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Security

Understanding Account Security

Learn about how you can help secure your account, including using strong passwords, app passwords, and two-factor authentication.

Articles by Betterment Editors

By the Editorial Staff
Betterment Resource Center  |  Published: September 1, 2018


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Passwords

Two-Factor Authentication


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.

Select “Settings” from the menu and then “Security.” Click “Generate a new App Password” in the section “App Passwords.” Next, we’ll ask you which application this password is for.

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 and how do I use it?

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, such as Authy or Google Authenticator, or from a Betterment text message when you log into your account.

While no safeguard can guarantee 100% against a data or security breach, by setting up 2FA you’ll make it significantly more difficult for malicious hackers to access your account.

Enabling two-factor authentication on your account is simple. Select “Settings” from the menu and then “Security“. Go to the “two-factor authentication” section, and click “Get started”. We’ll guide you through the rest of the setup.

How do I set up two-factor authentication?

Enabling two-factor authentication on your account is simple. Navigate to Security and click “Set up two-factor authentication.”

If you’d like to set up with SMS authentication, you’ll be asked for your cell phone number to complete set up.

If you’d like to set up with a mobile authenticator application, such as Authy or Google Authenticator, we’ll give you a QR code to scan from your authenticator app to set it up.

You may set up two-factor authentication for both SMS and a mobile authenticator application.

What do I do if my phone was lost or stolen and I’m using two-factor authentication?

If your phone was lost or stolen, please call us and we will help you disable Two-Factor authentication (2FA) so you can log in. After this, you can set up 2FA for your new phone.

How do I turn off two-factor authentication?

To disable two-Factor authentication, select “Settings” from the menu and then “Security“. Click “Edit” in the section “two-factor authentication.” In the “Your second step” section, click “Remove” next to the second factors you have set up.

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