No one can deny that life has become so much more convenient since the creation of the World Wide Web and the Internet. It’s easy to do so many things these days with just a few clicks and taps, including opening a bank account.
However, like many things in life, opening an online bank account is one of the things that should not be done without thinking. It’s your money we’re talking about here and you wouldn’t want to be careless enough to end up giving hackers access to your account without you knowing.
That said, here are 10 things to keep in mind when opening a bank account online:
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1. Which account would you like to have?
Whether you’re opening an account online or at a real bank, one of the first things you really need to do is figure out which account you want to have. Is it a checking account or a savings account?
Be sure to ask questions and do your research on the benefits and requirements of the type of account you are looking for.
2. Look at other banking options
While it may be convenient to go with the first bank that comes to mind or even the one closest to where you work or live, it’s generally wise to consider what other banks can offer.
Indeed, other banks may have better benefits than the one you are currently considering. It would be a shame to miss them just because you didn’t bother to check.
3. REMEMBER fees
Speaking of questions to ask about, be sure to ask about the fees required to open a bank account, if any. According to an article published by Allwomenstalk, some banks charge fees that they don’t tell you about right away.
These fees may include ATM fees, overdraft fees, minimum usage fees, etc.
4. Understand and prepare for requirements
As with all things banking and money, there are requirements you will be asked when you open an online bank account. These include your personal information, according to a Cornerstone Bank article, such as your social security number as well as government-issued identification.
There are also banks that require minimum deposits for savings and checking accounts.
5. Make sure you have security software
Cyberattacks and hacking attempts are common these days and the last thing you want is to add to the growing list of victims. The Cornerstone Bank article states that one thing you can do to protect your online banking account is to download security software.
“You’ll always want to make sure you have security software or antivirus on your computer to prevent cyberattacks and malware,” the article points out. There are options available, so again, do your research and find the one that works best for you.
Related article: Online banking tips and tricks: Here are 4 security tips to avoid scammers
6. Create a strong password
This not only applies to your online banking account, but any type of account you have online. Weak passwords only make them vulnerable to hacking attempts, so be sure to create a strong one to protect your money.
As usual, do not use your date of birth or your name as a password. Make sure you have a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and other accepted characters.
7. Configure Notifications
Cornerstone Bank’s article also recommends that you turn on or sign up for notifications so you’re always notified immediately if something happens to your bank account. These notifications can take the form of text messages or e-mails.
It is also a convenient and practical thing to do to protect your account from cyberattacks.
8. Do not open your bank account using an unsecured network or computer
It’s often wise to refrain from opening or accessing an online bank account when using public Wi-Fi. If that can’t be helped, make sure you have at least a VPN for added security.
It also goes without saying that it is also not a good idea to log into your online banking account using a public computer, especially if complete strangers may also be using it.
9. Follow the tutorial
If you are completely new to online banking or even just using the mobile banking app or your bank’s online site, follow the tutorial if offered.
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) website, this is so you can familiarize yourself with the platform.
10. Keep your login credentials to yourself
Last but not least, keep your online banking account login credentials and other sensitive information to yourself. If you feel the need to share details about your account for any reason, only do so with people you really want access to, such as your spouse or parents.
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