How to be careful when sending money using online banking…

How to be careful when sending money using online banking…

In the “online world” that we live, I hear two different stances when talking to people about accessing and managing their money online, some – old school – say “I never buy anything online nor do I use online banking” whilst others confidently assert that “it’s safe and easy, I’ve never had a problem”. So what is the truth? As always, the truth is somewhere in between these two extreems.

Certainly, if you never use online banking and never buy anything online then it will be very difficult for you to be scammed out of any money online, however, it will mean that you also miss out on some useful and time saving ways of doing things. The best thing is to be super careful and double check everything that you do of importance. Of course, your level of carefulness should be directly proportional to the amount of money that is at risk – I would think nothing of buying a 20-euro book online from Amazon, but I would check and double check and even ask my partner to check before I click a button to send thousands of euros to someone for a significant purchase.

There are some great things about Internet banking, for example the ability to see your account balance from your phone, tablet or computer, the ability to be able to send money quickly and easily, but of course you must take care if you are going to use online services or send significant amounts of money – even I get nervous doing these things!

One of the things that I have found helps ensure that you’re sending money to the correct place (if you’re making a large online transfer) is to send a small amount first, check that the real recipient has received it and then send the larger amount. This is particularly useful as most online banking systems allow you to choose the destination for the funds from a list of previous places that you’ve used – meaning that you know the account details will be correct.

Also, when you check that the smaller sum has arrived, make sure that you do it in person over the phone or face to face, not by email or some other form of confirmation that can be replicated by someone trying to scam you.

In terms of online purchasing, much has moved on since the early days of online purchases and online retailers now use all sorts of methods like “3D Secure” to ensure that you are actually the valid holder of the credit card, mainly because the credit card company will claw the money back if they don’t take precautionary checks – so it’s in their interest to confirm that you are who you say you are. This is why you may be asked for your “verified by VISA” pin or Spanish bank equivalent before your purchase is confirmed. Some banks allow you to freeze your card using the phone app as well. Its good practice to have your card “frozen” all of the time and then just un-freeze it when you want to make a purchase, that way if anyone managed to get hold of your card and tried to make a purchase, it would be refused automatically.

So, do whatever makes you comfortable, but don’t shy away from using online banking and making online purchases just because you have never done it before, take your time and ask for help if you need it.