Everyone wants to assume their internet connection is secure. However, when traveling, you’ll often have to use public hotspots, which are rarely as well-protected as they should be. With more than half of Americans using online banking and a free hotspot on every corner, hackers have realized just how lucrative one attack can be. This is why it’s really important to use a VPN to securely access online banking.
Once you connect to a Virtual Private Network (VPN), your internet traffic is encrypted and can’t be read by anyone. Another benefit is that a VPN obfuscates your actual IP address and can make it appear that you’re in a different location. which is great for accessing your banking service while traveling without raising any red flags.
In this post, we’ll explain how to use a VPN to safely access online banking and provide additional tips for boosting your online security. If you’re in a rush, here’s a quick summary of the top VPNs for online banking:
- NordVPN: Our top VPN for online banking. Quick, reliable, and highly secure, ideal for public wifi hotspots and unsecured networks. Also includes a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Surfshark: The best low-cost VPN for banking securely. Has no connection limit and some of the fastest speeds around. Zero-logs policy.
- ExpressVPN: A versatile, reputable service with 90+ supported locations. Provides around the clock support via live chat.
- CyberGhost: Beginner-friendly VPN with a huge network and task-specific servers. Fast enough for whatever you have in mind.
- IPVanish: This no-logs provider is packed with security features and can protect every device you own simultaneously.
- PrivateVPN: An independently-audited no-logs VPN with high speeds. Goes above and beyond on privacy.
- Atlas VPN: Speedy, secure, and suitable for any day-to-day task. Has no connection limit and extremely fast speeds.
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How to securely access online banking with a VPN
Follow these simple steps to use online banking services securely from anywhere:
- Register for a VPN that’s suitable for secure online banking. We highly recommend NordVPN.
- Connect to a VPN server in your home country. The connection will take a few seconds to establish and you will receive a notification when it’s complete.
- Your data is now encrypted and your IP address has changed. This means you appear to be browsing from back home (instead of wherever you actually are).
- Proceed to log in to your bank’s online portal and carry out transactions as normal.
- If you’re having problems, try clearing your browser cookies. If the issues persist, contact the VPN customer support for more advice.
The best VPNs for online banking
Every VPN is different, so it pays to choose wisely. This is especially true if you’re planning on doing sensitive tasks like moving money. To find the best VPNs for mobile banking, we looked for providers offering all of the following features:
- A high level of security, with uncrackable encryption and no logs kept
- Fast and reliable servers in a large number of countries
- The ability to go undetected by VPN-blocking systems
- Free customer support
- Apps for all major operating systems
Here’s a list of the best VPNs for online banking:
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
NordVPN is our top pick for banking safely. It has over 5,000 highly-secure servers in 60 countries and delivers some of the fastest speeds we’ve seen, so there’s no need to worry about transactions dropping partway through. This VPN is an equally strong choice for streaming or torrenting, and can protect six of your devices at the same time.
So how safe is NordVPN? Well, given its 256-bit AES encryption, kill switch, and protection against DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leaks, the chance of someone getting their hands on your data is near zero. New versions also include a tool that blocks ads, trackers, and malware automatically. NordVPN follows a strict no-logs policy, meaning it can’t reveal what you do online under any circumstances. Support is available 24/7 over live chat.
NordVPN has apps for Android, iOS, Windows, MacOS, and Linux. It can also be manually installed on supported routers.
- Strong security and privacy credentials
- A fantastic option for streaming and torrenting
- Keeps no logs whatsoever
- Vast network of fast, low-latency servers
- Customer service available via 24/7 live chat
- Apps for all popular devices
- Only able to select a location, not a specific server
BEST VPN FOR ONLINE BANKING:NordVPN is our top choice. With high speeds and a security toolkit that’s second to none, it’s perfect for safe and secure banking. Best of all, it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try it risk-free.
Why not read our complete NordVPN review?
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Surfshark is our budget pick. Despite this, it’s more than capable of standing shoulder to shoulder with more expensive providers. There are 3,200+ servers to choose from (in 65 countries) and no connection limits whatsoever. Further, this VPN is among the quickest we’ve tested, so it’s suitable for banking, streaming, and more.
This service safeguards your privacy using 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, and a tool that blocks trackers and malware automatically. There’s also IPv6, DNS, and WebRTC leak protection, plus a true no-logs policy. In short, Surfshark is more than capable of keeping you safe online. If you run into any issues, support is on-hand 24/7.
Surfshark offers apps for MacOS, iOS, Windows, Android, and Linux. If you’d prefer, you can manually install it on select wireless routers.
- No limit on number of devices connected
- Prioritizes user security
- Fantastic speeds
- Ideal for streaming, gaming, or general browsing
- User-friendly apps on all devices
- Customer support could be better
BEST BUDGET VPN:Surfshark is our top budget option. Impressive speed, versatility, and security make it a valuable tool for any privacy-conscious traveler. There’s even a 30-day money-back guarantee included.
Read our in-depth Surfshark review for more details.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN operates more than 3,000 servers in over 90 countries; that’s more locations than any other provider in this list. With no bandwidth limits, up to five simultaneous connections permitted, and consistently high speeds, this VPN is perfect for anyone hoping to safely use online banking as they travel. It’s a great choice for streaming too, and works with major platforms like Netflix.
