Is Online Banking Safe? 5 Reasons To Use A VPN
You may have been informed by your bank that they have online banking and mobile banking platforms. They tell you about the convenience and how you can save time used for traveling to the branch and waiting in line. However, you may be wondering, “How safe is online banking?”
You’re about to discover the risks, how you can use a VPN for a safe online banking experience and some recommended VPNs.
What Are The Security Concerns Of Online Banking?
In today’s digital age, you can do almost everything online. You can buy your grocery, order food delivered to your home and shop on Amazon. More and more people are also doing their banking online. It’s very convenient and you can do it from anywhere.
After what happened with COVID-19 where countries go on lockdown and people are forced to work from home, it accelerated the move to a more digital world.
However, many people don’t realize they are taking online safety and security for granted. Just because everyone uses online banking and mobile banking, doesn’t mean it is always safe.
Let’s compare in-person banking for a moment. When you walk into the branch, there are security systems like CCTV in place. There’s also a teller who checks your identity to make sure you are the right person.
With online banking, you also need security to be in place. If not, your account can get hacked, your information can get stolen and your hard-earned money is at risk. The first step to protecting yourself is to know what are the risks with online and mobile banking.
Hackers have several ways to steal your financial information. They might put a piece of malware on a website. When you visit the website, the malware is installed on your computer or your phone. They might also send you fraudulent emails and text messages pretending to be a bank or a government official asking for personal details or account details. Or they might tap into your device when you’re browsing on an unsecured wifi connection.
Online Banking vs Mobile Banking
The risks are similar regardless if you’re accessing your bank account using a web browser on your computer or a mobile banking app on your phone. The differences lie in the different operating systems on phones and computers. Thus, potential hackers need a different set of skills to hack each operating system.
Most malware is designed to attack traditional Windows-based PCs since the majority of people around the world use it. Malware for mobile devices also exists. Hackers need to create it for specific banking apps for iOS and Android.
The good news is malware for mobile apps is less common. The bad news is the banks may not pay too much attention to them. Software security experts did some studies on mobile banking apps and found almost every one of them has at least one vulnerability that hackers can exploit.
Another security factor is you carry your mobile phone everywhere you go, unlike a desktop computer that stays put. If you happen to leave it lying around or misplace it, your mobile device may end up in the wrong hands.
This shouldn’t stop you from the convenience. However, you need to be mindful of how you’re handling your cell phone. There is lots of sensitive data at risk if you are not careful.
How To Use A VPN For Online Banking?
Banks have their own world-class security measures to keep your money safe. But they don’t have every threat covered. There are still some loopholes like fraud and identity theft.
You can protect yourself by using a virtual private network (VPN). First, let’s take a look at how VPN works.
How VPNs Work
VPNs have been around for a long time. It was originally created by large companies to serve their own purposes.
They needed a secure and private method of communication and file-sharing between their different offices. Their employees also needed to access important files without physically being in the office. All of this needed to be secure so unauthorized users aren’t able to hack and steal their classified data.
That’s why VPN was developed. As the name suggests, it’s a private network on the web that employees can log into. Then, they are able to access all files on the network securely from anywhere in the world, without actually being in the office.
Recently, VPNs became very popular with the mass market due to concerns with online security. VPN works by encrypting every packet of data leaving your device. Thus, no one can see the data. Not even the government that wants to track users, your internet service providers that want to collect your data or hackers that are trying to spy on you.
You’re protected on every site you visit and every file you download or upload. No one can see your exact activity.
VPN is also popular among users who want to hide their location. If you’re connected to the internet without a VPN, computer experts are able to trace back to your device, even to your exact location. This is a privacy concern for many people.
With a VPN, you can choose a virtual location. The rest of the world will see that you are coming from that location. And your actual location remains unknown to everyone one else.
These capabilities of the VPN make it appealing to people that want to increase their online security and privacy. When you connect to the internet with a VPN, you have peace of mind that your email, passwords, credit card numbers, and online banking transactions are secure.
Five Reasons To Use A VPN
Now that you know how VPN works, let’s take a look at why you should use a VPN to keep your online banking safe.
