Protect Your Mobile Phones and Tablets

SecurityENWith the continuing evolution of technology, mobile phones and tablets are becoming prevalent in their use, taking the place of computers for many people. We want to remind you that it is equally as important to protect your mobile phones and tablets with antivirus and anti-malware apps as it has been to protect your computer.

This need for protection has been brought more into focus lately with a malware that locks devices attacking the users/customers of larger financial institutions. While we believe that community banks like Merchants are low on the priority list of these attacks, we still want you to be prepared.

The good news for iPad and iPhone users is that there isn’t any need for the use of antivirus and anti-malware apps. It has been taken care of in the design of the device.

For Android devices, like non-Apple phones and tablets, there are a number of different of apps that can be used to combat viruses and malware. We’ve listed a number of them in alphabetical order for you and encourage you to research these apps more in depth. You can download all these apps from the “Google play” store:

  • 360 Mobile Security – Free.
  • Antivirus and Mobile Security – Free.
  • Antivirus Mobile Security – There are paid versions available.
  • AntiVirus Security Free by AVG – Free.
  • BitDefender AntiVirus Free – Free.
  • Dr. Web Antivirus – There is a free version and paid version.
  • Hornet AntiVirus Free – Free.
  • Lookout Security & Antivirus – Free.
  • Mobile Security Antivirus FREE – Free.
  • Norton Security Antivirus – There is a free version and paid version.
  • NQ Mobile Security & Antivirus – There is a free version and paid version.
  • Mobile Security and AntiVirus by Avast – There is a free version and paid versions.
  • Mobile Security and Antivirus by ESET – There is a free version and paid version.
  • Zoner AntiVirus Free – There is a free version and paid version.

Mobile Banking is Easy: Here’s how to start

person on smartphoneWhat do you need to do to access Merchants Bank’s Mobile Banking? Simply, you need to make sure you are enrolled in Merchants Bank’s Online Banking and then log into your account.

If you are a first-time user, simply go to the Merchants Bank home page and click on “Enroll” in the upper left hand corner. You can also find an informative “Demo” there.

Once you’ve enrolled, go to “Other Services” and click “Mobile Banking” to complete the enrollment process. You can download the free app you need for your Android or Apple phone or tablet device at our website. You can also download Merchants Bank’s free mobile app through your mobile phone or tablet device. The free Android app is available at the Google Play store and the free iPhone or iPad app is available at the Apple App Store or on iTunes.

Once your app is in place, you will be able to enjoy these Mobile Banking benefits:

  • Check account balances.
  • View recent transactions.
  • Transfer funds.
  • Find Merchants Bank branch and ATM locations.
  • Contact Merchants Bank Electronic Banking customer support.

If you’d prefer to utilize text banking, you can do so without downloading an app. Our Electronic Banking Department will be able to help you.

If you have any questions, please give our Electronic Banking Department a call at 866-496-0522.

 

Cyber Security Tips for Business Owners

CyberSecurityTipsIf you own a business, your list of stressors is probably vast: Sales, employee turnover, competition — so the last thing you want to worry about is your cyber security. Nevertheless, it’s important to establish an official security plan. Why? Cyber fraud (any crime that involves a computer and/or network) is becoming more and more of a frequent issue. In fact, companies with 250 employees or less suffered more than 30 percent of all online attacks last year (up from about 18 percent in 2011), according to Symantec.com’s 2013 Internet Security Threat Report.

“Cyber criminals are business people, too,” said Arild Jensen, owner of Secos Security, a Granada Hills, CA firm that specializes in cyber security for small businesses. “They’re going to go for the easiest, most rewarding target.”

Fear not. Here are five easy ways to make sure your business’s Internet environment is as secure as it can be.

1. Choose strong passwords. Make sure passwords — for e-mail, Wi-Fi, websites and other platforms — are secure. The most important aspect of creating a password: How long it is.

“The length of the password matters more than its absolute complexity,” explains Steve Gibson, president of Gibson Research in CA. They should be eight or more characters. For even more protection, include letters, numbers, punctuation or special symbols, like an exclamation point.

2. Stay up to date — on everything. That means having the latest security software, web browser, operating system, etc., which can help guard against viruses, malware and other online threats. Most of these programs can be set to update automatically. Also important: Whenever you update your antivirus software, make sure to run a scan afterward. Installing or updating your antispyware technology is crucial as well. Spyware — as the title suggests — essentially spies on you, and is able to access personal information from your business without you knowing.

3. Pay attention to Wi-Fi. Rename your office network and change the password often, about every five or six months.

“Almost anyone can go online and find software that will automatically break into [the network],” explains Michael Hicks, director of the University of Maryland — College Park’s Cybersecurity Center. Tip: Avoid making the network title your company’s name.

4. Work with your financial institution. Ask your financial institution about protection programs. They may be able to offer a plan that allows you to monitor any suspicious activity that has occurred, like checking payments that you don’t recognize. This can help you prevent any unauthorized transactions before they occur.

5. Back up your data regularly. Sometimes, even when you do everything right, hacking can still occur. Having backup copies of important business data and information ensures that you’ll never have to start from square one. Store extra files (everything from Word documents and spreadsheets to human resource info and financial files) at a location other than your office. To make it easier, set up your files so they get backed up automatically.

6. Educate your employees.
Making sure workers are up to speed on the safest online tactics means less of a chance of a cyber mishap. Also instill the importance of not posting any confidential business-related information on social media platforms they may have, and that they don’t store business-related information on personal hard drives. Your employee’s passwords should also be different from what they use for personal passwords.

