What Is Two-Step Verification and How Should I Be Using It for Banking Security?

We all know it is vital to practice online safety. This is especially true when it comes to banking. But if you are not using two-step verification, you may be falling short. This system – also known as two-factor authentication or 2FA – is a login process that requires users to enter two pieces of evidence to access an account. It is a step forward in digital security, adding greater protection for our most sensitive information.

What Sets Two-Step Verification Apart?

The precursor to two-step verification is the traditional username and password. If you have any online accounts, you know the drill. Unfortunately, just having a password is not enough to ensure security. If it is too easy to guess or not changed regularly, hackers may be able to decode it.

As the name implies, two-step verification goes beyond entering a single password. With 2FA, you must provide two of the following factors:

  • Something only the user knows (e.g. password)
  • Something only the user has (e.g. a phone)
  • Something inherent to the user (e.g. a fingerprint)

Even if you have never encountered two-step verification on the web, it is likely you have used it in real life. At an ATM, you must provide a PIN number and a debit card – something you know and something you have. This is 2FA.

How Does Two-Step Verification Work?

Currently the norm for 2FA involves entering a password online in order to receive a temporary access code on another device. Usually this comes in the form of a text. You then take that code and enter it into the app or website to access your account. All of the major players – Amazon, Facebook, Google, etc. – have their own 2FA systems with different setup processes. You can also download an authentication app, which manages all your verification codes for you. If you have the option to use this, do so. It is more secure than receiving codes via text, as those are more easily intercepted by outside parties.

Why Take the Time for Two-Step Verification?

It is imperative to protect yourself online. Adding just one extra step by using 2FA deters nefarious people from targeting you. When it comes to banking, this is a must. Do not put your finances in jeopardy or wind up with the headache of a stolen identity.

If you are not sure how to set up two-factor verification for your mobile banking, contact Citizens National Bank today for assistance.