The 10 golden rules of safe digital banking
You may have heard that there are some important changes coming later in the year, which will affect all internet banking customers.
These changes are part of the new Second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) legislation. The changes are being put in place to help protect everyone’s accounts from ever increasing scams and fraud attacks.
That means, as part of our ongoing commitment to keeping your money safe, we’ll be asking you to enter a unique security code every time you use our Internet Banking service, keeping your accounts and cash even more safe.
That said, there are some golden rules you can follow to keep yourself, and your finances, safe online. Here are our top tips.
Choose a secure password
Whenever money is involved, ensure you set a highly secure password. This usually means including uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and other characters (such as exclamation marks), with the password being at least 8 characters long.
It’s highly advisable to choose unique passwords for each online service to make things extra secure. This can make them tricky to remember, though, so consider storing them all in an encrypted password app.
As with all passwords, we advise not choosing one that’s easy to guess - for example avoid your birthday (or that of a family member) and sequential numbers e.g. 1234.
Make the most of your phone’s security features
Many modern smartphones have biometric features which allow you to set your fingerprint or even face as part of the security process.
This bypasses the risk of your accounts being accessed if somebody steals your phone, as it’s completely unique to you. However, take care of enabling fingerprint log-in on shared devices (such as a family iPad) where several people’s fingerprints are stored at once – as this means anyone whose fingerprint is saved in the device could access your account.
Keep your software up to date
Whether you use your browser or apps, ensure you install all updates promptly. This ensures you have all the latest security features at your fingertips.
For example, when PSD2 comes into force, we will be introducing the Digital M&S Pass, a functionality in our Mobile Banking app which generates a single-use security code every time you log in. We’ll let you know when to update your app to make the most of this.
Don’t share personal information online
It’s natural to want to share your life on social media. But post a picture of the front door of your new house, update your profile with your date of birth and share a nostalgic post about your old school – and suddenly scammers may have the information they need to get into your accounts.
Make sure your privacy settings are locked down to only show your profile to people you trust and always be mindful of the personal info you’re sharing.
Be careful with texts and emails
Treat all emails and texts saying they’re from your bank with a healthy dose of suspicion. If it’s asking you to enter your log on details, this should set off alarm bells.
If you aren’t sure, either log on to your online banking by typing the address into a new browser window, or call your bank using the number on their website. They’ll let you know if it’s genuine or not.
Don’t use public devices or networks
Always connect to your online banking using computers, devices and networks you know and trust, e.g. your home PC and Wi-Fi. Never log-on using shared Wi-Fi, for example in Cafés and restaurants.
Here’s how to make sure your device is secure.
Always log out
Many online banking sites and apps automatically time out if you’ve not used them for a few minutes. However, to be certain, always make sure you click the log-out button and close the browser window on your phone or computer.
Stay on top of things
Check your statement frequently to keep track of your transactions. Not only can this help you manage your money better, it also helps you spot anything unusual, for example, transactions you don’t recognise. If you do see something that doesn’t add up, let your bank know as soon as possible.
Make the most of mobile pay apps
How many times have you heard people talk about having their card stolen on a night out? Thieves are very opportunistic, so it pays to keep your wits about you.
It’s worth storing your cards on a mobile app, so you don’t even need to take cards out with you. These are usually protected by fingerprint or biometric verification, so your cards remain secure even if your phone is taken.
If you suspect your card or PIN have been stolen, be sure to contact your bank immediately so they can help.
Keep up to date with the latest scams
As mentioned, fraudsters are savvy and are constantly looking for new ways to trick unsuspecting customers.
We’ve put together a list of common scams to help you avoid falling victim to them.
We are constantly thinking of new ways to keep you and your money safe online. However, by following these simple tips you can give yourself that extra layer of reassurance. Which is always nice to know.
Published: 26 September 2019