The Internet is a convenient destination for consumers, general surfers, and for investors. Online banking and online investing has become increasingly popular for both the investor and for the financial institutions. Lower overheads for the banks, in particular, mean that they can pass some of these cost savings onto their potential customers. Subsequently, shopping around for a bank or savings account online can yield some of the better interest rates and a broader range of offers.

While the Internet offers ease, improved investment opportunities, and better rates, it also breeds a degree of skepticism in investors. Handled properly there is no reason not to use the Internet to conduct your banking and investing. You should certainly be sure, however, that you are using a legitimate and trusted bank, and you should always do your utmost to only submit personal details online when using a safe, online environment.

Check The Bank Details

Checking the bank itself should be your first step. The FDIC insures each depositor to an FDIC insured bank up to the value of $100,000. This means that should the bank go bankrupt and you have money invested in an account with that bank you should still see the return of that capital.

Banks that are FDIC insured know that this is a selling point. As such, they display an FDIC logo on their site. These logos can be copied and pasted to any website so its mere existence on a site does not necessarily mean that the bank is a legitimate one.

Fortunately the FDIC also provides an online service called Bank Find, (http://www2.fdic.gov/idasp/main_bankfind.asp). Enter the name of the bank into the Bank Find system and click Find. This will, in the case of a legitimate site, present you with details of the bank that you can check against the details on site. If the details match then you can proceed, safe in the knowledge that the bank is at least FDIC insured.

Signing Up For A New Account

Signing up for an account, as well as processing any transactions, needs to be completed on a secure section of the bank’s website. SSL (Secure Socket Layers) encryption is the standard for online secure payments and data transmission. Again, many websites include an SSL logo, but the account sign-up page and any other page that requires the input of personal information should begin with https: rather than just http:. Information you submit on these pages will be submitted securely.

If you don’t feel comfortable signing up online, then look for contact details. A toll-free number is obviously preferable and using this number guarantees that your information will be kept secure from prying eyes. As long as you use a securely encrypted web page or sign up for an account offline then your details should be kept safe.

Choosing A Secure User Name And Password

Online security is paramount. Choose an account and password combination that you will remember but will not be easily guessed by others. Ensure that the two are not too similar, and that your account name isn’t the same as your real name. T he most secure of account passwords include numbers, letters, uppercase, lowercase, and special characters and are changed on a regular basis.

Looking After Your Banking

Keeping your details and your money secure is important. By using a bank that is FDIC insured you can rest easy knowing that should something untoward happen to the bank you use, the money you have invested or saved will be returned to you. Only submit personal information on a web page that offers SSL security (indicated by the prefix https: in the domain name) and use an account name and password that are highly secure and regularly changed. This way you can protect your money and yourself while you enjoy the convenience that the Internet offers.

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