We've all heard the stories. Bank closures are happening left, right, and center. And it's not only small, developing banks that are affected by this trend. Even established legacy banks are feeling the heat. Depositors are facing great uncertainty, which has triggered the move to online-only banking.
This comes at a time when hackers target accounts of unsuspecting victims, cleaning out their hard-earned money in a matter of minutes. To protect your money from unpredictable closures and cyber criminals, you must learn to recognize these uncertainties and take proactive steps. But how can you do that?
Read on as we explore the current banking situation, discuss cybersecurity best practices for online banking, and talk about what to consider if you're thinking about switching banks. With the proper knowledge, you can rest assured that your money and personal information are safe.
Understanding the Current Banking Landscape
According to an FDIC report, there was a notable drop in the number of insured institutions between 2021 and 2022. The decline in bank numbers is primarily attributed to bank closures due to several factors including a lack of capital to pay clients.
Banks closing in the US is not a new phenomenon. Crypto-friendly Signature Bank is the latest addition to the list. This comes just a few days after the Silicon Valley Bank was shut down by regulators. We saw the same in 2021 following branch closures targeting Wells Fargo and the U.S. Bank and Trust.
The global COVID pandemic has also drastically impacted the banking industry. Quarantine measures have shifted more financial services online, and with this trend comes unwarranted dishonest intent. But what does this mean for your money?
According to recent data, the annual global loss to cybercriminals currently stands at 10.3 billion U.S. dollars and is predicted to increase by the end of 2023. This has caused many consumers to report feeling some degree of financial insecurity. People are growing increasingly skeptical of taking advantage of banking opportunities.
Fortunately, there are measures you can take to ensure that your money remains safe while banking during these uncertain times. It's imperative to prioritize cybersecurity and safety protocols, such as changing passwords regularly, using two-factor authentication, not leaving any accounts open on public or shared devices, and monitoring your credit report continuously.
Keeping Your Data Safe and Secure
Now that everything is shifting to the digital realm, it's more important than ever to ensure your data is secure. Fraudsters are out there, and they want to take advantage of vulnerable moments like the downtime that arises when a branch is closed, even temporarily. These tips will help protect yourself and your financial credentials:
Monitor Your Bank Account Activity
Log into your banking account regularly (preferably daily) to check for suspicious activity. Look for withdrawals or purchases that you don't recognize. If you ever spot something suspicious, contact your bank immediately so they can investigate the activity.
Use Strong Passwords
Creating complex passwords is key to keeping your data secure online. Use at least eight characters; include uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols; avoid using common words; and change your passwords regularly. Consider using a password manager if you need help remembering your passwords.
Invest in Security Software
Investing in anti-malware software or a robust antivirus program can help protect against online threats. Opt for multi-layered protection programs, such as firewalls and sandboxing capabilities. This should give you peace of mind when banking online or making purchases from unfamiliar sites.
Tips for Protecting Your Money
With bank closures and cybercrime at an all-time high, you must take steps to protect your financial safety. Here are some tips:
- Set up transaction alerts with your bank. This way, you can keep an eye on any suspicious activity or get notified of changes to the banking system you use.
- Regularly review accounts for fraudulent charges or transfers.
- Use safe payment methods with built-in fraud protection, such as mobile payments or credit cards.
- Create strong passwords for bank accounts and credit cards.
- Consider switching banks if security breaches or fraud have been reported at your current institution. Do your research first, read through customer reviews, and look into fees that may be charged with a new account.
Strengthening Your Cybersecurity Protocols and Policies
When it comes to protecting your money, one of the significant things you should consider is bringing your cybersecurity protocols and policies up to date. Here's how:
Establish Accident Response Procedures
An incident response plan gives you a roadmap for quickly addressing potential security threats and limiting the damages. A solid plan should include the right team, steps to take once the threat or breach is identified, and escalation paths if necessary.
Train Your Employees on Cyber Risks
Sending out memos for new security protocols isn't enough these days. Your staff must understand the risks associated with cybercrime and the safety measures they need to take to protect the company assets, data, and customer information. Investing resources in employee training goes a long way toward reducing breaches.
Stay Up-to-Date With Evolving Threats
Cybersecurity threats constantly evolve, so monitoring new technological developments (as well as new attack patterns) helps stay ahead of any possible breaches. Awareness of the current trends enables you to identify vulnerabilities across your network before malicious actors exploit them.
Evaluating Your Bank's Security Measures & Performance
What kind of encryption does the bank use for data transmission? Is your identity verified? What about their authentication protocols and fraud prevention methods? How do they handle suspicious activity or requests? Answers to these questions tell you how quickly your financial institution can respond to changes in regulations, technology, or other conditions affecting its performance.
It pays to do some research on banks in your area that are consistent and reliable when it comes to cybersecurity. Banks may improve or worsen depending on how well they account for cyber threats.
Your bank must take extra security steps to keep your money and data safe. Regularly monitoring a bank's performance will help you keep up with trends, so you can ensure you use a secure and reliable partner for your banking needs.
What to Do When Switching Banks
Research the New Bank
Do some research before signing on the dotted line with a prospective bank. Inquire about their security policies and if that bank is FDIC-insured to protect your money against potential loss in an economic crisis.
Be sure to ask about their customer service offerings as well. The last thing you want is to be locked into a situation where you can't get access to the help or services you need in an already vulnerable environment.
Keep Your Information Secure
You want to ensure your personal information isn't breached during bank switching. Moving your accounts increases your risk of cyber theft.
Find out how securely the new bank protects your data by looking for customer ratings and reviews. Also, look into any security measures they have taken recently, such as encryption or two-factor authentication, to ensure that all transactions are secure.
Check Out Your Local Community Banks & Credit Unions
It may be worth looking into local community banks and credit unions too. They often have better rates and offers than larger, more established banks. Of course, it's still essential to research and ensure all other criteria are met before going with them.
The banking landscape can be treacherous, especially when it's in flux. It's essential to stay informed and educated on trends affecting banking operations to protect yourself and your business. Armed with the knowledge from our guide and an eye for red flags, you are ready to take the necessary steps for a safe and secure banking experience.
Trava can help you navigate the banking landscape with safety and security in mind, so you can focus on growing your business. Don't let the cyber risks slow you down; contact us today!