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Is Online Banking Really Safe?

Mar 13, 2008
One of the more commonly asked questions for those who keep their financial information on computers and access their accounts on their internet is whether online banking is really safe. One of the major reasons that this asked has a lot to do with the stories floating around about the latest computer viruses, the exploits of destructive computer hackers, and other media stories. It seems like every time you look around someone's financial information or account has been compromised, their money or identity has been stolen, and their financial reputations ruined. The question becomes very important if you are thinking about opening up an online bank account or make use of online banking services. "Is online banking really safe?"

What these people are asking is this: "How good is your online security?" or "What measures do you have in place to keep my financial information safe from those who would try to compromise it?" Online security is not only a big priority with the consumers who use online banking services, it is clearly a serious matter with the financial institutions themselves. Online banks spend a lot of time and resources to provide some of the most innovative and evolving security measures imaginable.

If you want to know what sort of security measures are in place to protect your transaction on a particular site, you can probably find plenty of information about those policies directly from the website. Most online banking systems do employ specific types of measures, although some of the details may vary.

Many online banking systems use what is called a direct-modem connection. This sort of electronic link moves any banking transactions securely from access point to the banking institution and vice versa. This avoids the use of the internet as a vehicle for moving transactions. This does not mean that there are not online banks that do use the web to make transactions. If the bank you are considering used the latter configuration, you need to know if they use high-end encryption systems to keep transactions safely out of reach.

Since there are so many financial institutions and e-commerce sites that do primarily make financial transactions via the internet, it is wise to find out what sort of encryption programs are in place. More than this, you need to be aware of whether your bank's security measures are operating while you are making your transactions. Thankfully, most web browsers include features and display icons that identify when a website is operating security measures or not. You've probably seen them before. Many browsers have little padlocks or keys to denote security. If you see these, you can sure that an online security system is functioning.

Other online security features include the use of passwords and personal identification numbers (PINs). This is front door security. Only you should know what your numbers and passwords are to ensure the immediate security of your online banking information.

Banks want your business; it's the only way they make money. You shouldn't be concerned that they will not take issues like safe transactions and online security seriously.
About the Author
Peter Kenny is a writer for The Thrifty Scot, please visit us at Credit Cards and Cheap Mortgage
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