices


It is essential that we have good guarantees and good practices in place for our financial transactions, as losses resulting from financial fraud can affect us significantly. The increase in cybercrime incidents, phishing attacks and ATM hacks has made it even more critical.

Here are some good guarantees and practices to follow;

Use virtual keyboards

Almost every banking website we use today has the option of using a virtual keyboard to enter your credentials while logging into your online banking account. This method is a more secure option than using the physical keyboard to enter your login credentials.

Often times, hackers or malware that have gained access to your computer system will use software like a keylogger, which tracks the keys you type on your physical keyboard, to steal your usernames and passwords. The use of virtual keyboards, in turn, prevents this information from being recorded or tracked.

Use SMS or email alerts

Most of the digital banking and financial services we use today have the function of sending us SMS or email alerts when a transaction occurs. If a value is associated with the alert, set it to the lowest level to receive alerts for even the smallest of transactions.

Scammers and hackers often perform multiple small value transactions rather than a single high value transaction to avoid alerting the user or the bank’s security system.

Use one-time password (OTP) for logins

Today, most online accounts offer the option of signing in using a one-time password (OTP). A uniquely generated temporary password like an OTP is more secure when typing in Internet browsers, especially in public areas or at work.

This method is better because when you use OTPs to connect online, they are generated randomly before being sent directly to your mobile or email for one-time use and are only valid for a short period. after which the OTP expires. As an added safe practice, make a habit of deleting email and text messages with OTPs after you are done using them.

Create a secure PIN code for your bank cards

Much like a secure password for your online accounts, a secure personal identification number (PIN) can go a long way in protecting your debit or credit cards from abuse.

Never use your date of birth or that of your family members as a PIN. It is easy for a con artist or hacker to find this information, sometimes just through your social media accounts. In addition, never save your PIN code in your smartphone’s contact book. Anyone with access to your smartphone or contacts can quickly access the PIN code, which makes it unsafe.

Whenever you think your PIN might be compromised, change it immediately through your online banking website or the bank’s mobile app.

Set limits for your bank cards

If you use debit or credit cards and don’t need to use their maximum limit all the time, it is recommended that you set a transaction limit for the card. Most banks and financial services allow you to set these limits online or through their mobile app. You will also have several options to set upper limits per transaction, for the day, for online use, offline use or when using the card abroad.

Set these limits according to how you use them, and in this way, even if the card or its information falls into the wrong hands or is misused, you can greatly minimize the financial loss you incur.

Secure your documents

Just like password protected financial documents and statements that you receive by email, it is also prudent to password protect documents along with your financial information before saving them to your system. This way, only you or the users who know the password can access these document files.

Some applications also allow you to set an additional password in case the information needs to be changed; in this way, only a person authorized with the password can modify the information in the document.

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