Secure Online Share Trading

Before investing your money in an online share trading account, do this.

Information verified correct on December 9th, 2016

Steps to take to ensure your financial details are safe and secure with an online share trading account.

Any time that you decide to use an online company for share trading, you need to make sure your transactions are secure and the platform is reliable. Take notice of the terms and conditions the broker offers and any potential hidden fees like commissions and expenses. This is important to ensure the system is secure and your personal details are safe.

Ensure the online share trading platform is secure

There’s always a risk when you use the Internet for any kind of financial activity, as your account could be attacked by hackers or cyber-pirates. Before starting to invest through an online trading platform, you should be aware of the security implications you could face.

In other words, you should ask yourself what your potential broker does in order to protect your future transactions and then you should also make your computer as safe as possible, as you protect your house.

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Rates last updated December 9th, 2016

How secure is your broker?

There are several encryption standards available today and your broker will probably employ one or more of them to keep your login information and the data transferred from your system to theirs secure.

This will ensure that your data can’t be viewed by anyone else or, at the very least, that it will be very difficult to gain access to it. If these encryptions are important in your online safety (such as your e-mail account and social network accounts), you should easily realise they are even more important when they protect your money and your earnings or savings.

There could also be occasional security holes. In order to avoid unpleasant situations, claims or disputes, you should always read the terms and conditions where all these issues are regulated.

If the security breach is the broker’s fault, your money should be protected as detailed in this section, but since most major security faults are with the end user and not the broker, if you don’t read it carefully, you could even lose your money.

Tips for checking the safety of your online share trading platform

  • Study the terms and conditions of opening an account
  • Are there any additional or hidden fees?
  • What encryption standards have been employed by your broker to ensure your login data is safe?
  • Keep your login details to yourself
  • Keep your records
  • Does your broker have insurance for your accounts?

Keep your login safe

You should never give your login information to another person. When you are logged in, don’t leave the computer without logging off. Your passwords should be a combination of numbers and letters and the longer they are, the better.

You should also pay attention to all those e-mails asking for your details (phishing e-mails) coming from brokers or banks. Any broker, investment company, bank or financial institution will ask for your username or password which can be changed only if you take the relevant action.

File your documents

When it comes to your finances and online trading, keep a record of everything that you do.

When you subscribe, you will need to make a deposit and then provide your information with your ID card, your credit card number, etc. These documents also have to be sent in the case of withdrawals.

You need to store all your information and documentation both in physical files and electronically in some hard drive or portable memory device in a secure and fireproof place. Relying only on your laptop or computer would be too risky, as in case of a fire, failure of your equipment or theft, you could lose everything.

If possible, you should keep copies of your records in two different secure locations. These procedures are used by companies to manage their data, external devices, equipment, computers and files.

Give your computer a health check

In a case of Internet connection slowdown or temporary stop, you should contact your broker to make sure that you did not lose money and this could help you restore the situation before the slowdown. Sometimes it is also important to take some screenshots before any transaction and after any transaction. It could be important to protect your earnings if a bad broker opens a dispute on it.

A computer crash could have the same effects, but it depends on whether it’s temporary or permanent. You should use the same approach as for the Internet connection slowdown, but if you have stored your files, an external and regular backup will be required if you need to prove anything.

Insure your money

Make sure that your broker has insurance for your accounts should anything ever occur. If their systems are breached, or if a serious computer error happens, you need to know that your money is protected.

It would be better to contact the broker’s customer service department in order to get more information about the insurance, what it covers and what’s excluded.

You should include this factor in your broker evaluation process: these cases are not that frequent, but keep in mind that you could lose all your investments because of a ‘distraction’ or negligence. So it would be wise to spend some more minutes on the evaluation process rather than losing all your savings.

When share trading online, it’s paramount that you prioritise the safety of your funds first. One of the primary reasons that people like to trade stocks is for wealth creation and it defeats the purpose of trading in the first place if you position your money in a way that is easily accessible by strangers.

Shirley Liu

Shirley is finder.com.au's publisher for banking and investments. She is currently studying a Masters in Commerce (Finance) and is the author of hundreds of articles. She is passionate about helping Aussies make an informed decision, save money and find the best deal for their needs.

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