How Safe Are Online-Only Banks?

The truth about digital banking

by Laura Sinberg • Features Editor
Online banking
Photograph: Shutterstock/Ai825

Digital banks are popping up so fast that by the end of this decade, they may constitute 15 percent of the retail banking industry. These virtual institutions (Simple and Moven, to name a couple) can be just as safe as their brick-and-mortar counterparts, says Mike Goodson, a managing director in Accenture’s North America banking practice. Online-only banks may even offer great perks—like slashed fees when you use affiliated ATMs and better interest rates—because of their low overhead. If you do decide to switch, check that the bank is insured by the FDIC and that it uses encryption software (look for a lock or key icon on the log-in bar). Also, always be hypervigilant when you get an email from your bank, as scammers can create near replicas of most websites. Never click on a link; instead, type in a URL to go directly to your bank’s home page.

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First published in the June 2014 issue

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