Choosing a Safe Password and PIN

6/8/2020 12:00:00 AM

Bell Bank News

Sixty-one percent of people admit to using their passwords across multiple websites, and 44 percent of consumers change their password just once a year (or less), according to a 2018 survey. As a result, 1 out of 5 people’s online accounts have been compromised.

How can you ensure your financial information remains safe?

Unique Passwords

Start with your password. Your online banking password shouldn’t match other passwords you’ve set for email, social sites and other accounts. Make sure your password doesn’t fall on the list of the top 20 worst passwords from


Remember, the strongest passwords contain:

  • At least 10 characters
  • Both upper and lowercase letters
  • Numbers
  • Special characters (&, *, $, #, @, etc.)

Make sure your password can’t be easily guessed on user information such as birthdate, postal code or phone number.

For unique variations, consider passphrases (e.g. PlantingIsMyPassion4Ever), swapping letters for numbers and/or symbols (e.g. $@veM0ney2Day!) or reversing spelling (e.g. technology = ygolonhcet).

Protective PINs

Ten thousand possible variations exist for a 4-digit personal identification number (PIN).

When choosing yours, avoid:

  • Simple sequences or repetition (e.g. 0000, 1234, 1122 or 2233)
  • Significant dates, including your birth date or year, spouse’s birthday or anniversary
  • Any part of your Social Security number, address or phone number

To create a memorable PIN, try:

  • Creating a PIN from a word, using the dial-by-name method (i.e. LOVE = 5683)
  • Adding one to each number of the base PIN (i.e. to refer to a birthday of August 4, 1982, you could update your PIN from 8482 to 9593)
  • Combining dates or numbers (i.e. your 2-digit shoe size and 2-digit birth year, or birth year plus number of children)

Have trouble remembering all of your passwords and PINs? Consider using a password manager app like 1Password, Dashlane or LastPass to securely store all of them for you. For additional security tips, check out