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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Gearing towards a safer digital banking experience in 2021

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Gerald Heriales
Gerald Heriales is a graduate of Bachelor of Banking and Finance from Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP). From an Executive Assistant in Land Bank of the Philippines back in 2007, he is now the youngest Overseas Representative Officer of the Bank. He was assigned in the United Arab Emirates for about five (5) years and now handling the LANDBANK & OFBANK’s operations in Brunei, Indonesia, Northern Sabah & Papua New Guinea.

Digital banking is the automated delivery of banking services through electronic channels. Two of the most common types are online banking, where you access your financial data through a desktop by using a browser and, mobile banking which is app-based, using a mobile device. Their common denominator is the use of the Internet.

Before, a lot of people resort to digital banking mainly because of convenience. But with the threat of COVID-19, the need to be home and to be safe becomes the primary reason. With digital banking, fast and 24/7 access to banking services is now possible. And while online/mobile banking allows you to do many things conveniently like real-time fund transfer & bills payment, still, many remain hesitant to adopt this new development for banking services, opt not to enroll, and utilize this facility. 

In my years of experience in promoting the use of digital banking to the Overseas Filipino community, including the newly launched Overseas Filipino Bank (OFBank) Digital Account Opening Service, the very reason why some people (especially those who are not digitally literate) are afraid to use digital banking, is that they fear they will easily lose their money online, as it is prone to hacking. 

While it is true that there are risks involved in using online & mobile banking, there are however ways on how we can mitigate and protect our digital bank accounts from these uncertainties. Apart from understanding what cybercrime is, here are some tips on how we can protect ourselves from being a victim of these cybercrimes: 

  1. SAFE KEEP ALL YOUR ACCESS CREDENTIALS

Treat your passwords and even your challenge question answers as one of your precious possessions. Never entrust it to anyone. But if you have to, otherwise, make sure that you really trust the person and immediately change your password afterward. Also, if you happen to have logged in to a friend’s device, make sure not to click on the “Remember Password” button. And if you don’t trust your memory, never ever put all your access credentials in one place.

  1. REGULARLY CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD

Some Banks, especially here in the Philippines, have already adopted this as part of their regular security protocol. It maybe is a hassle and annoying at times for you but trust me, it could save you from a painful headache (and heartache) later on. Better safe than sorry.  

  1. BEWARE OF MALICIOUS EMAILS

According to LANDBANK, “phishing” emails ask users for their personal information and account information via spoof email (forged email). Phishing email likely contains wrong spelling, links in the e-mail, threats, and uses names of popular companies. If ever you see these signs, the best way to deal with it is to ignore, block, or delete.

  1. IT PAYS TO CHECK THE WEBSITE

Most of the time if not always, we see the letters HTTP in websites that we browse. But of course, we probably don’t pay much attention to it. In digital banking, there are five letters that we need to pay attention to – H.T.T.P.S. It stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. It is a combination of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) with the Secure Socket Layer (SSL)/Transport Layer Security (TSL) protocol. HTTPS is mandatory for bank website security. So the next time you visit your online banking platform, always check these five letters. Here’s a thing, they always come with a padlock on the side.

  1. WHEN IN DOUBT, ASK YOUR BANK.

If you’re not sure whether the SMS or E-mail asking you to do something about your account is legit, there’s no better option to do but to verify it with your bank. If calling would be expensive and inconvenient, send them an email or a direct message in their social media accounts instead (yes make sure you follow your Bank’s Facebook page). Also, if you are out of the Philippine soil, some Philippine Banks especially the bigger ones, deploy their Bank Representatives in areas where there are a big concentration of Overseas Filipinos (e.g. UAE, Singapore, US, Canada, etc.) 

Nothing in this world comes risk-free. Everything has its corresponding share of uncertainty – even you crossing the streets. But do we stop living? NO. Same with technology. So, don’t be afraid. It is always wise to take precautions but, just remember those tips and, by practicing online safety, you’ll be amazed by the power of digital banking.

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