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VPN for online banking: is it really safe?

Yes, it is safe to use a VPN while doing your online banking. Whenever you’re traveling, using public Wi-Fi at a hotel, coffee shop, or restaurant, you should use a VPN to keep your information from the prying eyes of internet hackers. We recommend that you don’t do online banking on public Wi-Fi, but if you have to, it’s important to use a VPN. When you use a VPN for online banking, you ensure that your account information is kept private.

With online banking, you’re using personal information, bank account numbers, secure passwords, and in some cases, social security information. If hackers see your information while you're online banking, they could steal money from your account, make you a victim of credit card fraud, or even steal your identity.

When to use a VPN for online banking

When using public Wi-Fi: VPNs are vital for keeping all of your data, including bank account logins, safe. Without them, there are countless ways hackers can compromise a Wi-Fi connection. But when these criminals are siphoning data before it gets to the VPN server, all they’re gathering is an unbreakable code that’s useless to them. When you’re at home: Although public wireless networks are more dangerous, VPNs are also essential on your home Wi-Fi, as it suffers from some of the vulnerabilities that plague public networks. Additionally, using a VPN at home for banking and other matters improves your privacy as well. It makes you much harder to track down online and keeps your browsing history secret from ISPs (or government agencies asking ISPs to turn over your data).

When you’re traveling: Using a VPN for banking also keeps your account safe from you. Because banks may become suspicious when you access it from another country. In the worst-case scenario, you can end up locked out of your account while abroad. With a VPN, you can avoid that: just connect to a server in your home country. That way, the bank won’t know you’re not where it thinks you are. Having said all that, some things can compromise your secure banking even over a VPN.

Is there anything I shouldn’t do when using a VPN for online banking?

As a matter of fact, yes there is. If you’re using a VPN for online banking and you keep switching your server location, it’s almost a guarantee that your bank will notice. Choose a server location, and stick with it. That way, your bank won’t freak out, and it won’t seem like you’re unexpectedly traveling the world.

Your best option is to connect to a server in the same country as you when doing online banking. If your bank blocks one of your transactions because they think it’s fraud, you can always call them and let them know it’s you.