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You may be nervous about banking on the internet or using a mobile banking app. However, software and apps have been specially developed to ensure safety and security. And mobile devices often use touch ID or face ID as part of two-factor authentication for more security.

Online banking is convenient, easy to use and secure. According to a 2019 Forbes magazine article around 77% of Millennials use online banking, but the same article found that 76% of Baby Boomers use it as well.

Security tips for online banking

Never use public Wi-Fi. It is tempting to use public, free Wi-Fi like you might find in a coffee shop. However, you can be easily hacked using public Wi-Fi, unless you have installed Virtual Private Network (VPN) software on your device.

If you must do some banking while you’re in the coffee shop and you don’t have VPN software on your device, turn off Wi-Fi and use your cellular service on your mobile device.

Never follow banking links in a text message or email. Hackers can copy the logo or an entire bank website to make the email look legitimate.

But clicking on the email/text links and signing into what looks like your account gives the hacker everything he needs to steal your identity and your money. If an email or text from your bank requires your attention, open your web browser and access your account through the bank’s website.

More secure than banking websites

After signing into your bank’s website, search for mobile banking, and your bank will offer their official app and show you how to download it to your smartphone or tablet.

You can use the camera on your mobile phone to deposit checks securely into your bank account. On your mobile banking app select the deposits option, then take a picture of the front and back of your endorsed check with your account number written on the back of the check, type the total amount of the deposit and click submit. That’s it!

It will take a few business days before you can access the cash while the bank processes the deposit to your account. You will get an email acknowledging the deposit, and it will also appear in your online account.

Shop safely with virtual credit card

Several banks have the option for customers to create and use virtual credit cards to shop safely online. Virtual credit cards are temporary cards with randomly generated card numbers that you can use instead of your real credit card to make an online purchase. Should the online merchant’s data be compromised, using a virtual credit card will prevent hackers from getting your real-world credit card information.

For a more complete discussion of virtual credit cards, see the Tech Tips article in Rossmoor News, Feb. 13, 2019, page B7. Go to Links.html – on the bottom of the page is a table with links to articles from July 2019 on, and another link to access articles older than July 2019.

Online banking at virtual banks

Banks that exist only online offer lower or no fees on checking and savings, as well as lower rates on loans, than those offered by traditional brick-andmortar banks. Virtual, online banks may also offer higher interest rates on savings and money market accounts, up to around 1% compared to 0.05% offered by brick-and-mortar bank accounts.

To compare rates and fees of the most popular online banks, go to the BankRate website (www. or check out the recommendations from Forbes Magazine, updated September 2020: banks.

Apps to transfer money to family and friends

You can safely transfer money to family and friends using apps such as Zelle, Venmo, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay and Western Union. The apps verify and register both the sender’s and receiver’s email or phone number before you can make a transfer. The apps have different limits on how much money you can transfer in a single transaction or in a week.

Zelle has no fees and works with a long list of banks, limiting transfers to $500 weekly. Venmo charges 3% credit-card payments but no fees for other sources of payment. It has a weekly transfer limit of $4999.99. PayPal limits single transactions up to $60,000, depending on the country and currency.

For a more detailed comparison see the Forbes Magazine article updated September 2020: www.forbes. com/advisor/banking/sending-money-to-family-andfriends- fast Have a tech question or want to see an archive of previous Tech Tips columns? Go to the Computer Club website,, and click on the LINKS menu choice at the top-right of the page.

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