How To Keep Your Financial Accounts Safe

How to protect your financial accounts

Ransomware attacks have spread like wildfire across the globe and are becoming more pervasive each year. It's frustrating, but protecting your identity and assets are part of today's reality. Here are 10 steps you can take to keep your financial accounts safe.

Top 5 Steps To Keep Your Financial Accounts Safe

1. Use a service that aggregates your financial accounts 

The easiest way to review all of your financial accounts quickly for suspicious activity is to aggregate them. You can utilize secure software tools that will show all of your accounts together in one place.

Personal Capital is my favorite way to do this. I've been using their software since 2012 and met with their management team on multiple occasions. Users on Personal Capital aggregate an average of 15 different accounts. And can view transactions across all of them by logging into Personal Capital’s dashboard.

The easier it is to review your accounts, without sacrificing security, the more often you’ll be able to do it.

2. Limit access points to your financial accounts

Consumers have countless financial accounts, and the more financial sites they log into, the more they open themselves up to threats.

Limit the number of times you log into your individual financial sites (by using a financial aggregation service), and you’ll limit the number of threats that can compromise your data.

3. Monitor your accounts regularly

It’s good practice to monitor your financial accounts on a daily and weekly basis. Use a financial aggregation tool like Personal Capital that shows all of your accounts in one place.

Also, don't disable notifications. Proactively get account updates through push notifications or emails that can flag any changes to your spending.

4. Utilize two-factor authentication sign-on

Another way to keep your financial accounts safe is to utilize two-factor authentication. When selecting a financial app, use only the apps that have two-factor authentication sign-on.

This way if you log into a new device you will be required to provide mobile phone or email verification to confirm your identity.

5. Use read-only apps

When selecting a financial aggregation tool or money management app, it is best to use a read-only app. This means that no money transfers can be made from the app, and a hacker cannot transfer your funds to their accounts.

Five More Ways To Keep Your Financial Accounts Safe From Hackers

6. Don’t reuse your passwords & avoid sharing

Reusing passwords is an age-old mistake that leaves consumers open to an attack. Use a unique password at every financial site, and make sure to use a financial aggregation service with a secure password.

Change your passwords at least every 90 days to keep your financial accounts safe. Avoid sharing your financial account passwords with anyone. And if you do need to share a password, for example with your spouse, share passwords in person or over the phone, not by email or text.  Do not use a shared password on non-shared accounts.

7. Update your operating system (e.g. Windows, IOS) patches

Patches are software updates that correct a security vulnerability. Be sure to update your patches periodically to protect your financial, and other, data. Both Windows and iOS have settings that allow patches to be updated automatically, so that you don’t need to remember to manually update your software.

8. Don’t access your financial accounts on public WiFi

Public WiFi networks are prime targets for hackers as these networks often are not secured. Try to avoid surfing the web on public WiFi, especially if you are accessing your bank or other financial accounts.

9. Don’t store your credit card information online

When you shop online, avoid storing your credit or debit card information on your favorite retail sites as this can leave you vulnerable to a breach. While entering your information every time you shop online or memorizing your credit card number may be tedious, it’s much less tedious than dealing with being hacked.

10. Beware of phishing attempts

Email phishing attempts occur every day. Look out for any suspicious emails asking you to download attachments, to click on links or to share bank information.

If you receive a suspicious email that appears to be from someone you know, confirm by phone whether they sent it, before you click on any links or attachments. Always be cautious when it comes to keeping your devices and financial accounts safe.

Related: Personal Capital Review: The Best Free Financial Tools On The Web

Recommendation To Build Wealth

Manage Your Money In One Place: Sign up for Personal Capital, the web’s #1 free wealth management tool to get a better handle on your finances. You can use Personal Capital to help monitor illegal use of your credit cards and other accounts with their tracking software.

In addition to better money oversight, run your investments through their award-winning Investment Checkup tool to see exactly how much you are paying in fees. I was paying $1,700 a year in fees I had no idea I was paying.

After you link all your accounts, use their Retirement Planning calculator that pulls your real data to give you as pure an estimation of your financial future as possible using Monte Carlo simulation algorithms. Definitely run your numbers to see how you’re doing. I’ve been using Personal Capital since 2012 and have seen my net worth skyrocket during this time thanks to better money management.

Planning for retirement when paying for private grade school
Personal Capital sample retirement planner calculator. Are you on track? Click to find out.

About the Author: Sam began investing his own money ever since he opened an online brokerage account in 1995. Sam loved investing so much that he decided to make a career out of investing by spending the next 13 years after college working at two of the leading financial service firms in the world. During this time, Sam received his MBA from UC Berkeley with a focus on finance and real estate. was started in 2009 and is one of the most trusted personal finance sites today with over 1.5 million organic pageviews a month. Financial Samurai has been featured in top publications such as the LA Times, The Chicago Tribune, Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal.