Internet banking has transformed the way we manage funds and transact with financial institutions. Transacting online saves time and money expended in visiting the branch. Especially if you are investing or buying life insurance plans.
Nowadays you can use National Electronic Fund Transfer (NEFT), Unified Payment Interface (UPI), debit and even credit card to transact online. This development means now you can purchase a term insurance plan from your living room sitting on your couch, invest in retirement plans from your work desk and so on.
COVID-19 has fuelled this growth further as people hesitate to touch physical currency for fear of contracting the Coronavirus. The numbers speak for themselves. As per an RBI report available on site, the volume of NEFT transactions has grown by over 40%, from 194Cr to 274Cr between 2017-18 and 2019-20, whereas the UPI transactions have leapt by a whopping 1274%, from 91Cr to 1251Cr during the same period.
Such rapid development also means you need to continuously learn and adapt to the new rules to transact confidently and safely. Although banking technology is robust and frequently upgraded to thwart any financial fraud, it is eventually your responsibility to protect your money when online. These 10 tips will help you stay vigilant and transact safely:
1. Ensure Privacy While Transacting
Money matters should be strictly dealt with at home or in a place you trust. Public Internet networks are risky. Hackers can gain access to your confidential information on a shared public network. So, the next time you are tempted to pay off your bills while sitting at the airport or in a coffee shop, hold yourself back.
2. Things you Should Never Share with Others
“Sharing is Caring” but don’t be daring by sharing your financial details. This one could be a costly bet. Here are the things you should never share with anyone:
a. Card PIN: The card swiping device could be several meters away across the counter but don’t get tempted to shout out your PIN for the counter staff to enter.
b. ATMs: Ditto for withdrawals. Do not give away your card and PIN to anyone. Not only do you risk fraudulent usage, the bank will not recognize the transaction if the ATM does not dispense cash, but money gets debited from your account. The card is for your use only.
c. CVV and Expiry Date: The CVV number mentioned on the backside of the card is for your use only. It is required for completing an online transaction. The only consolation is that a mobile OTP is also needed in combination with the card number, expiry date, and CVV to complete any online transaction.
d. OTP: Scammers will try to convince you to give away the OTP received on your registered mobile number. No bank will call you and ask for card or OTP details. Visit the branch or call the number listed on the bank’s website if you need clarification.
3. Create Difficult to Guess Passwords
Some sites make it mandatory to use a combination of uppercase, lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Some websites don’t allow using first or last names in the password. There are good restrictions to have. Better still, even in the absence of such restrictions, you must always create a password that even your best of pals cannot guess.
4. Check for SSL on Webpages
If you see a “lock” near the web address, it implies that the site is safe and secure to use. Lack of an SSL certificate makes the site vulnerable to hackers. Never transact on unsecured sites. Most search engines, including Google, rank non-secure sites very poorly. Although there are compelling reasons to buy term life insurance online, doing a security check wont harm you.
5. Check for Security Certificates and Payment Gateway Names Before Payment
If in doubt, check the security certificate. Also, check whether the page is a genuine payment gateway before initiating any transaction.
6. Check for Errors on Web Pages or Apps
An error while initiating a transaction is a sufficient red flag to pack up and leave. Errors are gaps left wide open for phishing attacks.
7. Do Not Click on Links from Unrecognised Sources
Click baits pull visitors using sensational headlines and coax them into sharing personal details. This is a phishing strategy. Do not click on suspicious-looking links that come into your inbox. They may look genuine but could be cloaked pages pushing you to download malware onto your computer.
8. Do not Leave your Device Unattended in Office or Public Places
Smartphones generally have banking apps installed. UPI apps just ask for a password to initiate a transaction. Leaving an unlocked device unattended puts you at high risk. Leaving laptops open gives hackers a chance to quickly install malware. Your confidential files may also be copied and shared or sold in the public domain.
9. Avoid Activating NFC & BLI (Touch Cards) or Limit Transaction Amount to a Minimum
Near Field Communication (NFC) cards are used for contactless transactions. But hackers can capture data from the vicinity of 40cm thus putting your information at considerable risk. If you must use such cards, put a bare minimum amount as the limit.
10. Ask your Bank to Verify Cheque Payments if it Exceeds a Certain Amount (RBI Positive Pay Facility)
In September 2020, RBI has offered an optional Positive Pay Facility to validate cheques worth more than Rs.50,000. The cheque issuer can opt for this facility and electronically update basic details of the issued cheque. This is a double-checking mechanism before clearing high-value cheques. It is mandatory for Rs.5 lakhs and above.
Advancement in technology has also spurted an increase in the number of cyber thefts. Fraudsters are always on the prowl looking for loopholes and trying to con people. Online transactions have made lives easier, but a few precautions will go a long way in safeguarding one’s money. So, if you are planning to buy a term life insurance, ensure that you keep all the above-mentioned points in account before filling out any personal or financial details.