1. Your Information Is Always Safe
All banks use secure https encryption to protect their website. But it doesn’t cover all security risks. There is still some risk even when you are browsing from your home.
By using a VPN, you add an additional layer of encryption when you’re transacting online. This added layer makes it harder for anyone to steal your data, even for talented hackers.
2. Your Banking App Can Stay Secure
Many people prefer using mobile banking apps on their cell phones because it’s convenient. You can make transactions with just a few taps on your screen.
They’re very popular for its convenience and ease of use, that’s why it’s a prime target for hackers.
Although banks are already encrypting the data on their apps, by connecting through a VPN, you have an additional layer of protection and deterrence against hackers.
3. You Can Login From Public Wi-Fi
If you’re often on the move, you may have connected to a public hotspot. This is very dangerous as it’s one of the biggest sources of online security breaches. There are hackers tapping into the public Wi-Fi and monitoring the information that goes through it.
Many people aren’t aware of this. They just simply enjoy using their cell phones while sipping coffee or having a meal at a cafe, restaurant or hotel. They check their email messages and make online transactions with credit cards as they normally would at home. It’s even more dangerous if they log on to their mobile banking or online banking account.
This is a potential loophole that hackers use. They get access to unencrypted data and your data is compromised. With the right tools, they can steal your identity or hack into your bank account.
VPN offers advanced data encryption to make sure you are using public wifi securely. You have peace of mind that you can browse on your computer or cell phone. You can shop online and check your online bank account without any worry about identity theft or your data being stolen.
4. You Can Access Your Account While Traveling
Some banks monitor the country where you’re logging in from. When you’re traveling overseas, they may notice that you’re logging in from a different country.
They may trigger fraud blockades to protect you. They’re worried that your account may be used for fraud or your account details are stolen. This is a valid concern from the banks. They’re acting for your protection but it can be a problem and hassle if you are overseas and need to log into your online bank account.
With a VPN, you can choose a server that is in your home country. You connect to the VPN and login to check your account balance. They won’t know that you’re using a VPN, or if you’re traveling in a different region. They will still think you’re connected from your home.
5. Protection Against Phishing
Some hackers attempt to harvest usernames and passwords. This is called phishing. It’s like hijacking a website and replacing it with a fake one.
Hackers put up a fake website very similar to the real one from the bank. It looks and feels that same. Many people don’t notice it and they put in their login details thinking they’re giving it to the bank, while it’s actually going to the hackers.
To avoid phishing scams, you need to always check the URL is correct and there is a green HTTPS lock icon on your browser, showing your connection is secure. Then you can proceed to enter details like username and password.
Some VPNs offer DNS level scanning. This protects you against phishing attacks.
Free vs Paid VPNs
If you search on Google for a VPN, you’ll see there are plenty of free VPN services out there.
WARNING: Never use free VPNs for online banking or mobile banking!
Based on how VPNs work, you can see there is a lot of work and costs involved in setting a large network on the internet. And a lot of effort to maintain and keep it secure. If you’re not paying them, then how are they making money to fund the operation?
So how can VPNs be free? What’s the catch?
As it turns out, free VPNs are known for collecting user data and selling them. It’s possible that your sensitive information like passwords, credit card numbers and bank account details are being collected. This defeats the purpose of using a VPN. Instead of being more secure, you’re at greater risk by using a free VPN service.
To do online banking and mobile banking securely, you need to use a trusted, reliable and paid VPN service. They are in the business of protecting you instead of selling your data.
Another benefit of paid VPNs is you’ll enjoy a much faster connection. You can stream high-quality videos without it breaking up, that’s how fast the connection is.
Moreover, many VPNs in the market are very affordable. Let’s take a look at a look at some VPNs we recommend.
Top 5 VPNs For Online Banking
Now that you know why it’s important to use a VPN and how it can protect you, not every VPN is created equal. You need to choose the right one to guarantee your privacy. It has to be reliable. To keep your data safe.
