The internet has changed the way people do things in every industry across the globe. One of the best examples of this is in the banking industry. Whereas a generation ago, paper checks, envelopes, and deposit slips were key in banking, today, it’s all about PINs and security questions online.

There’s no question that online banking is convenient. Instead of making a trip, people can bank remotely. With online banking, it’s possible to deposit checks, make transfers from checking to savings and keep a close eye on balances from home. Some banks even have apps that allow people to use ATMs without their cards present. But of course, there are two sides to every coin. Online banking has simplified accessing financial information for account holders. It’s important to ensure that this information is also being protected from hackers.

There are several things to look for when choosing a bank to use online. Banks should be open about at least some of their security measures. As an example, 128-bit encryption is a typical safety measure. Most banks make this clear on their login pages. Any bank worth its salt will also have strict requirements for passwords. Usually, they require a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters like @, ! or ?.

Two-factor verification is also becoming more common before allowing users to access their accounts. This means that in addition to a username and password, the bank may require you to enter a code it sends via text or email. Security questions are another example of two-factor verification. While these measures can be annoying for some end users, it’s important to remember the purpose they serve. All of these steps are used to ensure that if a hacker accesses one piece of information, they still can’t access everything.

Finally, account holders should make sure they’re on the right website before providing any secure or personal information. No bank will use email to request security information from a customer. Some scammers will use spoof web addresses that look almost the same as an official website in order to trick consumers into giving up important personal details. When in doubt about whether or not a request is legitimate, call the bank or go into a branch to verify a request.