Tips to Keep Your Money Safe Online
Shopping online, sending money home, and using food delivery apps… everything we do online leaves a trail. This concerns not only our personal data but our payment and financial information as well.
When it comes to payments alone, we use a variety of methods. We might prefer our traditional bank account for savings, a card for in-store purchases, Google Pay for in-app payments, a money transfer app to split a bill with friends, and the company credit card to purchase a subscription online.
While we can do all this with a fair sense of security, it’s never too soon to ask ourselves: is my money safe?
If you generally like to err on the safe side, you might already be on the lookout for certain risks — for example, credit card information theft or a data breach, but could one really anticipate a financial service going bust overnight?
So let’s take a look at a few things you can (and should) do to keep your money and personal information safe online.
Protecting your personal data
This might seem self-evident, but there’s no emphasizing it enough: you must be careful about your personal information online.
Avoid suspicious websites. If you have any reason to doubt the legitimacy of a website (does it sound too good to be true?), or the website is not secured (mind the https), it’s simple — just don’t enter any of your personal or financial information, and preferably, don’t use it altogether.
Set strong, unique passwords. Don’t use obvious words or dates (like your name or birth date) when setting passwords, and certainly don’t use the same password for several accounts — especially when those accounts store your payment information.
**Clear your cache. **Every now and then, clear your cache and cookies or just log out of websites that you haven’t used in a while. Saving your password might be convenient, but you should only do so with websites that you use frequently and if no one else uses your device.
Use a vault. As tempting as it may be sometimes, don’t keep your passwords in easy to access, unprotected, or shared documents. Many vault solutions provide both the security and ease of use that you need.
Protecting your money and your financial information
It is not uncommon to have accounts with more than one bank (50% of US cardholders do) or to have various accounts with non-bank financial services providers on top of your bank account.
In general, such services are held to strict financial regulations that guarantee they comply with all the relevant laws and provide high-security standards.
If you want to feel more reassured before opting for a money transfer service or app, here are a few criteria to help you make a safe decision.
Does the service have a banking licence, and if so, where?
Though financial services can function perfectly fine without a banking licence, customer funds do get some extra protection from this — for example, in Europe, deposits are guaranteed under the European Deposit Protection Scheme if the entity holding your deposit holds a banking licence.
Most services however will opt for partnerships with banks, which gives you protection if your funds are held in a bank account and not by the service itself.
Who holds your money?
Naturally, if the service or app you use requires you to top up your account, you should ask yourself where that money is held (is it a bank, or is it the service?). If you use an established, well-known provider, there shouldn’t be any issues either way. If you use a service that stores funds, beware that glitches may arise (and this will always be a bad time), and make sure to do your best due diligence checking whether the service is trustworthy or not, to avoid losing your money altogether.
For extra security, choose a solution (such as Fin.do, for example) that simply intermediates transactions between you and the recipient, and doesn’t require you to top up your account.
Is there a spending limit?
A daily or monthly transfer limit, as well as a limit when it comes to cross-border transactions, are good indicators that the company is compliant with financial regulations such as anti-money laundering (AML). With Fin.do, for example, users have a maximum sending limit of $1,000 per day and $25,000 per month.
Transfer limitations show that the service prioritizes the security of their customers and their finances, keeping its network free from any illegal activity.
Does the service or app feel safe?
We all love to do things in one click, but the reality is that some amount of security verification is needed in order to make sure the users are genuine, identifiable persons.
If an app asks for your documentation (such as an ID or a photo), you can breathe a sigh of relief. This shows they take security seriously and aim to reduce the risk of fraud using their service.
Of course, there is no way to always eliminate 100% of the risks. But even a basic examination of the criteria above can minimize your risks when making transactions online.
If you would like to learn more about Fin.do, a safe way to send money instantly locally and abroad, check us out here.