In the past decade, advancements in the technology world have brought us many things. Among them is online banking, one thing we are all grateful for; it saves us time and energy we would otherwise waste queuing at the banking halls. With online banking, you can transfer money to other bank accounts, pay bills, and mobile accounts. You can even open an account online, with some local banks here in Kenya like SCB, KCB, and Absa leading the pack. However, most of us do not consider adding an extra layer of security and privacy to protect our online banking transactions. We have handpicked the best online banking VPNs of 2020 that you can trust to keep your online banking transactions as secure as possible.
What is a VPN?
A Virtual Private Network/VPN is simply a software device that allows you to securely use the internet and carry out various activities over the web.
How Does a VPN Work?
A VPN allows you to secure your communications by routing your device’s internet connection via VPN’s private servers rather than your internet service providers (ISP). It then tunnels or encrypts your IP address and assigns it to the server’s IP address. Through this, the VPN hides your online activities from any prying eyes.
Why You Need a VPN for Online Banking
Online fraudsters are always looking for ways to milk your account dry, using methods you least expect. Here in Kenya, financial institutions lost about 17B shillings in 2016 to cybercriminals, increasing from the 2015 14B loss. People complain of attempted thefts on their credits and debit cards, and some are successful, even when they have their credit cards with them. Online banking VPNs will offer you:
An Added Layer of Security
Banks have security measures for their customers, with most using HTTPS. While this is good news, you are not guaranteed privacy, even when using your home internet. A VPN will add a second layer of Encryption to all of your online banking activities. The added layer of Encryption is not easy to break and will prevent your banker, ISP, and hackers from accessing your data.
Easy to use public WiFi
Public WiFi’s are the last places you need to go for your online banking. Great as it for the business to provide a free service, most of them lack the necessary security measures. Any data from your online activities using free WiFi passes across the web, unencrypted. That means anyone with access to the right software can suck it up and use your information to access your bank account, credit cards, among others. A VPN will add a security layer on your device, allowing you to use public WiFi discretely.
Easy Access of Your Account when Traveling
Banks are sensitive to one using their accounts outside their home country. The online banking services monitor any IP addresses and match them to the account holder’s locations. Its a way of trying to catch any fraudulent activities and stolen details. Using different cell towers or WiFi networks frequently to access your account outside your home country could trigger fraud blockades. A VPN that’s available in your home country helps you in this situation. All you need to do is switch the VPN to a server in your home country since online banks don’t track whether you are using a VPN.
Read more on the best VPNs in Africa
Best Online Banking VPNs
While banks have their safety measures to protect your money and data, a VPN is an added security layer and privacy. Each of the below is easy to use, reliable, and supported across many devices, including your smartphone.
Express VPN is one of the most secure VPN service providers around. It uses a futuristic proof encryption technology with its 256-bit A.E.S (Advanced Encryption Standard) that is SSL-secured. Additionally, the platform supports IPSec, L2TP, PPTP, and OpenVPN security protocols.
Express VPN has a no-logging policy, so it does not track and log your activities. There is a kill switch feature that will automatically disconnect your device from the internet if your connection breaks. The DNS leak protection feature also ensures your DNS does not leak to your ISP.
Express VPN does not compromise on its speed. With 106 Mbps per second, its download speed is nothing short than phenomenal to experience. It is available in 94 countries and 160 locations and over 3,000 servers at your disposal. With it, you can connect up to 5 devices at once using the same plan.
There are 3 pricing plans; monthly, half-year and an annual plan. The monthly plan is currently $12.95, while the half-year plan is $59.95 billed after every 6 months. The monthly amount for this plan is $9.99, which saves you $2.96. The best plan, though, is the annual plan that is going for $99.95 per year, i.e., $6.67 per month. The yearly plan also comes with 3-free months, so your first payment gets you 15 months of VPN services at $99.95.
Nord VPN uses military-grade A.E.S encryption technology that is globally known to be the highest level of Encryption. It has a no-logging policy, so your online activities are never recorded or stored. In fact, in 2018, NordVPN was hacked, but there were no data logs of its user’s activity. Although the hacking was discomforting for privacy and security seekers, it gives you some peace, knowing the company stays true to its no-logging policy.
Its kill-switch feature will disconnect your devices if you lose connection. It makes your data more secure, even when you lose power for a short moment. NordVpn connects to 6 devices simultaneously using the same pricing plan.
NordVpn is available in 59 countries and has over 5,100 servers so you can choose a dedicated IP address from their vast array of choices. With a dedicated IP address, you can bid goodbye to all the captchas; we know how annoying those are. With the Cybersec feature, you can protect yourself from malware and block unwanted ads.
NordVPN has 4 pricing plans. There is a monthly plan of $11.95, an annual plan billed at $83.88, and a 2-year plan billed at $83.76. A long term commitment of 3 years will cost you $125.64, saving almost 70%.
IPVanish offers connectivity to more devices than the previous 2 options, up to 10. It is your go-to VPN if you have many devices or other users in the house that use online banking.
On privacy and security, IPVanish uses 256-bit Encryption, has a no-logging policy and a DNS leak protection feature. Coupled with the kill switch feature on all devices, you can rest easy when transacting using mobile banking.
IPVanish is available in more than 75 locations, has over 1,400 VPN servers, and over 40,000 shared IP addresses at your disposal.
There are 3 pricing models, where the monthly plan will cost you $11.99. The quarterly plan is $26.99 ($8.99 per month), and the annual plan is $77.99 ($6.49 per month). The long term plans will save you some money, with the yearly plan saving you at least $65.
Apart from keeping your online banking activities safe, these VPNs will also increase your overall privacy while surfing through the internet. You can also unblock streaming websites like Netflix and access blocked content in your country.