Published: 14th Aug 2015
Sometimes, people can feel nervous about entrusting their bank details to cyberspace. However, with a few simple precautions, you’ll find that it can be a really quick and easy way to manage your money.
To start with, you’ll need to talk to your bank about setting up an online account, and they’ll provide you with a username and password. You may also have to create a piece of memorable information, and just enter a few random letters in order to log in. As with any passwords, you must never give this information out to anyone else.
Before you sign in, take a look at the website address in the URL bar at the top of your screen. Make sure that it starts with https:// - this means that any information you enter is encrypted, which makes it harder to hack.
You’ll also be given the option to let your browser remember your login details. Never do this if you’re not the only one who uses the computer, and be careful about it even if you are. If your computer is stolen, this could give thieves access to all of your information, and your money, so it’s best to enter the login yourself each time.
Once you reach your account page, you can look at a bank statement, pay your bills, or even set up a savings account, all at the press of a button. To set up standing orders, you may need to receive an automated call from the bank, in which you type a number shown on your computer into your phone, but this isn’t as hard as you might think. It’s also an important anti-fraud protection.
Even with this extra step, online banking is still much quicker than standing in line at your local branch, and you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your living room. If you want, you can even sign up to receive online bank statements, to cut down on the need for filing, and help protect the environment by reducing the amount of paper used.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of unpleasant people who will try to get into your bank account. A common internet scam is known as phishing. This is where criminals pretend to be someone trustworthy (normally your bank) in order to trick you into handing over your login information.
If you receive an email asking for your details in this way, then it is probably a scam. Your real bank will almost certainly use your full name when they contact you by email, along with your username, and they will never ask for your login details. Do not click on any of the links in it.
If you get a message like this, mark the email as spam and report it at reportlite.actionfraud.police.uk so that other people aren’t targeted in the same way.
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