There are currently numerous methods to access your bank account from smartphones, tablets, computers, ATMs and applications. As such, there are just as many ways for criminals to also break into your account. Protecting your account while online involves more than simply using a strong password. Develop good banking habits overall, whether online or in-person.
Inspect every ATM
Before inserting your debit card into the ATM for cash withdrawal or to deposit money, inspect the machine for anything that looks odd. Pay attention to the keypad and the reader where you insert the card. If anything moves after you wiggle it, the ATM has likely been tampered with by credit card scammers using skimming devices.
According to Mike Zebedee, the electronic banking operations manager at Bank Midwest, can skimming happen anywhere you swipe your card (ATMs, gas pumps, in store terminals, etc.). He added you’re more likely to notice any irregularities within the machines if you visit the same ATM consistently.
“Whenever you’re in doubt, don’t use it,” said Zebedee.
If your debit card has been compromised in any way, you should contact Bank Midwest immediately. Our branches offer instant issue cards, where you’ll be able to receive a new debit card in just a matter of minutes. Even after the bank transitions to EMV chip cards (in 2016), locations will be able to issue and/or replace debit cards instantly.
Mobile banking: Apps vs. browser
Another way to better protect yourself, particularly if you’re banking on-the-go, is to utilize the Bank Midwest mobile banking app, which is currently available for both iOS and Android devices. When using the app, you’re able to see specific instances of potential fraud, but the main security feature revolves around downloading the app and associating it with your unique phone number. If you log in to your account from a different phone, security questions will be prompted. Ideally, these questions are ones that only you can answer.
Utilize mobile payments
One of the best ways to protect yourself during and after transactions may be from mobile payment systems. These systems enable you to upload your debit and credit cards onto your phone. You can then use your fingerprint to pay for items at participating stores. As it stands, Apple Pay and Android Pay are currently two large systems.
“Those are much more secure ways of making payments,” Zebedee said.
However, merchants need to upgrade their payment terminals to be able to accept mobile payments. Financial institutions also need to work with payment network providers. Bank Midwest is currently working with providers so bank-issued debit cards are accepted by mobile services like Apple Pay and others.
As a result of the payments being tied to your phone and fingerprint, security is much greater than swiping a card for each transaction. Zebedee said these mobile payment options can help prevent fraud and losses, which is inherently good for the customers and banks.
Even though potential bank scams are out there, Zebedee said customers have become more aware of fraud today. In order to protect your bank account, always keep an eye out for suspicious activity, monitor your accounts and try to stay alert for tips on how you can help protect yourself in a growing and ever-changing digital world.