Four numbers. That’s all that protects your cash from scammers and thieves. Should you lose your wallet, the inconvenience of replacing your driver’s license and credit cards will seem like nothing compared to the financial crisis that could ensue if your checking account is compromised.
If someone manages to take your hard-earned cash, it can take weeks before your bank issues a refund. And if you’re on vacation or traveling overseas without access to your local financial institution, you may be relying on that cash to carry you through your trip.
In many scenarios, the four numbers that safeguard your assets are almost as important as your account balance itself. Sadly, people aren’t typically mindful of this hard truth.
“Researchers at the data analysis firm Data Genetics have found that the three most popular combinations—”1234,” “1111,” and “0000”—account for close to 20 percent of all four-digit passwords. Meanwhile, every four-digit combination that starts with “19” ranks above the 80th percentile in popularity, with those in the late—er, upper—1900s coming in the highest. Also quite common are MM/DD combinations—those in which the first two digits are between “01” and “12” and the last two are between “01” and “31.” So choosing your birthday, your birth year, or a number that might be a lot of other people’s birthday or birth year makes your password significantly easier to guess.”
If someone found your debit card in the same wallet or purse that contained your license, student ID, or cell phone, they would have even more information that could be used to access your cash.
So it’s important to choose a pin code that is random and not easily guessed, i.e. it has no apparent relation to your personal life.
Next to your ATM pin code, the password you use to access your online banking information is also crucial for financial security. While the possibilities for a strong password are more numerous, plenty of people still slip up here as well.
We explained in our last entry on financial security that you shouldn’t use the same password for online banking that you use for, say, that fitness app you just downloaded. In fact, it should only be used for that bank account and nothing else.
When creating that password, you should also stick to the following rules:
- 12 character minimum – more possibilities for hackers to guess wrong
- Uses numbers, symbols, capital and lower-case letters
- Is not an obvious word found in the dictionary or, even worse, related to its purpose (i.e. Bank or BankAccount won’t do)
- Doesn’t use simple substitutions – ‘0’ instead of ‘o’ isn’t fooling anyone.
People who are particularly wary of their security (or huge fans of spy films) can also make use of one of the many random passcode generators founds on the web.
At Nooch, we don’t believe you need to be a cryptographer to keep your cash safe. That’s why we offer a number of security features designed to protect our users, including a pin code for every single transfer so that if you lose your phone, you don’t need to worry about someone executing fraudulent transfers.