indicatorAdvice for Albertans during the COVID-19 pandemic

How to bank online securely

Tips on how to bank online securely and protect your information from online fraudsters.

By ATB Financial 7 March 2022 3 min read

As physical distancing and other safety measures became the norm, more Albertans turned to online and mobile banking to manage their money and complete transactions. From paying for curbside delivery to sending e-transfers, online banking is convenient and contactless. For some, it’s been a difficult transition and you might have some questions about how safe it is and what you can do to keep your personal information personal.

While financial institutions have processes and procedures that keep your money and information safe, the steps listed below will help you play your part in keeping your online banking secure and mitigating any fraud risks. 

Take this interactive quiz to learn how secure your online banking practices are.

Here are four tips to help you navigate online banking securely.

1. Lock it up

The first step is to make sure you password protect or lock whatever device you use to bank online. That way if you misplace your phone or walk away from the computer, your information won't be open for anyone to view.

The same applies to your social media privacy settings. Making your account private can protect you from hackers that troll social media accounts for information, like security question answers, that can help them access your bank account.

One of the best and easiest ways to protect yourself is to opt for two-factor authentication with your financial institution. To verify it’s you, you'll be sent a code text or email. This can happen at login or at any time during an online banking session to ensure the activity that is being performed is being authorized by you.

Yes, it can seem inconvenient at first, but it’s one of the best ways to keep your account secure. ATB Personal app users can also activate biometric login (fingerprint verification) as a second factor for security.


2. Don’t share sensitive information

Logins and passwords shouldn't be shared, plain and simple. While it's natural to want to share your login information with a family member or spouse, that opens you up to more risk (especially if the other person is hacked or misplaced). If you have a joint account holder, they can create their own login credentials. This way, you never have to share login information.

Having a strong password also plays a huge role in keeping your login information safe. Our recommendation: use different logins for all of your online accounts to prevent a cyber criminal getting access to multiple accounts. We also recommend that you never save passwords on your computer, browser or other software.


Video: Five ways to create a super-secure password.

3. Be vigilant online

When you go to a site, make sure it’s secure—your financial institution should have a lock icon on the right side of its website address and a coloured bar. Secure merchants have https:// in their website address.

The same caution applies to email. When you get an email you should always verify who you’re dealing with and if they’re legitimate. Follow these 7 tips to protect yourself from scams and fraud, including how to recognize phishing and other online scams.

Want to create an additional line of defense? Check your online accounts regularly—when you get your monthly statement, for example—to check for any unusual activity or unauthorized withdrawals.

If you feel overwhelmed, spend time with someone who can show you the ropes. Chat with a trusted family member or friend who has experience using online banking and learn what they use it for and how.


4. Transfer the right way

When you send funds to someone, make the security question something only they can answer. We’re talking their pet’s name or your middle name, not what city they live in or their favourite sports team. Send the answer to the security question over text or phone conversation, not email, to increase security. 

If you’re receiving funds, sign up for auto-deposit. This causes the money to automatically go into an account you specify without a security question. Wondering if Interac e-Transfer® is safe? We wrote an entire article on the topic. 


At ATB we have extensive security features in place to make sure your information stays safe and private. For more information, take one of our digital banking tutorials and find out all the things you can do, like enabling two-factor authentication, changing your password and sending money.


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