Protecting your financial information online begins with a good password but it doesn’t have to end there. By now, I am sure you've heard that you should be using a strong, unique password for all of 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: schwab.com/Passwords.
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. Schwab also requires us to use two-factor authentication when logging into their systems. If you would like to add this additional layer of protection, you will need to contact Schwab directly at 800-435-4000.
I know that it can be a hassle and sometimes stressful to worry about online security, but these steps are simply like locking your doors at night. By taking reasonable precautions we can usually avoid any 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.