Payment apps, e-commerce, and online banking make handling money incredibly easy, but they also make your financial information incredibly easy to steal. Here’s how to stay safe.
Choose the right bank
Bank of America wins over the 8 safest banks according to this article. Citibank is a close second.
I can personally confirm that Bank of America is always vigilant of potential scammers as I have been informed at the slightest hint of suspicious activity on my account.
Look for these protections
You want your bank to stand behind you for secure online banking. They must provide two-factor authentication PLUS these additional benefits.
- Guarantee against unauthorized access. If someone steals your money, you will get it back the next day
- Access to a single use card number. Some banks and credit cards offer single-use virtual account numbers that allow you to shop online without revealing your card number.
Use the safest cash and payment apps
The most used cash payment apps are Venmo, PayPal, Zelle and the Cash app. Here̵
- Zelle, by Bank of America, is the safest cash app. Other banks also offer it. Most apps just need a phone number or email address. With Zelle, both payer and payee must have a Zelle account – which makes things more complicated, but more secure. On the other hand, it is always free.
- PayPal is private, has secure encryption technology, and has always been around. You can transfer money for free if you mark them as “friends and family.” PayPal’s best feature is their actual telephone customer service. I called and got my money back if nothing never arrived. eBay purchases are made through PayPal, which provides an extra layer of protection if your eBay seller is a scammer.
- Venmo is very popular, but the interface is not intuitive, privacy settings are not automatic, and payments can be incorrectly forwarded to someone with a similar name. That means you will never see that money again – and there is no customer service.
- The Cash app is popular and easy with no social media features, so there’s more privacy than Venmo. It also lets you invest in stocks and Bitcoin.
Stay vigilant when banking online
Yes, you should go ahead and enjoy the convenience of online banking and ecommerce. However, don’t ignore the measures you can and must take to stay safe. Here’s a rundown of the most important ones, some advice from The Motley Fool, and an article from Forbes that really goes into financial safety online (but oh! Those popups!).
Would you like to know more about online banking? Senior Planet will soon launch a 2 week virtual course called Ready, Set, Bank! for distance learners. Participants meet twice a week via Zoom and learn the basics of online and mobile banking, navigate a banking website, manage accounts, set up alerts, send digital money and more! The Ready, Set, Bank! The distance learning course will be available from 17 May. To register, please visit www.seniorplanet.org/capitalone.