People who are not experts in information technology harbor concerns that browser cookies endanger their personal and financial records. While unsecured and suspicious websites may deploy risky cookies, those from your local bank or credit union are designed to enhance your online banking experience. We hope the following information about browser cookies in digital banking demonstrates credit unions use them in a responsible, member-friendly fashion.
What is a Cookie?
Not every platform prefers, or requires, users to agree to its browser cookies. What might seem like some type of online tracking scheme actually proves beneficial to people scrolling through website pages.
When you visit a credit union website or another type of e-commerce platform, it records the activity and may place a cookie into your browser. This brief piece of text usually includes the website’s URL and information related to its expiration. The browser cookies from legitimate sites are usually safe and well-meaning.
Browser cookies can be grouped into two basic categories — session and persistent. Session cookies typically remain with your browser until you leave a platform. They only retain your information during the period you access the platform.
By contrast, persistent browser cookies linger until their predetermined lifespan times out. Persistent cookies can be deleted from desktops, laptops, cellphones, and other devices manually. Until one of these two things occurs, this class of browser cookies will be in place the next time you visit the website and provide user benefits.
4 Ways Browser Cookies Help Your Online Banking Experience
It’s important to keep in mind that browser cookies are not harmful all by themselves. The information in cookies remains static, so it can’t morph into a computer virus. This doesn’t mean hackers cannot target them like other aspects of an electronic device. That being said, these are ways browser cookies from local banks can improve your online experience.
1. Added Security
If you are like many Americans, you probably have dozens of usernames and passwords to access your favorite e-commerce platforms. Because it isn’t pragmatic to remember them all or to jot them all down on a piece of paper and re-enter each one, you probably have them saved through an autofill feature.
This may come as something of a surprise, but autofill applications require browser cookies to function. Browser cookies also keep a record of the specific devices used to log into the platform. When a new or unusual device logs in with your username and password, an alert may be sent to ensure someone isn’t accessing your online banking without your knowledge. Those are just some of the ways browser cookies help make digitally banking secure.
2. Fraud Prevention
Because browser cookies help authenticate users and their e-commerce preferences, they can be inversely employed to detect suspicious activity. For example, Google deploys cookies called “SID” and “HSID” that contain encrypted information about your user ID and most recent sign-in time. The search engine giant uses this information to block attempts by cybercriminals to steal digital information. Local credit unions also use browser cookies to keep member information and their accounts safe from fraudsters.
3. Personalized Experience
E-commerce and banking platforms rely on browser cookies to “remember” what you looked at the last time you visited. By leveraging this information, the platform can automatically customize your online experience.
If you run a search on Amazon for loose-fitting jeans, the next time you log into the e-commerce platform, you can anticipate various types of jeans to appear somewhere on the page. That’s similar to what a credit union does when members return to the website. The browser cookies may prompt the website to show you the latest auto loan rates or perks of a low-interest credit card. Rather than seeing a barrage of promotions users are not interested in, browser cookies streamline the experience.
4. Never Miss An Exciting Offer
Local banks understand their community members want to consider the best money-saving offers possible. When new products or services become available, the data from browser cookies helps narrow the focus of online ads, emails, and text messages.
For example, if the browser cookies related to your online banking experience indicate you’ve checked money market interest rates, learning about an uptick may prove beneficial. Financial institutions use browser cookies to understand what your needs are and sync that information with exciting new opportunities.
Is My Information Safe?
The cookies you accumulate from local banks are in no way, shape or form dangerous. They are subject to cybersecurity scrutiny and are used to keep your accounts safe. Browser cookies also make it easier to navigate from page to page on wide-reaching platforms. If you believe a nefarious website planted a tracking cookie in your device, you can delete them. Online banking cookies will be repopulated the next time you visit the platform.