Steve Coker, CFP
Protecting your Schwab account – beyond the password.
Protecting your financial information online begins with a good password but it doesn’t have to end there. By now, I am sure that you have heard that you should be using a strong, unique password for all the websites that you visit (or at least for your important sites like bank accounts and brokerage accounts.) If you are not at least doing this, I strongly suggest that you take a moment to create a strong unique password for your Schwab account. I know this can be a hassle, but it is a simple and important step in protecting your account. Your password is stored in a very secure way at Schwab, but it may not be as securely stored at your local gym or yogurt shop. You shouldn’t use the same password for both. To make changes to your Schwab password visit: here.
If you would like to go beyond a strong password, an additional step that you can take is to enroll in “Two-Factor” authentication. Essentially, two-factor authentication requires you to enter a one-time code, usually from an app on your phone, in addition to your password when logging into your account. This means that even if someone were to guess your password or grab it from public WiFi it would be of no use without the one-time code. The code changes at each login, providing a unique identification each time you log in (Pretty cool!) Here at Cedarstone we have moved to two-factor authentication for our important sites and Schwab requires us to use two-factor authentication when logging into their systems
While Two-Factor Authentication sounds complex, the process is quite simple. Here is how you get started:
Download the Symantec VIP Access app for iPhone or Android
Call Schwab at 800.435.4000 to enroll in Two-Factor Authentication. When you call Schwab, you’ll need to provide the unique identification number of your Symantec app.
Once you are enrolled you will add the unique, 6-digit code to the end of your password. For example, if your login id is “Sam” and your password is “greeneggs,” you would also need to open your VIP Access app on your phone for a unique id. We’ll use ‘123456’ in our example, but the code will change every 30 seconds. When you go to the Schwab website your new login credentials would be entered in the following fashion:
Login Id: Sam
I know that it can be a hassle and sometimes stressful to worry about online security, but these simple steps are like locking your doors at night. By taking reasonable precautions we can avoid most problems. Also, remember that Schwab has a very strong guarantee against unauthorized activity, covering “100% of any losses in any of your Schwab accounts due to unauthorized activity”. You can read the full text of the Schwab Security Guarantee here.