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