 

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Target Data Breach

Target is investigating a potential data breach that may have affected millions of debit and credit cards nationwide. Initial reports indicate the breach appears to have started around Black Friday, November 28, 2013, and may have extended through the middle of December.

If you used a debit card, credit card or gift card at a Target store between these dates, please be sure to monitor your account activity closely for fraudulent transactions and report any transactions that you did not initiate to the financial institution that issued your card.

We have not yet received notification that any Merchants Bank credit cards or debit cards were involved in the breach, and even though Merchants Bank has fraud monitoring security in place, we strongly encourage Merchants Bank customers to monitor their own Merchants Bank Credit Card and Debit Card activity. For our customers who would prefer the peace of mind of having their current card(s) closed and new ones reissued, please feel free to stop in your local Merchants Bank office.

To monitor Merchants Bank Credit Card activity, please go to www.merchantsbank.com and click on Credit Card Login.

To monitor Merchants Bank Debit Card activity, please go to www.merchantsbank.com and login to your Online Banking account.

To monitor Merchants Bank Visa Gift Card activity, please go to www.ppdmoney.com or call 1-866-208-3282.

If you notice any fraudulent activity on a Merchants Bank credit or debit card, please report it as soon as possible by calling your local Merchants Bank branch or calling toll-free, 1-800-944-6285. Please note, initial reports indicate that the data breach did not affect purchases made online at Target, just in the retail stores.

For tips on protecting your card information, identity, and more, please visit https://www.merchantsbank.com/files/IdentityTheft.pdf

We’ve Got Your Back, Trust Us

Merchants Bank Trust DepartmentIf you want the freedom to travel at a moment’s notice, advice for estate planning, or help with tools for asset management, it’s a relief to know that somebody will take care of your finances.

Whether you are at home, or halfway around the world, the Trust Specialists at Merchants Bank are prepared to manage your affairs 365 days a year because we’ve got your back.

The Trust Department at Merchants Bank offers integrity, experience, and peace of mind to its clients and will come to meet with you at any of our locations.

We Care

We know how important it is to work together as a team with your other advisors to cover all the aspects of your financial life. We have a history of success that continues to motivate us with each new person and family we help realize their dreams.

Trusts are for people:

  •  Who are alone
  •  Looking for freedom
  •  Wanting to stay independent
  •  With special needs

There are different types of trusts, and your situation will best determine what is right for you:

  • Revocable living trust
  • Irrevocable living trust
  • Trust under will
  • Charitable trust
  • Power of attorney, guardian or conservator
  • Self-directed or Trustee directed IRA

We can offer you these services as well:

  • Estate planning
  • Estate administration. We can act as your personal representative
  • We can act as Trustee for revocable or irrevocable trusts
  • Healthcare coordination
  • Tax preparation and filings
  • Full-time, professional money management
  • Selecting, re-balancing and monitoring of investments

Call us at (507) 457-1153 for more information, or click here.

Enjoy A Service that Can Save You Money

OnlineBankingENDo you want access to your account any time you want? How about a service that is free and can also save you money? Well, you’re in luck because Merchants Bank has just what you’re looking for. Our Online Banking service is free to our customers and allows for you to access your account when you need to.

Your time is valuable. Merchants Online Banking gives you convenient, easy to use, secure access to your accounts via the Internet. With Online Banking, you will have access to Bill Pay and Manage My Money, which will help you get the most of your banking needs.

Bill Pay allows you to pay virtually any one or any company through your Online Banking account. Save money on your postage, checks, and envelopes when you pay for your bills online instead of by mail. You decide who you want to pay, when you want to make the payment, and the account you want the payment to come from. It’s that easy.

Manage My Money is a Personal Financial Management (PFM) tool that is offered by Merchants Bank through Online Banking. You can get a complete picture of your financial information with Manage My Money. Track your spending, create budget goals, get account balances, bill due date alerts and much more, so that you can stay in control of your finances.

Take advantage of a great service, like the Online Banking, offered at Merchants Bank. Save time and money while you make safe and secure transactions with Online Banking. Click for more information on Online Banking.

Merchants Bank cares about what you think because it is important to us that we are providing you with the best service that we can. Please take a few moments to tell us what you think by answering the questions in this survey. We appreciate your feedback and look forward to learning more about how we can serve you better.

Password Security Tip

While your children’s names, pet’s name, address, phone number, favorite sports team, favorite actor or actress, vacation spot, etc., are very memorable, there’s one thing they are not: good passwords. Most criminals can figure them out without much difficulty, and those criminals can also find those passwords when written down. So, what do you think is a secure password? A mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. A good tip is including at least three special characters before, after or within a password. For additional security tips, visit our website.

All that Glitters is Not Gold

GoldenStarsEN

There are some businesses that operate on the edge of the truth. You know them. You see them throughout the media, populating the web and video. While what they are saying may have some truth to it, it may not be the whole truth.

These companies will give something of value for your investment (though not nearly to the level of your investment). Because of that, many of these companies are legal and operate legitimately, albeit at the edge of legitimacy.

What we are asking you to do is to be skeptical of the claims these companies make. Use your common sense. The old adage remains true: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

For instance, there’s a company that sells “historical bonds,” claiming they have exceptional value. They do have value as collector’s items, but nothing more. The bonds were paid off in the 1800s after a bankruptcy. Another company claims that being a member can help you stop a mortgage foreclosure and your loan can be paid in full. You do receive some value for your “membership,” but the company often falls short of its claims.

There are several resources that can help you stay on guard against potential scams, such as the U.S. Treasury Fraud Alerts page, or our Merchants Bank security page, or our Alerts page. Protect yourself and your family by taking the time to understand what is being offered and your true costs.

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