Understanding Account Security
Learn about how you can help secure your account, including using strong passwords, app passwords, and two-factor authentication.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
What makes a strong password?
Your security is our priority. A strong password is critical to helping to ensure that your money and data aren’t compromised, so please take a moment to read this information and make sure you are protected.
Good passwords are both long and random. When setting a password, select a longer password for the best protection. We require you to use at least eight characters in your password, although 10+ is better. Try to avoid using first or last names, common places, names of products or services, or any other information that people may know about you or that are discoverable online.
One way to set a strong password is to use a passphrase. Instead of using just letters and numbers, use a collection of random words separated by hyphens, commas, spaces, or other special characters. An example passphrase could be: “elephant gray wrinkles, animals.”
Another method is to take a phrase or sentence from your favorite song or book that is easy for you to remember, and use the first letter from each word. Then mix in some numbers or symbols to add some complexity. For example, “The sky is gray before it rains.” may become “Tsigb4ir.!”
How do I set up an App Password?
App Passwords help you to connect to finance applications and services (such as Mint and TurboTax) for convenience and productivity in a safer way.
Lastly, we’ll show you the password we generated for you. We will only display this once. To use this password, simply copy and paste the 20-character password shown and use it to log in to the application you set it up for. You won’t need to remember it, so don’t write it down or share it with anyone.
Only connected applications can use this password to see your account. This password will not work for logging into Betterment directly.
What is two-factor authentication?
Two-factor authentication (2FA) helps to 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 or voice message when you log into your account. While no safeguard can guarantee 100% against a data or security breach, 2FA makes it significantly more difficult for malicious hackers to access your account.
We’ll text you a code via SMS or you can request a code via a phone call. If you’d like to set up with a mobile authenticator application, simply head to Settings once you’re in.
Once two-factor authentication is set up, we’ll remember which trusted device you used for two years, so that you don’t have to keep entering codes every time you sign in on the same device.
What do I do if my phone was lost or stolen?
If your phone was lost or stolen, please call us and we will help you set up 2FA on your new device.
What Encryption Means for Your Financial Security
Encryption and hashing are mechanisms used to conserve your data’s confidentiality and integrity, so that your secrets are kept secret when you send them to us and our servers.
Jon Stein on “How I Built This:” Reflecting On Our Story
Jon Stein joins NPR’s Guy Raz for an episode of “How I Built This” to look back at how Betterment started, what mistakes were made, and how they turned into learnings for the robo-advisor we are today.
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