Online banking has revolutionized the way we deal with financial transactions. These days, almost every reputable bank offers a customized online portal which gives you an in-depth look at your account. In a matter of seconds, you can review your information, as well as send and receive payments.
Just like you would expect, online banking is built upon rigorous security measures. However, there’s only so much your bank can do. It’s entirely up to you to create a safe environment for financial transactions.
This is precisely where VPNs (virtual private networks) come into play. These applications have the power to secure your online connection and enable advanced security protocols, no matter where you are.
Security risks related to online banking
As helpful as it is, online banking also comes with a series of security issues. This especially applies to those who don’t take precautionary steps when accessing their bank accounts online. Let’s explain this more clearly by illustrating a few examples.
- When connecting to the Web from your home, you’re using a secure network (if it’s password-protected, of course). This means that you’re the only one using your Web connection, which is an essential requirement for accessing online banking services. The biggest threat from this standpoint is a possible presence of viruses (that can hijack your data).
- When accessing the Web from a public wifi or via your smartphone, you’re actually using a highly vulnerable network. Hackers can easily intercept your data, steal your credentials, download financial information, and endanger you in more ways than one.
As you can see, we need a solution that could secure any Web connection, no matter which device you use. You also want absolute freedom of connecting to the Web from any place. As you can imagine – this is precisely what VPNs are designed to do.
Why would you need a VPN for online banking?
VPNs are incredibly user-friendly and straightforward applications, compatible with computers, smartphones, tablets, and more. By using one, you can establish a highly secure Web connection, preventing anyone from reading or stealing your data.
Here’s how VPNs work:
- Upon launching a VPN, you’ll get to select a secure VPN server. Clicking on one will connect you to that server;
- Once the connection is established, all your data becomes encrypted immediately. In other words, it gets hidden from anyone else on the Web. And also, even if someone manages to steal your data (which is highly unlikely to happen), they won’t be able to open or read a single file (since it’s encrypted, or differently said – scrambled).
- Now, you can feel free to access your online banking account. Any information you send and receive remains hidden while the session is in progress.
- That’s it! Online banking is only one of the numerous use-cases of VPNs. You can use them every time you connect to the Web to secure your connection and keep dangerous malware, hackers, and other threats at bay.
What should a reliable VPN for banking have?
The truth is that you’ll find hundreds, if not thousands, of VPNs online. Some of these are more “special” than others, and not all those are made to be a VPN for banking. Therefore, here’s what you must keep in mind:
- Plenty of Servers: by offering a large number of servers, VPNs can host more users while maintaining a high level of performance. This is especially important for frequent travelers who need plenty of freedom in terms of staying connected to their home country.
- Robust Encryption: we’re talking about the best VPN for online banking, which makes strong encryption of the highest importance. Later on, we’ll make our recommendations where each of those brings practically uncrackable encryption.
- Bulletproof VPN Protocols: finally, every VPN comes with many VPN protocols that ensure that best possible protection. Our recommendation would be to go for a service based on OpenVPN – which has become the industry standard.
Is it safe to use a free VPN for online banking?
Before making our recommendations, we have something important to tell you. We strongly recommend avoiding free VPNs! These may not only leave you vulnerable to hacking attempts, but they can take advantage of your personal data.
In general, free VPNs are associated with marketing agencies. They either serve ads or purposely collect your data to allow their partners to gather valuable insight. Also, these can’t be compared to commercial VPNs in terms of encryption and VPN protocols. And most importantly – all of them come with severe limitations in terms of bandwidth and performance.
Best VPNs for online banking – top 5 picks
Now, let’s give you some concrete suggestions. After testing dozens of VPN services, we know which ones offer the best value for their price. And most importantly, we know which ones will meet your every need. So, here are the top 5 best VPNs for online banking.
1. ExpressVPN ‣
Trust us when we say that ExpressVPN rightfully deserves the first place on our list of the best VPNs for banking. This is a highly reputable VPN that scores high across the board. And also, it’s quite affordable (especially its long-term plans).
With over 3,000 servers on offer and high-end security features, this is easily the best VPN for banking. It’s powered by 256-bit AES encryption, complemented by OpenVPN and a whole range of other protocols. You can use it across many platforms, so you’re protected in your home as well as on the go. Finally, ExpressVPN comes with a stellar reputation for offering friendly and timely customer support.
2. NordVPN ‣
You can often see NordVPN featured on the list of VPNs with the highest number of servers. That’s because its ever-expanding server network counts 5,000+ units right now. This makes it the perfect choice for frequent travelers.
Aside from the standard set of features, NordVPN also routes your Web data through two servers. This means double encryption, deleting any trace of your online whereabouts. In terms of encryption, it employs AES-256 and plenty of VPN protocols – and it doesn’t collect any of your personal data.
This is one of the longest-standing VPNs, known for its ease of use. Just recently, it received a design overhaul which makes Private Internet Access highly suitable for first-timers. With 3,500+ servers under its belt and top-rated security features, this VPN leaves very little to be desired.
One of the best things about PIA is that you can truly fine-tune its options. You can use a combination of different encryption levels and VPN protocols so that you can prioritize certain features aligned with your needs. In terms of online banking, PIA uses a highly secure VPN tunnel, doesn’t log your data, and gives you the ability to use it across desktop and mobile devices.
4. VyprVPN ‣
Coming from Switzerland, VyprVPN is powered by its proprietary protocol named ‘Chameleon.’ It’s believed that this protocol is more secure than what the majority of today’s banks offer to their customers. In other words, forget about anyone taking advantage of your data.
With numerous servers on board, you can use VyprVPN to access them from any device. This VPN comes with a highly polished UI, suitable to beginners and more advanced users alike. And let’s not forget that you can count on blazing speeds – proven by numerous independent tests.
5. PrivateVPN ‣
We end our list of the best VPN for banking with PrivateVPN. This provider comes from Sweden and is one of the most user-friendly VPNs right now. What’s often praised about this one is its complete transparency.
Having secure servers in close to 60 countries across the world, there’s plenty on offer here. You are free to use any of those, as many times as you want, all while sticking to the highest level of encryption. With a single click on a button, you can secure public Wi-Fi hotspots and prevent anyone from tracking what you do online. Among other features, PrivateVPN is also great for media streaming and torrenting.
What else can you do? Additional tips & tricks
Before we let you go, we’d like to share some valuable tips on using online banking in a safe way. Taking advantage of a VPN for banking is the first step, but there’s more you need to know.
- Make sure to stick to websites beginning with “HTTPS.” Every online banking system should support this protocol, which means that it encrypts your data. Of course, using a VPN in addition is still better.
- Come up with strong passwords. Don’t make a mistake by using the same password across all your accounts. If you can’t come up with anything unique, there are plenty of capable password managers that’ll do the job for you.
- Utilize antivirus software on your computer. Even though VPNs will prevent any hacking attempt, it’s imperative to use antivirus to remove any malicious files, applications, or scripts. Even free-of-charge options will do the job.