Online banking for older people | ϲֱ쿪

ϲֱ쿪

Skip to content
Please donate

Is online banking safe?

Online banking allows you to keep control of your finances from home or whilst you're out and about on your bank's website or smartphone app. There are measures you can take to help keep your money and identity safe when using online banking. 


How do I set up online banking?

To access online banking, you must already have an account with the relevant bank. If you do, you'll then need to register online via your bank's website. The safest way to find your bank's website is to enter the web address as it's printed on a piece of communcation from your bank (such as a bank statement or letter).

How you set up online banking may vary slightly depending on your bank. You can phone your bank to enquire about their particular process, but it may include some of the following steps:

  • entering your personal details including your name, contact details and bank account details (the sort code and account number)
  • answering some questions from your bank to verify your identity
  • entering an activation code that's sent to you either in the post or via text
  • setting up a username and a secure password or passcode.

How do I access my bank's smartphone app?

Most banks also have their own smartphone and tablet apps, so once you've set up online banking, you can download your bank's app. This allows you to do things like check your balance and send payments. If you have an Android phone or tablet, you can find banking apps in the Google Play Store. If you have an Apple phone or tablet, you can find banking apps in the App Store. 

Unfortunately, there are a lot of fake banking apps available to download, so it's a good idea to check that you're downloading the bank or building society's genuine app. Visit their website and go to the app download page through there. You can always call your bank if you're at all unsure.

Click here to find out more about how to download apps


What can I use online banking to do?

With most banks, you can use online banking to:

  • check your balance any time of day or night
  • check your bank statements
  • transfer money between your bank accounts
  • send money to people you know
  • set up or cancel direct debits and standing orders

Click here to find out more about transferring money safely and securely

Looking for a computer training class?

Many of our local ϲֱ쿪s provide computer and IT training, to make getting online straightforward and enjoyable.


Will I still receive bank statements?

One of the benefits of online banking is that you can quickly and easily check your bank statements, as well as any upcoming transactions on your account.

If you want to, you'll still receive monthly bank statements in the post. Or you can opt to go 'paperless' and receive statements by email or download them from your online account.

There are adaptations available if you have a visual or hearing impairment. For example, many banking apps are compatible with smartphone and tablet accessibility features that you may have already set up on your phone, such as the read-aloud function or inverted screen colours. 

Click here to find out more about making your device easier to use and more accesible

I check my bank statements to make sure none of my money is going anywhere I don’t want it to.

Brenda, 94

What can I do to keep my money and identity safe?

Generally, online banking is safe, but there are steps you can take to look after your money and identity:

  • Use a strong password that avoids common words, numbers or keyboard patterns (such as 'password' or '123456'). Don't include personal information, such as your name, date of birth, or any family member's details in your password. Click here to find out more about how to choose a strong password. 
  • Don't reuse passwords for different accounts.
  • Never share your full password or PIN number. Banks will never ask for your full PIN or password – instead, they'll ask for specific numbers or letters, for example, the first and third character.
  • Always log out of your online banking session, especially if you're using a shared device. If you're using a public computer, like a library computer, be particularly cautious – they may not have the right level of security software. If you need to, ask the library staff for more information.
  • Only use secure Wi-Fi networks to access your online banking. If you use a public network, such as those in cafes or train stations, it may be possible for people on the same network to access your details.
  • Check your balance and transactions regularly. If there's a transaction you don't recognise, report it to your bank straight away.
  • Regularly check that your personal details are correct and up to date.

Click here to find out more about how to stay safe online.

Be aware

There's a common scam where criminals call people and tell them their account has been hacked and that they need to move money into a 'safe' account. These criminals can even use technology that makes it look like they're phoning from official bank numbers.

Remember – your bank will never phone you out of the blue, ask you for your PIN number or password, or ask you to transfer money into a different account.

If you're at all worried, hang up and get in touch with your bank.


How does the bank keep my money safe?

Banks take the security of accounts very seriously and invest lots of time and money to make sure your online account is safe. Some of the ways they do this include: 

  • Bank websites are encrypted. This means they're protected from anyone seeing the information on the page or your personal details. The website address should start with 'https' – the 's' stands for secure.
  • Websites and apps have timed logout. If you've been inactive for a set period of time, you'll be automatically logged out. This ensures that someone using the same device as you can't get into your account without using your details.
  • There are multiple steps to log in. As well as entering your username and password, some banks send a text message with an access code. If you have the bank's app and a newer smartphone, you might be able to set up 'Touch ID' or 'Face ID', which use your fingerprint or face to log in.
  • Some banks will send you a card reader. This provides an additional level of security to use when logging into your online banking. It's a small device that you enter your PIN number into, and it then generates a passcode (that's new and unique every time) for you to use to log in to online banking.
  • Some banks now have a warning when you transfer money to someone. This prompts you to double check the details are correct and think twice that the person you're sending money to is genuine.

Phone icon We're here to help

We offer support through our free advice line on 0800 678 1602. Lines are open 8am-7pm, 365 days a year. We also have specialist advisers at over 120 local ϲֱ쿪s.

Share this page

Last updated: Jul 10 2023

You might also be interested in...

Email essentials

Email is electronic mail. It's a free and easy way to stay in touch with family and friends. You'll need an email...

Shopping safely online

Shopping online is quick and convenient – it can be done from the comfort of your own home, or even when you're out...

How to download apps

Apps, or applications, are a type of program that you download to your smartphone, tablet or computer. There are...

Become part of our story

Sign up today

Back to top