Convenient Online Transactions
Image: | pexels-photo-3756345 | 5 Tips for Experiencing Safer and More Convenient Online Transactions | The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed just how much our society depends on the internet. In a time when venturing out of our front doors may put our lives at risk, we all turned to digital platforms to work, study, socialize, and purchase goods. During this period of home confinement, many Filipinos also discovered how easy it is to carry out financial transactions online. In fact, online retailer organizations and food delivery service providers reported a surge in demand and sales during the lockdown.

Consumers have much to gain with signing up for a Robinsons Bank online account or downloading financial and banking apps. With these, we can pay our bills and purchase products and services without necessarily leaving home—a practical advantage when in the middle of a global pandemic. 

Just like their traditional counterparts, however, online and mobile financial transactions come with their own set of risks. Many people still fall victim to phishing and other scams every year. Now that we’re more dependent on online banking, it’s only prudent to take steps to ensure that our transactions are done in a secure and private manner. Here are 5 steps on how we can do just that: 

Become more familiar with security features for financial apps and tools. Banks take security seriously, especially when it comes to online banking. Digital banking platforms and financial apps are designed with security and tech-literate users in mind. The companies behind these programs are conscious of the fact that one data breach can erode their clients’ trust in their brand. As such, they make every effort to ensure that the security measures they use remain relevant and stay a step ahead of the people and organizations that aim to commit financial crimes.

As end-users of these financial apps and programs, we can protect ourselves better by becoming more familiar with the security measures that our banks and preferred financial apps use. If we know about these features, we can maximize them and protect ourselves better when we do online transactions. Also, familiarity with online security measures can help us make better decisions whenever an app requests access to our online banking information.

Enable multifactor authentication. MFA or multifactor authentication is a security system wherein users have to verify their identity through more than one category of credentials. The multifactor approach creates a layered defense from individuals who can break into one factor, like one’s email account or phone, for example. Most apps only use 2-factor authentication, but there are also systems that use more than that to verify a person’s identity. 

There are 3 common categories used to identify a person. The first is knowledge factor or something that the person knows, like a password. Second is the possession factor or something the person has, often a security token. Finally, there’s the inherence factor or something that the person is. Biometrics information is typically used for this. Remember that banks shouldn’t ask for these codes from their clients, and clients should never share these codes with anyone over the phone. 

Monitor your financial accounts regularly. Banking alerts are another tool that consumers can use to stay on top of their online financial transactions. These convenient alerts often come in the form of email or text notification and are used to inform the user of their most recent banking activity. Online banking apps and users set up automatic alerts to track daily balance and transactions, failed login attempts, and personal information updates. Banking alerts are an effective way of preventing financial criminals from emptying your bank account without your knowledge. At the same time, it also pays to scrutinize every little transaction in your account. If you see a suspicious transaction that you didn’t authorize, don’t hesitate to check with your bank. 

Stay alert when using financial apps. Many financial apps, like budget trackers and person-to-person payment apps, need your online banking information to work. There are safe and trusted financial apps out there for sure, but there are also ones that compromise your security and make you an easy target to financial criminals. The best measure of protection would be to avoid shady financial apps altogether. After opening an account online with your bank, explore the functionalities that the platform offers. If your bank has a comprehensive list of online financial services available to you, then you might not need to resort to using third-party apps to complete your transactions. 

Avoid using public Wi-Fi when transacting online. You become more susceptible to hacking if you carry out financial transactions over unsecured public Wi-Fi. Before connecting, make sure that the network you are using is secure. If you have no other option but to use a public Wi-Fi, though, try to use a VPN as well to ensure that there is a secure and encrypted pathway for your transactions. 

Signing up for an online account presents many opportunities at a time when most of us are confined at home and limiting our interaction with other people. Being able to purchase the things we need presents a semblance of normalcy in these strange times. To continue enjoying these conveniences safely, it’s imperative that we pay attention to our security. Follow these tips and you’ll be able to complete your financial transactions with no worries.