Question

Why is it best to have online access to your bank account, even if you still receive paper statements?

Answer

There are so many reasons why it's not only safer, but more convenient as well.

  1. Your data is encrypted when submitted, which is much safer than putting a check with your bank account information in the mail.
  2. You have 24/7 access to your accounts. You don't need to wait until you receive your hard copy in the mail to check for unauthorized charges. You can check daily. 
  3. Avoid late fees. People don't often think of this, but sometimes life happens and we put the bill somewhere and forgot about it. With auto-pay, you don't have to worry about this and won’t have late fees, which saves you money.
  4. There are still people trolling neighborhoods for unlocked mailboxes to steal your checks, bills, anything with personal information on it for them to commit identity theft.

I know it's hard for people who don't have computers or who are not comfortable doing this online. If you are that person, make sure to mail your checks in a secured location, not in your unlocked mailbox. Also, limit the information you put on your checks, make sure your SSN is not on it! Also, check you statements regularly when you receive them. Sit down and go line by line through them. If you have any errors of fraud, report it immediately.

If you do online banking and are loving it, that's great, just make sure to never do it from a public or free WI-FI. There are hackers waiting to steal transmitted information from an unsecured connection. and they can either open up new credit in your name or use your existing credit. Always pay your bills on a computer or other system that is secured. Don't take the risk.

 

Here is an article that AARP published a few years back that has some good tips in it as well:

https://www.aarp.org/money/budgeting-saving/info-08-2010/paying_bills_in_your_pajamas.html

 

 

*Part of the Ask the Expert series with Amy Nofziger on Identity Theft and Cybersecurity Scams, October 2019. Learn more tips and/or share your stories in our Scams & Fraud forum.

Comments

Hey, This is a great article. I was searching for the same and I found the best content here. Thanks for sharing the info. keep on doing the great work.

I have an online high-yield savings account and love the whole concept. Very easy. However, you have to be sure who you're dealing with, their financials and FDIC protected for your cash.

I have had an online checking and savings account for years.  I love it, except for one thing.  If you do not have a brick and mortar bank account, you cannot transfer money into the online account.  (my retirement goes in directly)  I'm sure this will change, but for now, should I win a huge amount at the casino, or lottery, well....I guess I would just have to get an account at a regular bank to make sure I can put the money in.

Still, I love my online banking.  

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