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One of the easiest ways to manage your finances is through your online bank account. Normally it’s straightforward to access your bank account online, but sometimes problems do happen. Perhaps you are seeing an error like ‘online banking is not available to you at this time.’
Asking yourself “Why can’t I log into my bank account?” We’ve rounded up some tips to hopefully help you resolve it. Many of these tips can also be used for any other site you’re having login troubles with.
Check Your Bank’s Service Status
Before going through any troubleshooting steps, you should first verify that the problem isn’t on your bank’s end. The best method to check this is by looking at your bank’s service status page if they have one.
Do a web search for “[bank name] service status” and you should find the page. If it doesn’t exist, you could also try looking at the bank’s official social media pages to see if they’ve posted anything there.
Alternatively, use a site like Downdetector. This is where people report problems with websites or services. It also tracks user location, which is helpful if the problem might be local.
Double Check Your Credentials
Wait! Before you skip this step, just double check that you’re using the right credentials. If you have multiple bank logins, make sure you haven’t got them mixed up. It’s a simple thing to suggest, but it’s surprising how often the problem is an accidental Caps Lock or missed character.
Okay. You’re certain it’s all correct? Let’s continue.
Update Your Browser
You should always ensure your web browser is running the latest version. An update can come with new security features, compatibility fixes, and plenty of other goodies that can enhance your browsing experience—and fix any browsing problems you might be having, including login issues.
Your browser should update itself automatically. To check, on Chrome input chrome://settings/help in the address bar and on Firefox go to menu > Help > About Firefox. Alternatively, go to the browser’s official website and download the latest version there.
Disable Your Browser’s Extensions
If you use browser extensions, like ad block or a password manager, they might interfere with the bank’s login systems. They could accidentally hide a form field or intercept the connection and cause an error.
You should disable your browser’s extensions and see if this resolves the problem. If it does, you can enable them one at a time to see which is causing the issue. Once established, ensure the extension is updated or keep it disabled until it’s patched.
To manage your extensions on Chrome, input chrome://extensions/ into the address bar. For Firefox, input about:addons.
Check Your Tracking Protection Settings
Your browser or anti-virus software might be running tracking protection that is too strict.
For example, Firefox has Enhanced Tracking Protection to try to stop your activity being followed online. To access it, input about:preferences#privacy into the address bar. Use the Standard setting, which offers protection but still allows for useful cookies, and see if you can log in to the bank now.
You should also check any anti-virus software you have running to see if they have similar settings. You might even want to temporarily disable them to determine if the program is causing the problem.
Clear Your Cookies and Site Data
We have covered how to delete your browser cookies, so you can follow the advice there, but you don’t need to delete everything.
Doing so will log you out of every website, which is inconvenient, and we can sandbox such an environment in the next step anyway.
Instead, search for your bank’s domain name and delete those specific cookies. While it is likely that they are also using cookies not on their domain name, which will be harder to determine, it’s a good step to try.
In Chrome, you can manage specific site cookies by going to chrome://settings/siteData in the address bar. On Firefox it’s about:preferences#privacy, scroll down to Cookies and Site Data, and click Manage Data.
Try Incognito or Private Mode
Incognito mode, or private browsing, is basically using your normal browser with a clean slate. It doesn’t save browsing history or information entered in forms, and importantly it doesn’t bring across your cache or cookies.
This is a good way to determine if the problem with your bank’s login lies within your cache or cookies. To open incognito on Chrome, press Ctrl + Shift + N. To open private browsing on Firefox, press Ctrl + Shift + P.
Try a Different Browser
Switch to another browser and see if this fixes the problem. The best browsers to use are Chrome or Firefox, so if you use one of those then try the other. You don’t need to permanently switch browser, but it is always good to have a backup installed when problems like this occur.
The reason this can fix the problem is that browsers are not built the same. They might use different standards or have different features. This is why websites can not only look different on other browsers but also function differently too.
Still Broken? Contact Your Bank
If you’re still not able to log into your bank account after performing all of these steps, then it’s more than likely your bank’s fault. Call up the bank, explain the problem, and follow their troubleshooting steps.
Stay safe when doing your banking online. Check out the methods hackers use to access your bank account so that you can protect yourself.
Image Credit: Mukumbura