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VPN for online banking: is it really safe?

Using a VPN for online banking enhances your security and your privacy. Your bank is probably doing everything it can to keep your money safe. However, stolen identities and banking fraud are still very real concerns. Here’s how a VPN can help.

VPN for online banking: is it really safe?

One of the best ways to take charge of your security and protect yourself is with a Virtual Private Network (VPN). But is it really safe to use a VPN for online transactions? And is a VPN safe for online banking?

Is online banking safe?

Online banking is safe, under most circumstances. Whether you’re accessing your account through a desktop browser or using an application on your smartphone, digital banking is a relatively safe way to manage your finances.

Risks arise when you fail to take the necessary precautions that keep any online account safe. Your passwords need to be strong, and you should take steps to protect yourself from malware and Wi-Fi spying. One such step is using a VPN.

How can a VPN protect you?

Firstly, what is a VPN? A VPN is a great tool that allows you to access the internet safely and securely. It encrypts your sensitive data before it even leaves your device and connects to the web. This means that no one can see your traffic – neither snoopers nor your Internet Service Provider.

Your data then goes to a VPN server, where it changes your IP address and your apparent location (if desired). This new information goes to your online destination (in this case, your bank’s website) and back. As a result, the receiver of your data will not be able to see where the data originally came from. So is a VPN safe for online banking? Absolutely.

When to use a VPN for online banking

Is a VPN safe for online banking? Yes! Here are three situations where a VPN will enhance your security safety and help with secure internet bank access.

You use public Wi-Fi

Connecting to public Wi-Fi, whether while traveling or enjoying a cup of coffee in your local café, is risky, especially if the network has no password. Hackers can easily use open networks to hack into your device. Some hackers even create free impostor Wi-Fi networks in public places. It might look like free airport Wi-Fi, but it will actually be a fake network – a hacker’s gateway to your device.

If you find yourself using public Wi-Fi for your online banking needs, make sure you use a VPN. It will encrypt your activity, which means that any snoopers connected on the same network will not be able to brute-force their way into your device.

You use mobile apps to access your online banking

Is a VPN safe for mobile banking? Absolutely! In fact, if your mobile device is connected to public Wi-Fi, it can actually be safer to use a VPN.

Even though mobile devices are more difficult to crack than computers, they can still be targeted. If you use mobile banking apps or transfer funds on the go, you should install VPN on your mobile, too. NordVPN enhances your cybersecurityand allows you to use the same account on up to six devices so you can rest assured that your connection is safe on whichever device you use.

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When using a VPN won’t help you

While a VPN is a perfect privacy tool for those wishing to be undisturbed when online, there are some situations where a VPN just won’t help.

If you are using a free VPN

We don’t recommend using a free VPN. If a service is free, it will probably be stuffed with ads that will record your behavior, store that data, and be sold to third parties.

In addition to this, free VPNs usually have low-cost infrastructure. They are not designed to support all VPN functionalities and are much more susceptible to IP leaks. If you’re using a VPN to protect yourself from hackers, that’s the last thing you want.

Free VPNs also serve a lot of customers, which means that server loading times will be much higher and your internet speed will be lower. All things considered, a free VPN probably can’t help you with safe online banking.

If you are using a VPN and keep changing your locations when accessing your bank accounts

There’s a reason why banks ask you to notify them if you leave the country. If they see someone logging into your account or transferring money in any country other than the one you reside in, it will raise suspicion. If the location of your billing address and your IP location won’t match, your bank might identify it as fraud and block your card or void any online purchases. If you are using a VPN for online banking, connect to your home country.

If you use a VPN and visit untrusted websites

If you are visiting suspicious websites (especially ones that have HTTP in their URL instead of HTTPS) it’s very likely that they are already infected with malware that could easily compromise your device. Such websites are not secure and could expose the data you input on the website to hackers.

If you don’t practice good internet behavior

Good internet behavior is important. A VPN is safe for online banking, but you shouldn’t forget to take other precautionary measures too. If you don’t have an up-to-date antivirus, your operating system is old, or you ignore antivirus alerts, then you will still be at risk of being hacked.

If you use weak passwords and your data leaks

In recent years, many companies accidentally leaked user data. Such information can easily land in the hands of a hacker, and if you used a weak password (even worse if you used it for all of your accounts), then the hacker will be able to access your bank account without even breaking into your computer.

Can banks detect a VPN?

While a bank cannot tell that you’re using a VPN specifically, they can see your IP address — or rather, the IP address of the VPN server you’re connected to. This won’t be a problem necessarily, as your IP address does change depending on the network you’re connected to.

However, if you connect to a server in an unusual location, like a forgone country you don’t normally visit, your bank might ask you to confirm your identity.

Is online banking safe without a VPN?

Is online banking safe even if you’re not using a VPN? It depends. In many cases, if you’re practicing safe online habits, you should still have a reasonable level of protection while using an official banking site. But if you use a VPN for banking or online transactions, your data traffic is additionally encrypted, which keeps your transaction extra safe from prying eyes.

If you’re looking for the best VPN for banking, just follow the tips in this article and on our blog to keep hackers from stealing your information.

What to do if you can’t connect with a VPN

If you don’t have a VPN, or if for some reason your VPN isn’t working, can you still use online banking safely? In most cases, the answer is yes. Online banking websites and apps come with encryption and security protocols in place, as banks assume most users won’t have VPN protection when using their services.

However, if you’re using online banking without a VPN, we would recommend that you avoid using public Wi-Fi.

More ways to secure online banking transactions

As well as using a VPN, you can implement some of these online banking safety tips to enhance your security.

  • Don’t keep unprotected login credentials on your device. This goes for any passwords, but it’s especially important when it comes to online banking. If someone steals or accesses your device, they’re likely to check your notes and messages for any login details. It might seem like a good way to avoid forgetting this sensitive information, but it’s not worth the risk.
  • Be wary of emails and SMS messages from your bank. Hackers often impersonate banks when emailing their victims. If your bank contacts you and prompts you to follow a link, be on your guard. When receiving an unexpected message or email from your bank, it’s best to contact them directly, ideally by phone, to check the message’s authenticity.
  • Diversify your accounts. For added security, don’t use one bank account for all your transactions. A good security measure is to keep a separate bank account that you use for online activity, and which only contains limited funds. This means that, even if a site that stores your payment information gets hacked, the amount you can lose is restricted to whatever is in that one account.

Why use NordVPN?

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    NordVPN might be the best VPN for banking, thanks to the strength of its encryption and its privacy policy. NordVPN uses next-generation encryption , so you can be confident that your online activities, sensitive data, and bank transactions won’t be seen by prying eyes. To help with safe online banking, get NordVPN.
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    You can connect up to 6 devices using the same NordVPN account. Whether it’s your laptop, phone or tablet, your online transactions will be safe on all of them.
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    You can choose from over 5500 servers in 59 countries. If you choose the same location as your country of residence, your data will be protected and your bank won’t disrupt your transactions.
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    And with Threat Protection, you will be able to block unwanted ads and protect yourself from malware.
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    Using our Meshnet feature will allow you to remotely access your home devices while you’re abroad, and ensuring that you can connect to your banking apps from a familiar home IP address.
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    We provide high-quality customer support, ensuring that our users can always ask for help. To find out more from them, check out our NordVPN reviews.

Online security starts with a click.

Stay safe with the world’s leading VPN

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Jomilė Nakutavičiūtė
Jomilė Nakutavičiūtė Jomilė Nakutavičiūtė
Jomilė is a content writer who loves to investigate the latest Internet privacy and security news. She thrives on looking for solutions to problems and sharing her knowledge with NordVPN readers and customers.