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Online banking is getting bigger – how to stay safe

Have you been a victim of cyber crime? If so you’re not alone - almost half of UK adults have suffered some form of it in the last year, with credit card fraud being the most common, according to a survey from GFI Software.

Not only that, but two out of five adults surveyed said they believed banks would be the main target for cyber criminals in the coming year.

So what does this mean for the growing number of us who do our banking online?

How does online banking work?

Banks and building societies are increasingly offering banking facilities online, so you can access your account without having to visit a bank branch in person - more than 300 bank branches were closed in 2014 and hundreds more could follow.

Online banking can be accessed via the internet on a PC, laptop, tablet or mobile phone. For tablet or mobile phone use you may have to download an app from the Apple Store or Google Play depending on your device.  These are usually available for free.

Online may not offer all the services your branch can offer, so there may be occasions when you still have to visit in person. Some providers only operate online and on the telephone, such as Smile or First Direct.

The same might apply if you are considering switching bank accounts.

 

Services online banking can offer

The services you can access will depend on your bank and your account but typically they might allow you to:

  • See all your accounts and balances in one place
  • Check and download your statements
  • Transfer money and pay bills
  • Make international payments
  • Manage Direct Debits and standing orders
  • Order a PIN reminder for your debit card
  • Request an increase or decrease to your credit card limit
  • Report a lost credit card and order a replacement
  • Order a replacement for a damaged credit card

Did you know?

Internet and mobile banking transactions average £1billion a day. Source: British Bankers’ Association


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The advantages of online banking

Online banking allows you to manage your money at a time and place that suits you. Unlike visiting a branch, there are no queues, no need to book appointments and no closing hours. It’s speedy too, providing a fast way to access your money, make payments, and much more.

The disadvantages of online banking

Banks invest heavily in measures to keep you and your money safe but there are still steps you can take to protect yourself and your details.

When you set up an account you will be given a password and Pin. It’s vital to keep these safe to protect your account and stop anyone else from logging in. It’s also important to log out at the end of each online banking session, especially if using a public or shared computer.

According to GFI Software, almost three in five web users change their passwords for websites and online services on a regular basis, while almost half use a PIN or password to protect their tablets and smartphones.

Things to look out for

Technological innovation now means that some banks let you log on to your mobile account with just a fingerprint – read by a sensor - instead of a tricky password.

Alternatively some banks offer security software that you can download to give you an extra layer of protection.

Your bank might also offer a guarantee that if money is taken from your account by fraudsters via online or mobile banking they will put your account back as if it hadn’t happened.

Before you use online or mobile banking, it’s important to check how you will be protected in the unlikely event that things go wrong.

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  • Send money online / 21 April 2015

    Hi,

    I'm an international student who uses online banking a lot and i really think its beneficial for those moments when you want to get money sent to you instantaneously or need a quick bank balance. however one thing they don't mention (which happens all the time) is the hefty fees when you try to do a bank transfer overseas. I feel like this is a service which needs to be looked at because there are a lot of people would love the convenience of sending money through bank transfer but cant afford it.

    For those who are in the same predicament, i currently send money online through various providers. I usually compare using sites such as (sendthatcash.com)
    https://www.sendthatcash.com/popular-countries/send-money-to-india.php

    Its better than sending via bank transfer in terms of fee's as you can find the cheapest option for you.

    Hope this helped.

  • jamesharris / 5 March 2015

    my comments arethis iam not what you call a techna fobe and never will be but my telephone bank is superb and easier than the internet and faster how about that