While you might not think of your Nintendo account as a prime target for attack, thanks to reports of fraudulent activity, the company is now urging you to secure your Nintendo account by enabling two-factor authentication.
So, in this article we’ll show you how to secure your Nintendo account so that everything on your Switch stays safe. Note that most of these steps must be done using your computer or phone rather than the Switch itself.
1. How to Enable Two-Factor Authentication on Your Nintendo Account
Two-factor authentication increases your account security by requiring a code from your phone in addition to your password in order to log in. This dramatically increases the security of your account.
You can help secure your Nintendo Account by enabling 2-Step Verification.
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) April 9, 2020
To enable two-factor authentication (2FA), head to the Nintendo Account login page and sign in with your username and password. Depending on your linked accounts, you may also be able to sign in with a Nintendo Network ID or social media account.
Once you’ve signed in, you’ll see your account settings. Click the Sign-in and security settings tab on the left, then find the 2-Step Verification settings header at the bottom. Click Edit to proceed.
On the resulting screen, you’ll see Not set under 2-Step Verification. Select the 2-Step Verification setup button to continue on. The site will then ask you to verify your email address; click Send email if it’s correct.
If it isn’t, select User info from the left sidebar and click Edit next to E-mail address to change it.
You’ll then receive an email from Nintendo with a verification code. Enter that code and click Submit to move forward.
Installing a 2FA App on Your Phone
At this point, you’ll need to install an authenticator app on your phone if you don’t use one already. Nintendo recommends Google Authenticator, but Authy is one of the best alternatives to Google Authenticator .
Authy works on multiple devices, so it’s easier to migrate if you get a new phone or lose yours. Plus, you can install Authy on your computer for convenience, back up accounts to the cloud, and protect the app with a PIN.
Tap Add Account (which appears under the three-dot menu button at the top-right on Android) followed by Scan QR Code. Use your phone’s camera to scan the code that appears in Step 2 on Nintendo’s website.
If this doesn’t work, select Enter Code Manually in Authy, expand the Manual input option on Nintendo’s page, and enter that code to link the app.
You’ll then start seeing codes generate in Authy. Enter the current code in Step 3 on the website to confirm everything is working properly.
Finally, you’ll see several backup codes. These allow you to log into your Nintendo account even if you can’t access your two-factor authentication method. It’s important that you write them down or save them someplace safe (start using a password manager if you don’t already) so that you don’t get locked out of your account. Note that these are single-use, but you can generate more if needed.
Using Two-Factor Authentication
That’s all you need to do in order to set up two-factor authentication on your Nintendo account. Now, when you sign in on a new device, you’ll need to submit a code from Authy after you enter your password.
If you ever need to review your backup codes or want to turn off two-factor authentication, return to the above 2FA page. Choose Review backup codes to check yours or generate new ones, or Delete settings to remove 2FA from your Nintendo account.
2. How to Change Your Nintendo Account Password
Two-factor authentication is vital for protecting your account, but it’s not the only step you should take. Setting a strong password that you haven’t used anywhere else is important as well. It’s a good idea to change yours if you haven’t done so in a while.
To change your password, head to Sign-in and security settings again on your Nintendo account page and click Edit next to Change password. Enter your current password, then you’ll be prompted for a new one.
Unfortunately, the service limits you to 20-character passwords. We recommend that you use a password manager to create and store a strong password for your account.
3. How to Review Your Nintendo Account Sign-in History
While you’re making your Nintendo account more secure, you should make sure that no unauthorized devices have signed into it. On the Sign-in and security settings page, you’ll see a Sign-in history section. Click View to see full details on this.
This shows you every device that has logged into your Nintendo account over the last 30 days. Note that it counts each browser as a different device, so you may see what appear to be duplicates.
The location is unfortunately limited to the country, so it’s not particularly helpful if you think someone in your region may have broken into your account. To be safe, you can click the Sign out from all devices link below the list to end all sessions.
If you sign out of all devices because you think someone has broken into your account, you should immediately change your password to keep them from signing back in.
4. How to Disconnect a PayPal Account From Your Nintendo Account
For convenience, you can link your PayPal account to your Nintendo account. This allows you to fund purchases on the Nintendo Switch eShop through a PayPal payment method.
However, you should consider disabling this for security. In April 2020, many people complained that bad actors had broken into their Switch and used their PayPal account to spend hundreds of dollars on in-game items—usually V-Bucks in Fortnite.
Someone hacked my PayPal and spent $200 on Nintendo games?! pic.twitter.com/pc5eRvHXSY
— Vexonym (@Vexonym) April 19, 2020
Click the Shop menu link on the left-side of your Nintendo account settings page to open a new tab with eShop preferences. Here you’ll see if you have a credit card or PayPal information saved on your account.
Choose Delete to remove a saved credit card, if you have one. Below, you can Unlink your PayPal account if you’ve connected it in the past.
Scroll down and select Purchase History to review recent transactions on your account if you want to check for foul play.
Paying on the eShop
After you remove all saved payment details for your account, you’ll have to enter your credit card number each time you make a purchase on the eShop. This is inconvenient, but will prevent anyone who breaks into your account from abusing your payment method.
If you have any recurring charges associated with your account, such as a Nintendo Switch Online subscription, you’ll need to have enough funds to automatically renew them. Your subscription will end if you don’t have enough to cover the cost when the renewal date comes.
To add funds to your account without linking a payment method, you can purchase Nintendo eShop gift cards. These are available digitally with instant delivery on Amazon, as well as physically in supermarkets, drug stores, GameStop, and other retailers.
Secure Your Nintendo Account
We’ve looked at a few simple ways to keep your Nintendo account safe and secure. There’s little chance of someone breaking into your account if you use a secure password and 2FA, but it’s still good to take steps for maximum security.
Consider enabling alerts with your credit card company so that you know right away if someone makes an unauthorized charge on your account. And if you do become a victim of fraud, you should contact Nintendo before contacting your credit card company. Some people have reported that Nintendo won’t look into cases that were already marked as fraud.
If you play on other systems too, make sure you know how to enable two-factor authentication on all of your gaming accounts .
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