Long gone are the days in which consumers had to drive to a branch or ATM to conduct financial transactions. Now, it isn’t even necessary to log onto a personal computer for online banking. Mobile banking allows consumers to access their savings or checking account from virtually anywhere—but is it safe? There is always a risk that an identity thief can steal sensitive information regardless of the method one uses to access accounts. However, credit unions are taking smart steps to minimize the risk and protect the sensitive information of their members.
The Possibility of a Lost Phone
One common concern of consumers regarding mobile banking is the possibility of losing their cellphone and their sensitive information along with it. Of course, it’s preferable to get into the habit of placing a cellphone back into a purse or pocket after each use, but this isn’t always possible. Consumers should also protect their phones with a secure password and never allow automated logins for their credit union accounts. After each online banking session, a consumer should log out of the account.
The Use of Public Wi-Fi
Identity thieves can and do monitor public Wi-Fi hotspots. It’s safest to use mobile banking services via a secure home network or other trusted network such as the phone carrier’s network. Exercise caution before using online banking services while traveling; the Wi-Fi hotspots in airports and hotels can be targets of identity thieves.
The Development of Mobile Banking Apps
One of the least secure ways to access online credit union accounts is to use a standard browser. It’s far more secure to download a mobile banking app directly from the credit union and to only access one’s account through the app .
At GCS Credit Union , the security of our members’ financial information is our utmost priority. We offer secure online banking in O’Fallon through our mobile banking app, which allows you to receive important account alerts from anywhere you receive cellphone service. Call a credit union branch at (618) 797-7993 with any questions or concerns you may have about our security protocols.
Your credit union can provide you with access to attractive home mortgage loan options, but before you become a homeowner, you’ll need to make room in your budget for homeowner’s insurance . Homeowner’s insurance is an essential safeguard against damage and theft for your home and belongings.
Types of Coverage
A homeowner’s insurance policy provides coverage for the repair or rebuilding of your home in the event of damage due to covered incidents . If an insured disaster occurs that damages the possessions in your home, your homeowner’s policy should provide reimbursement. Your policy might also provide personal liability coverage, which protects your family from legal liability. For example, your policy would pay for damages if your dog bites your neighbor. Some homeowners also purchase additional living expenses (ALE) coverage, which covers the cost of temporary housing in the event the house needs to be extensively repaired or rebuilt.
Levels of Coverage
There are three basic levels of coverage. These levels govern exactly how much the policy will pay if you file a claim. A better level of coverage is usually associated with higher premiums, but good coverage is a worthwhile investment. The barebones level of coverage is actual cash value, which covers your house and possessions after depreciation is deducted. The next level up is coverage for the replacement cost, which means you would be covered for the actual cash value without deducting for depreciation. The most comprehensive level of coverage is guaranteed or extended replacement cost or value. This coverage level allows for higher costs due to inflation. In other words, even if the cost to repair or rebuild your home exceeds your policy limit, you’ll be fully covered.
Exclusions to Coverage
There are always exclusions to coverage in insurance policies and homeowners should carefully review these before purchasing a policy. It’s common for policies to exclude coverage for damage caused by natural disasters and acts of war. Depending on where you live, it may be wise to purchase an additional rider for flood coverage or another type of coverage like septic repairs.
GCS Credit Union offers so much more than just secure online banking to our members. Our credit union in O’Fallon also connects members to discounted rates and 24/7 claims service with the TruStage Auto & Home Insurance Program. Call (618) 797-7993 to request more information about our insurance partners.
Mobile banking is convenient and safe, but it is not without risk. There are things you can do to bring that risk down to almost zero when you choose to use online banking through your mobile phone. One such thing is downloading your credit union app to use instead of using your mobile browser to access your accounts.
Mobile apps are safer than using mobile browsers to access accounts because of the security built into the apps. Credit union apps have been built with additional security to protect users who are accessing sensitive information on the go on networks that are less secure than home.
The representatives at GCS Credit Union are available to explain your online banking options and help you learn more about getting the most from your accounts. For more information about online banking in O’Fallon or how to join a credit union, please call (618) 797-7993 today.
Online banking is a part of life for most credit union customers, but many customers are also concerned about keeping their sensitive financial information secure. Fortunately, online banking can be both convenient and safe. GCS Credit Union has already built extensive security features into our online banking services, and there are many things you can do to keep your information even safer. Practice security smarts when using online banking with this advice.
Get Wise About Network Security
Where you choose to access your account information matters. If you’re on an unsecure network, such as in a coffee shop or other public place, don’t log into your account. These networks are easily hacked, and your financial information can be exposed. Instead, wait until you’re at a home or on a known network that is protected by a security password.
Think Before You Post on Social Media
Of course you would never post information like your account numbers and passwords on your social media accounts, but you don’t have to do that to make your information vulnerable. Posting about where you live, your birthday, people in your household, and new, large purchases can all make you the target of identity thieves and make it easier to steal your information. For instance, knowing your birthdate and your mother’s maiden name could be enough information for someone to reset your passwords on some accounts. Think carefully before you post facts about your life so you don’t inadvertently put your information at risk.
Protect Your Passwords
Your passwords should be difficult for people to guess, so stay away from things like your birthday, your kids’ names, and your pets’ names. Don’t use your address, phone number, or other easily identifiable information. Instead, opt for a long password that incorporates letters, numbers, and special characters, and never share your password, write it down, or store it in a document on your phone.
If you have questions about protecting your financial information online, GCS Credit Union is here to help. Talk to a representative at our credit union in O’Fallon about online banking, membership, and more. Call (618) 797-7993.