There’s no need to worry about your security since ExpressVPN’s encryption is currently considered uncrackable. Users benefit from its no-logs policy, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, and kill switch, plus there’s a new Threat Manager tool that stops your other apps from sending data to known tracking sites. Live chat is available around the clock just in case you run into any issues.
ExpressVPN apps are available for Windows, Android, MacOS, iOS, and Linux. There’s also custom firmware for routers that greatly simplifies the setup process.
- Top-notch encryption standards
- More than 3,000 servers in 94 countries
- Superfast Lightway protocol works in China
- Works with all major streaming services including Netflix
- 24/7 live chat available
- Not as cheap as some other services
GREAT EVERYDAY VPN:ExpressVPN is a solid choice for almost any task, whether it’s banking securely or streaming your favorite shows from abroad. Additionally, it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Interested? Check out the full ExpressVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
CyberGhost boasts an expansive network, with more than 7,000 servers spread across 90 countries. Many of these are specially optimized for specific tasks like streaming, torrenting, or browsing the web anonymously. Better still, this service provides fast, consistent speeds, meaning you shouldn’t have any issues no matter the task at hand. Up to seven devices can be secured at once.
This VPN posts regular transparency reports and doesn’t log any data that could identify you. Its connections are secured with 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, and leak protection. CyberGhost also blocks ads, trackers, and malware without you having to lift a finger, so it’s a great complement to any traditional antivirus program. Support staff are ready to answer any questions, 24/7, over email and live chat.
CyberGhost has apps for iOS, Windows, MacOS, Android, and Linux. Users can also manually configure it for use with supported routers.
- Solid privacy and security features enabled by default
- Tells you which servers are good for a particular task
- Scored very highly in our speed testing
- Offers around the clock support
- Great for beginners
- Doesn’t reliably work in China or UAE
- Fewer advanced settings
GREAT FOR BEGINNERS:CyberGhost is very newcomer-friendly. What’s more, its highly-secure servers are ideal for securely accessing banking services. Boasts 24/7 support and very fast connections.
Read our detailed review of CyberGhost.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
IPVanish is a quick, reliable provider with more than 1,900 servers in 60+ countries. Notably, it owns all of these outright, meaning unlike most of its rivals, it has complete control over its network. IPVanish is great for online banking but is equally comfortable torrenting. It even works with plenty of popular streaming services and users can connect as many devices as they like.
This service doesn’t keep any logs at all, so your privacy is in good hands. Further, its connections all use 256-bit AES encryption and protect against IPv6 and DNS leaks. A built-in kill switch prevents you from accidentally browsing while disconnected, and WireGuard support ensures you don’t have to rely on outdated protocols just to browse safely. IPVanish offers 24/7 customer support over email and live chat.
IPVanish apps are available on iOS, Android, MacOS, and Windows. To get it running on Linux systems or routers, you’ll have to follow manual setup instructions.
- All the security and privacy features you need for most situations
- Has no connection or bandwidth limits
- Lots of high-speed servers to choose from
- Works with a variety of streaming services
- Apps don’t work in China
- Fewer servers than rivals
BANK SAFELY ANYWHERE:IPVanish can protect all of your devices at once, helping you securely use online banking wherever you go. With strong privacy tools and a 30-day money-back guarantee on annual plans, it’s well worth your time.
Take a look at the complete IPVanish review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
PrivateVPN may only have around 200 servers (in 60+ countries) but it goes the extra mile on privacy. Not only does it own its servers outright, it acts as its own ISP and hosting provider. In short, you can use online banking safe in the knowledge that no third party ever has access to any part of the system. What’s more, PrivateVPN has very high speeds and recently bumped its connection limit up from six to 10.
This service has plenty of security tools built-in. First off, there’s 256-bit AES encryption (which can be lowered to 128-bits for slightly better speeds), leak protection, and a customizable kill switch. PrivateVPN also offers a stealth mode that’s designed to help you browse freely in places like China. This service follows a true no-logs policy and provides support via an almost 24/7 help desk.
PrivateVPN has Android, iOS, MacOS, and Windows apps. Manual setup is required for Linux systems and supported routers.
- Industry-leading privacy protections
- Fantastic speeds
- Can access just about anything from just about anywhere
- Apps for every device
- Doesn’t have the largest network
- Help desk goes offline for a few hours each day
EXCELS ON PRIVACY:PrivateVPN is one step ahead of its rivals on privacy. Not only that, it boasts exceptional speeds and the ability to access almost every service we’ve tested. All plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Why not read our in-depth PrivateVPN review?
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Atlas VPN is a newer provider but one that’s worth checking out. It offers access to 750+ servers in 45 countries and delivers some seriously impressive speeds. Once you’re done banking, it can even help you securely access services like Netflix, Hulu, and Sling TV. As if this wasn’t enough, Atlas VPN lets you secure every device you own at the same time.
