A note from Charlie – online banking tips

July 7th, 2016 Charlie Funk
Charlie Funk

At a recent community event, a distinguished senior citizen who is a former leader in our community approached me.  He said, “we need a banking for geezers” class. Say that again? What this man wanted was more information from his banker in terms of technology. As he said “we geezers know this stuff is good, but we don’t always have the self-confidence to use it.”

I surveyed a few of our customer service and IT employees and they provided a number of tips that I think you will find helpful – geezer or not. But first, a caveat:  some of this is not “new news”; in fact, it is old news and only requires a bit of self-discipline.

About passwords:  we all know we should make them somewhat complex and should change them with some degree of frequency. And, we should use different passwords for different accounts we have.

Enabling the “auto-lock” portion of your device is wise. In other words, your device should turn off automatically if left idle for a period of time and a pass code should be required to re-access it.

Keep your device’s updates current. When you receive notice of updates available, you should download them. Often, these updates add security features.

Don’t “jailbreak” or “root” your phone. What? Phone manufactures put restrictions on phones that prevent users from downloading unauthorized apps, skipping over important system updates or making other changes to the key programs that keep things running smoothly and securely.  ‘Jailbreaking’ (iPhones) and ‘rooting’ (Android), refers to the process of removing those restrictions.

Only download apps from the authorized app stores. This will assure that you have trustworthy and not “rogue” apps.

Be wary of logging into your bank account when you are signed into public Wi-Fi networks (such as in an airport or coffee shop). This is because fraud artists might be able to access the information you are transmitting or viewing. Also, don’t send account numbers or other sensitive information through regular e-mails or text messages because those are not necessarily secure.

If you check your account balance frequently, you might consider using the MidWestOne “instant balance” feature, which offers a very good balance between convenience and security. It is available with the MidWestOne mobile banking app.

There is nothing that is revolutionary here. But, as they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This is true whether you are a millennial or a geezer!

Charlie Funk

About the author

Charlie Funk is President and CEO of MidWestOne Bank. He works with the MidWestOne team to oversee the daily operation of the bank.

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