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8 Steps to a Safer and More Secure Betterment Account

Here are eight safeguards, including Two-Factor Authentication, that help keep your Betterment account safe and secure.

Articles by The Security Team
By The Security Team Betterment Published Dec. 16, 2016 | Updated Oct. 08, 2019
Published Dec. 16, 2016 | Updated Oct. 08, 2019
4 min read
  • We strive to improve upon traditional security standards to protect your account and financial data.

  • You can help exercise good security behavior by using strong passwords and keeping your devices updated.

  • Two-factor authentication and App Passwords help enhance your Betterment account security.

At Betterment, your account security is our priority. We’re working hard to continue building ways to help keep your accounts safe and secure.

From our robust physical security protections for our servers to the safeguards we’ve put in place to protect you, our services are designed to improve upon traditional security.

Built-In Safeguards to Protect Your Account

Betterment has already implemented a number of safeguards to help protect your account. These include:

  • Identity Verification. We conduct thorough identity verification checks for all new customers to confirm that the information provided is accurate, not suspicious, and not on any government watch lists.
  • Transaction Review. We monitor transactions on an automated and manual basis to detect potentially fraudulent and suspicious behavior on our customer accounts.
  • Automatic Logout. If you are logged in and inactive for an extended period of time, we’ll automatically log you out of your account to protect you from unauthorized user access.
  • Contact Information Safeguards. Additional security mechanisms are in place to protect you from unauthorized changes to your account information.
  • Account Ownership Verification. We verify that you have proper access to any synced external accounts, to help ensure that you have linked the correct outside account to your Betterment account.
  • System Outage Protection: If there was ever a system outage, we have processes in place to help keep your financial account data safe and secure.
  • Touch ID: When accessing your Betterment account from an iPhone, you can add a layer of protection by requiring your thumbprint for access. You can even use Face ID on an iPhone X.

It’s important to remember, however, that even with all of these safeguards in place, there are a few things you can also do to help protect your account.

When conducting personal financial business online or on your mobile device, you are also responsible for helping to keep your personal account secure. We recommend taking the following precautions to help protect your account.

Practice Good Password Security

Your password is the key to your Betterment account, so we want to help ensure that you’re using a good, strong password. We also know that you’ve heard this a million times, but we’re going to tell you what we think makes your password up to snuff.

Good passwords are both long and random. For your Betterment account password, you should avoid using names, places, names of products or services (e.g., “investing” or “Betterment”), and any other factoids that people may know about you or that are discoverable online.

Each time you create or reset your account password, we’ll help you see how strong it is. We recommend using unique passwords across all of your online services; this prevents any other services from impacting the security of your Betterment account.

While good password practice may seem daunting, there are a number of password manager tools to help you generate and remember your passwords safely. Some examples of these tools are 1Password and LastPass.

Two-Factor Authentication

To help combat security breaches, Betterment uses two-factor authentication (2FA) to help protect your account from theft, even if an attacker has obtained your password.

With this additional layer of security, you’ll be required to enter a unique verification code either from a mobile authenticator application or from a text message or voice call when you log into your account on a new device, or, if you haven’t used 2FA on that device for two years.

While no safeguard can 100% guarantee protection against a data or security breach, 2FA makes it significantly more difficult for malicious hackers to access your account.

Use App Passwords When Connecting Third-Party Applications to Your Betterment Account

Personal finance applications and services (such as Mint and TurboTax) make your life easier. But, they also come with additional risks. By using your username and password to connect these services to your Betterment account, you increase the risk of unauthorized access to your account. Instead, Betterment offers the ability to leverage read-only App Passwords for these services.

App Passwords allow you to connect these services for convenience and productivity but in a safer way. When using App Passwords, these services will only have the ability to view your account balance and other financial transaction information, without the ability to make changes, withdrawals, or deposits to your account. This way, you can take advantage of the benefits of these services with an additional level of security.

From your Security tab, you should also consider periodically reviewing the third-party services you’ve granted access to your Betterment account, and revoke access from any applications or services that you no longer wish to use.

Use Only Trusted Machines and Networks

You’re probably using one or two trusted devices for your banking and financial activities. On these devices, make sure you are working with the latest security updates to the operating systems and applications installed. This is actually far easier than it sounds, with most systems and applications offering automated update options.

Finally, any time you use a public or unsecured wifi network to access the Internet, you should refrain from logging into any websites containing sensitive personal details or financial information. If you must access these websites using an unsecured network, make sure the URL or Web address begins with “https”; the “s” means that it is secure.

If You See Something, Say Something

In addition to making it more difficult for hackers, implementing our recommended security tips will make it easier for us to identify suspicious behavior on your accounts. This allows us to more quickly alert you of this activity or take necessary action.

We also recommend that you periodically review your account to verify any activity and transactions. Remember that Betterment sends transactional emails to confirm any movement into or out of your account, and you can also review your account activity at any time from the Activity tab.

If at any time you suspect that your account may have been compromised or misused, please contact our support team immediately.

For more information on our security practices and ways to protect your account, you can visit: https://www.betterment.com/security/security-procedures/

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