Last night, 60 Minutes had a segment about how insecure the information is that we send across the Internet. The segment suggested that 30% of all computers in the US are infected with "malware" designed to steal our personal information.
I love technology, and feel it has made my life easier in many ways. I was an early adopter of online banking (I've been paying bills online for more than 10 years now), and loved saving the cost of a stamp to pay my bills. When I was in a tight economic spot, I also liked being able to pay my bills at the last minute when I needed to.
But now, at least for now, I'm pretty okay financially (who knows what tomorrow holds for any of us), and I definitely have a much different approach to paying bills.
So I'm thinking of getting rid of online banking in the interest of security. I have never been the subject of identity theft (thank goodness), and my office computer is a mac (less prone to viruses), but I have certainly used wi-fi and multiple computers to check my balances, and I even have used online banking on my cellphone.
The story really scared me. For the moment, I have decided to take the remote banking application off of my cellphone, and to use only my office computer (a Mac desktop with firewall and a wired DSL connection) to access my bank accounts. But I am definitely considering going back to an all-paper banking system. It seems in many ways like a step back, but if it keeps my little earnings safe, it would be worth it.
I also set up an online-only savings account last year (currently earning 2.15% as opposed to my local bank's passbook rate of .05%). I have always felt wary about this account, even though it is FDIC insured, it just seems so remote and anonymous. I'm now considering closing it and moving the little money I've saved in it to my more tangible passbook account.
Does anyone out there have ideas or experiences they'd like to share about "slow banking"?