Public Service Announcement: Change Your Online Banking Password

by Jason Unger

When was the last time you changed the password for your online banking account?

Seriously. Think about it.

Have you ever changed it?

I wouldn’t be surprised if most of you – even though you’re a savvy online banking user – rarely, if ever, change your banking passwords. This is especially true if you use an account aggregator like Mint or Yodlee, where your password is needed to update your external accounts.

According to new research from YouGov Omnibus, 53% of Americans have changed their online banking password in the past year. I’m actually pretty surprised it’s that high, but I’m guessing it’s a result of another stat they found: that 21% of Americans had an account hacked in the past year.

When something bad happens, that’s when you tend to take action. It shouldn’t be that way — just like you should always back up your computer’s hard drive, you should be proactive and change your crucial passwords on a regular basis.

YouGov says that 47% of those surveyed are more worried about security than they were last year, but that 49% feel their own data is secure. Breaking it down more, here’s what they found:

Women are slightly more likely to feel that their data is less secure than men and do update their personal account passwords more frequently than men.

Americans ages 18 – 34 tend to be less concerned than those 35 plus about the prospect of getting hacked. The 35-54 age group change their passwords most frequently and 55 plus age group changes passwords most infrequently.

Where does online banking fit with the other passwords Americans should be updating? Over the past year, 63% of those surveyed updated their personal email passwords, 38% changed their work email passwords and 49% changed social media passwords.

So here’s a PSA: change your online banking password. Change it on a regular basis, and make sure it’s not your birthday or your dog’s name. Go do it now.

I was about to write another paragraph, but decided to go change my passwords instead.

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