Are Online Bank Statement Portals Secure?
Banking has changed dramatically over the last century, with the shift to digital meaning that the sum you see in your bank account is really just the result of a series of complex algorithms.
So, how do you know that your money is secure? One way that your money is protected is by thoughtful and complex security protecting your personal financial information.
When you apply for a car loan, you need to provide a range of information, including payslips and recent bank statements.
To make it easier to provide your bank statements without requiring you to print and scan them, you might be asked to use a secure online bank statement portal.
How does a bank statement portal actually work?
A bank statement portal will have information on the login page where you can find out how the portal works and what information is being sent through to the end user.
The bank statement portal used by Positive Group is a read-only data transfer that sends your statements from the last 90 days through to your assigned lending specialist.
How is my data protected?
The bank statement portal sends your banking details directly through to your bank with an encryption level of 256-bit.
Explaining the tech language - 256-bit encryption
256-bit encryption refers to the length of the encryption key used to secure a data stream or file. It means that there are 2 to the power of 256 different possible combinations - an exponential number that is currently impossible to decrypt by the fastest computers available in 2018.
Right now the fastest supercomputer in the world is Tianhe-2 (in English: MilkyWay-2). It would take millions of years to crack this key, so for now, your data is mathematically very safe.
This high-level encryption is used while your data is in transit from the portal to your bank and back, and ensures that your passwords and login details cannot be intercepted.
The steps to provide bank statements
When you arrive at the bank statement portal, you can review a document that explains how the portal protects your security before proceeding to enter any personal information. You then follow these steps:
Step 1: Once you are happy with the security settings, you can proceed to enter your full name. Press 'start' to move to the next page.
Step 2: Select the bank where your accounts are held. If you have a savings account with one bank, but your mortgage with another bank, there's an opportunity to add statements from the second bank at the end by returning to this step
Step 3: Enter your online banking login information. This information is secured by 256-bit encryption.
Step 4: Select the accounts you need to include in your loan application. Usually, you will submit all of your accounts because this will mean a faster loan approval.
Step 5: Your statements will be automatically and securely sent through to your allocated lending manager. They'll review these in the context of your loan application to match you to the best lender, and get in touch with some possibilities soon.
It's a really easy process to follow, once you know what to expect and how your information is being kept safe you'll feel more confident in using the bank statements portal.
Identifying a secure online form
Websites used to have an 'SSL' certificate that verified that any information you enter to a form would only be received by the intended person or company.
The 'https' prefix to the website URL has replaced this and indicates that a website is encrypted with Transport Layer Security (TLS) or Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). If a website you are visiting has 'https' at the beginning of the URL, any information you enter to a form will be encrypted before it is sent to the receiver. See the URL on this page, for example.
If you are using Google Chrome, Safari, or Firefox, you will also see a padlock displayed in the address bar.
How can I keep my information safe online?
You can stay in control of how your information is used online. Here's how:
- Ensure that your bank has two-step login verification. MyGov has this in place so that when you enter your username and password, you then need to add a verification code that's either emailed directly to you or SMS to your phone.
- Change your password regularly.
- Consider using a password manager, such as Dashlane or LastPass.
- Don't save your password in your browser.
- Personalise your passwords with information that's not public.
- Don't use public wifi to do your online banking.
- Contact your bank if someone tries to log in to your accounts.
- Only enter personal contact information to a secure site.
Staying safe online isn't too hard once you understand how the websites you use most use your data and put some healthy habits in place to keep your personal information and banking details secure.