Online banking is highly convenient. You don’t have to leave your house to deposit checks, pay your bills, send money to friends, or move money between your bank accounts.
However, online banking can be worrying for some. The news is full of stories of online hackers stealing people’s personal information or hacking into business databases, so what’s stopping someone from stealing the money in your online bank account?
Some people have turned to using VPNs for online banking, hoping it will help them stay safe while using the internet.
Does Using a VPN Make Online Banking Safer?
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) allows users to access private computer networks from a public network.
Think about your workplace. Many companies have an internal computer network with printers and data servers you can only access while you’re at work. If you try to print to one of your company’s printers while you’re at home, you won’t be able to because those printers are on a private network.
With a VPN, you can create a private, secure, direct connection to your company’s private network from anywhere in the world, giving you access to the resources on that network.
In effect, a VPN allows your computer to act as if it were physically located somewhere other than where it really is. However, this isn’t the part that’s relevant for online banking.
If you’re worried about security, VPNs frequently use encryption technology to secure their connections. That means it’s more difficult for others to intercept their transmissions. If you’re using a VPN, this can make it harder for malicious actors to steal your information.
Related: Best Online Banks
Best VPNs for Online Banking
If you want to use a VPN to increase the security of your online banking, these are some of the best.
|Express VPN||VPN connections from the most countries available|
|NordVPN||Connecting multiple devices|
ExpressVPN is a VPN service offered by a company based in the British Virgin Islands. The company offers VPN connections to 160 locations in 94 different countries and gives users unlimited bandwidth to work with, meaning your internet won’t slow down when you connect to the VPN.
ExpressVPN has a focus on security, offering a number of features to help keep your internet traffic safe. The company uses 256-bit AES encryption, which is the same security standard used by the United States government and recommended by security experts. It also uses security certificates to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks, where malicious actors pose as legitimate websites to steal your information.
ExpressVPN also offers a network lock kill switch. If it detects an interruption to your network connection, such as one that could be caused by someone trying to gain unauthorized access to your computer, it will immediately disconnect your device from the internet to keep it safe.
ExpressVPN offers three subscription plans:
- Monthly plans cost $12.95 per month
- Six-month plans cost $59.95 (the equivalent of $9.99 per month)
- Annual plans cost $99.95 (the equivalent of $8.32 per month)
NordVPN is a VPN provider based in Panama, a country that has no laws requiring internet providers to retain customer data and no connection to two major intelligence-gathering communities, the Five Eyes, and the Fourteen Eyes.
The company offers connections to more than 5,000 locations in 59 countries and 256-bit AES encryption. You can connect up to six devices to the VPN at one time and use the service to obfuscate your IP address, an identifier that can be used to locate your machine.
NordVPN has three pricing plans:
- Monthly plans cost $11.95 per month
- Annual plans cost $59 (the equivalent of $4.92 per month)
- Two-year plans cost $89 (the equivalent of $3.71 per month)
Surfshark, like ExpressVPN, is a VPN provider based in the British Virgin Islands. The company offers connections to 3,200+ locations in 65 different countries.
Some of the VPN’s features include CleanWeb, which helps block ads from reaching your device, the option to connect as many devices as you want, a whitelister that lets certain apps bypass the VPN, a kill switch that disconnects your device if the VPN detects a network interruption, and multi-hop, which lets you route your traffic through multiple VPN servers for additional security.
Surfshark offers three pricing plans:
- Monthly plans cost $12.95 per month
- Bi-annual plans cost $38.94 (the equivalent of $6.49 per month)
- Two-year plans cost $59.76 (the equivalent of $2.49 per month)
How We Came Up with this List
To build this list, we looked for two things: security and price.
When you use a VPN service, you have to make sure that you trust the service provider. One of the things that VPNs protect you from is people intercepting and reading your internet traffic. If you intentionally route your traffic through a VPN provider’s server, it would be incredibly easy for that provider to read all of your internet activity. You have to trust that the VPN provider will not do that and will keep your data safe from others.
Of course, VPN services come at a cost, so we also considered how much you should pay for a VPN. The less you can pay while remaining secure, the better.
Related: Is Online Banking Safe?
These are some frequently asked questions about VPNs and online banking.
Many people do their online banking without using a VPN and never have issues. It isn’t strictly necessary to use a VPN when you do your banking over the internet. However, using a trustworthy VPN can help to make your internet connection more secure, so if you’re worried about internet security using a VPN when you bank online can give you some peace of mind.
Yes, many VPN providers offer apps for mobile devices including iPhones and Androids. If you sign up for their service and download these apps, you can connect to the VPN with your phone or tablet.
There are a lot of reasons to use a VPN, but VPNs are a panacea that will solve all of your internet security problems.
Remembering to connect to the VPN before you use the internet can be annoying or cumbersome for some people. Additionally, some VPN services can slow down your internet connection if the VPN server is experiencing heavy traffic.
Additionally, untrustworthy VPN providers could make your security worse rather than better, which is why it’s important that you vet whatever VPN service you plan to use.
Finally, depending on the website you’re accessing, a VPN may not help with security at all. VPNs can help secure data traveling between your computer and its destination, but if the destination server has poor security, the VPN won’t help with that
If you’re asking “should I use a VPN for online banking,” the answer is really up to you. VPNs can help provide some additional security when you’re online, but they aren’t perfect, and most charge a monthly fee. Many people use online banks without a VPN with no trouble, but if having an extra layer of protection will set your mind at ease, these VPN providers are a good place to start.