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How safe is your banking info?

By David McMillin · Bankrate.com
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Posted: 6 am ET

How safe do you feel about your confidential banking information?

That's the question that the Ponemon Institute, a data protection research organization, aimed to answer in its recently released 2011 Privacy Trust Study for Retail Banking Survey. The survey collected responses from more than 5,500 account holders to analyze their thoughts on the commitment to privacy in the banking industry. Six institutions stood out from the pack.

  • U.S. Bank
  • Fifth Third Bank
  • PNC Bank
  • Citizens
  • BB&T / Ally (tied for fifth place)

U.S. Bank has been making its account holders feel secure for quite some time now. The Minnesota-based institution has ranked among the top five banks in each of the nine years this study has been conducted.

In an era marked by horror stories of identity theft, it looks like account holders at banks are growing increasingly anxious about ensuring their banking information remains private. Among the customers at the top five institutions, 27 percent indicated they would find a new financial home if their bank suffered a data breach.

According to the summary of the survey, many respondents indicated a high level of annoyance and concern with aggressive promotions for credit cards and mortgages that are mailed, emailed and telephoned. I can certainly understand why consumers feel that these campaigns can put them at greater risk for potential fraud. Whether someone hacks into your email or sorts through your mailbox, these offers put them one step closer to opening a line of credit in your name.

Regardless of how you feel about your bank, the reality is that the opportunity for your information to fall into the wrong hands exists. While many banks have made big strides in implementing additional security features, strong encryption methods and strategies for enhanced protection, today's cyberspace still presents plenty of problems.

Have you reviewed your bank's privacy policy? Do you feel confident that your info is safe?

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