Online banking has become much more popular in recent years. In 2013, Pew Research published the results of a poll showing that 51% of adults prefer online banking. This was the first time a poll showed more people prefer it to the traditional alternative.
Despite its many advantages, online banking still has some challenges. The biggest frustration customers face next to the security risks is getting locked out of their accounts.
Getting locked out of your account can be a serious problem
Nothing is more frustrating than getting locked out of your bank account. Unfortunately, this problem happens more often than customers would like. Sometimes the problem is on the bank’s end. A couple of years ago, Spanish banking provider BBVA reported that it had problems with upgrading to a new system. As a result, 10% of their customers were unable to access their accounts for over a day. A couple of weeks ago, British banking company TSB announced that half of their customers still couldn’t access their online accounts for over a week.
The good news is that the problem is usually not on the bank’s end. Why is this a good thing? Because you can usually resolve the problem more quickly if it is due to a problem with your account or browser.
What can you do when you aren’t able to access your online banking account?
Being locked out of your online banking account can be a huge hassle. Don’t worry – there is usually a quick fix. Before calling up your bank directly or heading over to a local branch, here are some things to try.
- Check your router
Surprisingly, outdated routers can keep you from logging into your online bank account. Great Southern Bank reports that most of the people that were unable to login to their online dashboard were using outdated Belkin routers. They provided a great troubleshooting guide that helps fix the problem. Here are the steps that they recommend:
- Disconnect the cable from the modem or internet port (the port should be clearly marked on the router)
- Plug the cable directly into your computer
- Restart your PC
- Try logging into the online banking site again
- If you are able to successfully login to the site, it means that your router needs to be replaced
This may be one of the first things to check if you have an old modem, since GSB and other banks report that it is one of the most common reasons that customers can’t access their online banking account.
- Start by updating your browser
When you aren’t able to access your online banking account? Your first assumption is usually that there is a problem with the site. Your Internet browser is probably the last thing that you are thinking about. However, it is surprisingly common for browser bugs to keep you from logging in properly.
Start by updating your browser. Chrome and Firefox should update on their own, but you may need to try manually updating them if a recent version is causing problems. If you are using Internet Explorer, you will need to use the Windows update feature to resolve any problems from a previous version. Linux-based browsers can cause a lot more issues. This is not because they aren’t as high-quality as Chrome or Firefox. The real issue is that most people fail to update them regularly. You need to run manual system updates to get the most recent browser version. Otherwise, your Linux browser may not be compatible with the newest versions of your online banking dashboard.
Find out when your browser was last updated. You may not realize that you are running an old version, which means that a quick update may be the solution that you need.
- Take a look at your plugins
If you are running the most recent version of your browser and still can’t login? The problem may be your plugins. These aren’t automatically updated when you update your browser.
You may need the newest version of Java or Flash to access your online banking site. Try to update them and see if this solves the problem.
After setting up these applications, go to the Java Control panel. Click “View”, so you can see the Java Runtime Environment Settings. Check the Enabled box to make sure the latest run time is enabled. Click “OK” to save the settings and then click “OK” in the next dialogue box to confirm the changes.
- See if your account was locked for excessive login attempts
Most online banking systems have stringent security protocols in place. They may lock your account if you try to login to many times.
You may have been locked out the last time that you tried logging in, because you had forgotten your password or didn’t realize that you left the CAPS lock key on.
Every bank has a different policy for handling this. Some will lock you out for 15 minutes or more after five consecutive failed login attempts. Others will require you to call or visit your local branch have your access reinstated. You may have forgotten that you need to manually reset your account. Find out if this is the reason before panicking. The solution may just be a phone call away.
- Try turning off your VPN or proxy
Many people use proxies or VPNs to shield their privacy. The problem is that your bank may not recognize your credentials if you are using these tools to encrypt your traffic. Dennis Faas, a online security expert and the editor of Info Packets, advises against using VPNs for online banking, because they often interfere with connections. This is particularly true if the connection keeps dropping and the VPN doesn’t allow tunnel leakage, because all data packets will immediately be severed. If this happens after you connect to the login page, you won’t be able to connect.
Turning your VPN off and see if you are able to login to your account again. You could also try using an IP address that is closer to where you live. Your bank may be blocking you from accessing your account, because your VPN IP address is from a different region then it is used to registering.
- Try browsing in private mode
Sometimes your browser just has too many troublesome files are cookies in your cache. Even after you try clearing it, some of them may still be lingering for some reason. It is a good idea to try browsing in private or incognito mode. This means that any remaining impurities from your regular browser will no longer be interfering.
- Try clearing your cache
You never know what cached files are going to interfere with your browser. You may have noticed that you occasionally have difficulty logging into Facebook, online banking sites or other applications when you haven’t cleared your cache for a while.
Try clearing it and see what happens. You may be able to resolve the problem right away. You may also need to try changing your login preferences or deleting any cookies. However, you may want to leave these two options as a last resort, because you will probably be locked out of other sites as well. This can be an inconvenience, so try to find other solutions first.
Don’t Get Discouraged if You Can’t Login to Your Online Banking Account – There is Usually a Solution
It is stressful when you can’t login to your online bank account. Fortunately, there is usually a good reason. Try following these steps and see if that fixes the issue. If all else fails, don’t hesitate to call the bank and see if they can help.