How to Ensure Safe Online Account Opening

Headlines about digital security are on the rise; sophisticated identity theft schemes, corporate data breaches, and rises in mobile technology use all paint a scary picture. This leaves many consumers and financial institutions wondering what they can do to ensure safe online account openings. Here are three considerations for ensuring your online account opening is as safe as your in-branch experience.

mobile banking and security concerns


Ensuring Consumer Data is Safe


According to the Federal Reserve, 42% of those with a mobile phone think that people’s personal information is “very unsafe” or “somewhat unsafe” when using mobile banking.

With digital banking platforms becoming the norm, it’s imperative that consumers understand their information is safe and that online banking is okay to use. If you’re going to ask them for their important personal details, they should feel 100% confident that it’s secure, and there are a few ways you can do that.


42% of consumers who use mobile banking feel their data is unsafe


The first way is to make sure your site has an up-to-date design. In a 2015 study, 50% of people said that poor website design or navigation reduces a vendor’s credibility.

Also, consider giving account holders the option to add credit monitoring and identity theft protection services to keep them protected and give them the ability to log in using two-factor authentication for extra security.


fraud victims on the rise


Another way to make consumers feel comfortable? Make sure that the security and fraud protection guarantees on your website are easy to understand (think like a consumer would talk and less like a banker). The more the account holder understands how safe your online account opening platform actually is, the better they will feel using it.

Of course, securing your website shouldn't be for show. Here are some steps you should consider in order to secure your site:


  1. Pick the right CMS; Ideally, one that is updated frequently to combat new exploits.

  2. Keep plugins to a minimum; Out-of-date plugins and applications can be exploited.

  3. Pick the right hosting company

  4. Have an SSL certificate; Use HTTPS encryption

  5. Use parameterized queries; SQL injections are one of the most common hacks

  6. Install a web firewall (WAF)

  7. Use Robot.txt to hide your admin pages

  8. 90% of cyber attacks are caused by human error; Consider that you have both human employees and human customers. Passwords should be changed frequently and held to a minimum standard, inactive accounts should be automatically logged out after a certain amount of time, and there should be training about what an official message looks like.


Protecting Yourself Against Fraudulent Accounts


With online account opening, there’s always a risk for your institution. Therefore, you need to know that the person opening the account is who they say they are.

A typical online account opening requires the consumer to enter information about themselves, like their Social Security number and driver's license number, and then your institution will need to confirm that a consumer is a real person. With certain products, like Kasasa’s INMO, complete identity verification is automated for you. We’ll collect the applicant’s information, validate their identity by asking them out-of-wallet questions, run an OFAC check, do an Experian authentication, and conduct a deposit risk analysis. Once we’ve confirmed the consumer is real, your institution handles the final approval for the account. Plus, we’ll provide ongoing compliance support to make sure your online account opening process always meets regulations.


Personal Service Still Matters


Keeping your institution and your consumers safe should be a top priority as more interactions happen online. And just because you aren’t meeting in person doesn't mean you can’t deliver the great service you’re known for. As soon as you verify the consumer’s new account, we recommend personally reaching out with a call or email to welcome them to your financial institution. Besides, the last place someone wants to go to resolve a hack is back online.

If you want to learn more about how we can help ensure your online account opening process is secure for you and consumers, contact us today.

Tags: Online Banking