We have put together the top 5 VPNs to make it easier for you. They are fast, easy to use, secure and work on many devices, to provide you with great online banking experience. You won’t go wrong with choosing any one of them.
NordVPN is one of our recommended VPNs. It provides you with great features and performance at an affordable price.
It has over 5,400 servers in more than 60 countries. This means you have plenty of options for a fast connection anywhere around the world.
As for security, you’re protected with AES-256 encryption to make sure your data is secure on all your connections.
NordVPN is registered in Panama. So they don’t have to comply with surveillance and data retention laws in the USA. So your privacy is safe when you use NordVPN.
NordVPN provides you with fast speeds. You can open Netflix and other streaming services and watch seamlessly.
If you need any assistance, NordVPN has a 24/7 live chat customer support that is ready to help you. The app is intuitive and easy to use. But in case you have difficulty getting set up, it has a huge knowledge base for your reference.
NordVPN has plenty of great deals. Click here to get started and take NordVPN on a test drive. You can use it on six devices with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
ExpressVPN is known for being fast and user friendly. The app is lightweight so it’s great when you’re using mobile banking apps. You can do banking on the go with peace of mind that your information is secure.
ExpressVPN has over 3,000 high-speed servers across 94 different countries. It provides you with 256-bit AES encryption so you can have robust protection while you’re doing your mobile banking. Moreover, the servers don’t store any data on the server’s hard drive, so you can be sure that your information is safe.
Many VPN services are blocked when people travel to China. However, ExpressVPN is consistently able to bypass it. So it’s a great choice if you travel to countries with strict censorship policies.
When you need any help, there are 24/7 live chat support and detailed setup guides.
ExpressVPN has plenty of deals. Click here to get started and enjoy the risk-free trial. You can test it on 3 devices with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
3. CyberGhost VPN
CyberGhost is a great choice if you’re looking for a user-friendly design. The interface is very easy to navigate. It has a one-click setup and you’re automatically connected to the fastest server. You can also set up smart rules and customize your preferences.
CyberGhost VPN has a network of 5,900 servers in 90 countries. It has all the essentials you need like no logging and solid encryption.
CyberGhost is not as fast as NordVPN or ExpressVPN. But it’s still fast enough to seamlessly stream movies. If you have any issues, CyberGhost has live chat support available to help you.
CyberGhost offers a 24-hour free trial. Click here to set up your account. You can try it out on up to 7 devices risk-free with a 45-day money-back guarantee.
4. SurfShark VPN
Surfshark is relatively new in the VPN space. But it’s quickly growing and making a name for itself. It has over 1,041 servers in 61 countries. You have fast and reliable access from anywhere in the world.
Because it’s newer, it has to offer something unique to attract users. So SurfShark gives you unlimited simultaneous connections. This means you can protect your entire family. Everyone can connect using all of their devices. That’s a great deal because you pay for one account but your whole family benefits.
However, let’s get back to the most important feature of a VPN, which is security. Surfashark has it all covered with double encryption. It also has Camouflage Mode so your internet service provider doesn’t know that you’re using a VPN.
Surfshark is a great choice with great discounts for long-term plans. Click here to start using Surfshark. You can test it risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
5. HotSpot Shield VPN
ShotSpot Shield has a free and paid version. As we have already mentioned earlier avoid the free version. The free version has ads and your data is at risk.
You want to use the paid version which is called Hotspot Shield Premium. It has 3,200+ VPN servers in 80+ countries. It is a great choice with 128-bit and 256-bit encryption for your data security.
Take note that HotSpot Shield Premium VPN isn’t a no-logs VPN service. They do keep logs of data going out of your device because of the US regulations.
Although HotSpot Shield VPN has some drawbacks, it’s still a powerful and popular VPN service.
Click here to get a 7 days free trial of HotSpot Shield and you can test it risk-free with a 45-day money-back guarantee.
There you have it. Now you know the risks involved with online banking, how banks protect your money but they can’t protect you from all the threats. That’s where VPNs come in to keep your data secure.
Now it’s time for you to choose one VPN that fits your needs. All 5 VPNs are excellent choices and offer you a risk-free money-back guarantee period.