One of this service’s biggest innovations is its SafeSwap feature. This changes your IP address regularly, making it much harder to track you across the web. There’s also a breach monitor that’ll let you know if any of your details are leaked online. Naturally, Atlas VPN includes 256-bit encryption, leak protection, and a kill switch too. Customer support can be reached, 24/7, over email or live chat.
Atlas VPN has its own MacOS, iOS, Windows, and Android apps.
- Includes a Built-in breach tracker
- Faster than many of its rivals
- No connection limit
- No Linux or router support
- Fewer locations to choose from than others in this list
FAST AND EFFECTIVE:Atlas VPN is a solid choice thanks to its speedy servers, powerful security tools, and lack of a connection limit. There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee in case you’re still unsure.
Questions? Find answers in the full Atlas VPN review.
Methodology: Finding the best VPNs for online banking
There are hundreds of VPNs out there, but if you’re going to put your trust in a provider, you have to know that it’s able to protect you and your data. Not only that, but it has to be able to keep up with your daily activities. To find the best VPNs for mobile banking, we looked for those that delivered everything listed below:
- Powerful security features: These are crucial if you’re going to be banking with a VPN. We required our picks to offer 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, and a no-logs policy at a bare minimum.
- High speeds: If your connection is too slow, you could find that transactions fail or worse, repeat themselves. Luckily, we regularly speed test leading VPNs to see which are the fastest, and which have improved the most over time. These tests account for consistency too, not just the top speed.
- Strong unblocking ability: Some banking apps might try to block VPN users, so the ability to fly under the radar is hugely important. We also prefer providers that work with other geo-locked platforms like YouTube TV, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu.
- User-friendly apps: Our top VPNs have to be easy enough for total beginners to use. That’s why multi-platform support, live chat, and task-specific servers are so highly-prioritized. Really, anything that makes things simpler is a huge advantage, whether it’s a lack of connection limits or just a well-organized menu.
For more details on how we put VPNs to the test, check out our complete methodology.
How else can I ensure the safety of my online bank account?
Other than just using a VPN, you can also deploy these methods to make sure you’re safe and secure on the web.
1. Keep your device updated
Making sure that your device is operating on the latest version of its operating system is a prudent method to guard against hackers and other malicious entities. That’s because developers are constantly researching new and emergent threats – when they ship an update it’s in your best interests to download that. It’s possible that the update includes some new source code that helps quell attacks and fights malware.
2. Stick to secure sites
The HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) provides an easy method of determining whether the site you’re logging in to is encrypted by default. Simply look for the padlock icon next to the website address in your search bar. If it’s present and the address starts with “HTTPS” instead of “HTTP,” that means the site you’re trying to access is encrypted and should prevent hackers from forcing their way in.
3. Don’t give away any personal information
A common phishing scam is a trick to divulge confidential information like your login information, social security number, or other personally identifiable information that can be used for purposes like identity theft and gaining access to your bank accounts.
Fraudsters often send emails that appear to come from legitimate sources, such as your financial institution. In some cases, they copy the text and design of emails that you regularly receive and dupe you into thinking that it’s really your bank requesting information. However, banks generally do not request that you send personal information via email, and we recommend that you simply don’t respond to such requests.
There are various tell-tale signs of a phishing email, including a domain name that doesn’t exactly match that of the real institution, links that don’t match the domain (you can check by hovering over them), and poor spelling and grammar. If you’re unsure, you can always call your bank to check.
4. Enable two-factor authentication and use strong passwords
Many banks and financial institutions use two-factor authentication to add an additional layer of security. What this means is that a simple username and password isn’t enough to access your account. You’ll need to complete a second step, such as answering a security question or entering a code sent to you via email or SMS.
In the same vein, we encourage you to deploy strong passwords. Such passwords use alphanumeric combinations to guard against things like brute force attacks. Comparitech’s password generator tool can help if you’re unsure about how to go about this.
5. Set up notifications for your banking activity
Some banks give you the option to receive text message alerts when there’s activity on your account. While this may entail an additional monthly fee, it could be a step towards securing your account. If there’s a suspicious transaction, you will at least be notified immediately and can take corrective measures without further delay.
Banking with a VPN: Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use a free VPN to safely access online banking?
We understand paid VPN services like the one we’ve recommended in this article entail a cost, but you definitely get what you’re paying for.
It’s tempting to opt for a free VPN because there’s no upfront payment involved, but such services have a plethora of other concerns. These providers have been known to deploy criminally weak encryption standards, have a choice of only a small number of servers, and are known for their slow speeds.
Some dubious services have also tracked and mined user data in order to sell to third-party advertisers, while others have forcefully injected malware or turned idle user bandwidth into a botnet army. When it comes to protecting your online banking, a secure and reliable paid option is the clear choice.
What else can I do with a VPN?
The core use cases of a VPN are to access blocked content, evade government restrictions on sites and apps, and prevent monitoring by ISPs, hackers, and other snoopers. As mentioned earlier, VPNs can spoof your location and make it seem that you’re in a different city or town. This has the potential to open up geo-restricted streaming media sites such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and more.
If you’re traveling to a country where social media apps like Skype, Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat are blocked, then the use of a VPN can help you access these as well. All in all, it’s a great option for bypassing restrictions and accessing the unfiltered and unharnessed web.