Is your online banking password secure?

In the face of online security fears and data hacks, it has never been more important to pick your passwords wisely, none more so than your online banking passwords.  Despite this being common knowledge, many people use the same password for multiple items, with a 2015 poll stating that only 12% of people used a different password for every account.

How to choose a good password

Passwords are not the be all and end all of security, but they are your first line of defence, and it should be as strong as possible.  You should include letters, numbers and symbols, and avoid any personal data.  You may think a hacker won’t know your dog’s name or daughter’s date of birth but think about the footprint you leave on social and that other people leave for you.

You can use a mix of random words that nobody would guess in association, for example tomato, bottle and fish.  You could then mix in some numbers and symbols to strengthen it – T0mato8ottl3F!sh.  The key is never to choose addresses, family birthdays, key friends and family names or postcodes.

Never write down your passwords

Keeping your passwords written down in a Word file titled ‘passwords’ might be convenient but it’s not a sensible idea.  Neither is a scrap of paper in your wallet or on a memo pad on your phone.  If you absolutely have to keep a record of your passwords then either put it in code or use a password manager.

People can worry that using password manager to keep all passwords in one place is risky, but typically the encryption on these programmes is tough by nature of design, and there are a number to choose from.

Who is it safe to share your password with?

No one, is the short answer.  There are multiple cases in the news where people as close as family, best friends or accountants have taken advantage of people’s trust to take their money.  You should never share your security information or passwords with anyone.

Likewise you should never share passwords over the phone – a legitimate bank or e-money issuer will never ask for your passwords or security numbers, so if someone claiming to be from your bank is doing this, you shouldn’t hand over that information, ever.