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Money 101 - Multifactor Authentication Keeps Your Accounts Safe

How to Set and Use Multiple Checkpoints in Your Account Login Steps


When you sign into one of your online accounts or connect to an app on your smartphone or tablet, you have typically used a login name and password to gain access. While those have been effective in allowing you to sign in, thieves know that many login names are simply the user’s email address, meaning it’s easy for them to discover. Since passwords can be hard to remember—especially if you are using different passwords for each account—people tend to pick simple ones, or use the same one over and over.

That’s why many online services have added another way to keep your accounts secure. Multifactor Authentication is often called Two-Step Authentication. Regardless of what you call it, the online account will require another step or “factor” in determining if you really are who you say you are.

So, how does it work? Let’s say you are logging into an online account that requires multifactor authentication. You sign into the account with your username and password, and click the submit button. With multifactor authentication, you will see a “verify your identity” panel or pop-up that prompts you for a second factor to verify your identity. Depending on the system, it might send a special code to your cellphone or email address that you’ll need to enter before the account will allow you to proceed. It might ask for your fingerprint or facial recognition on a cellphone as the authentication factor, or even ask you to use an entirely separate authentication app.

Some people turn off multifactor authentication because they feel it will be inconvenient. However, most online accounts won’t ask you to do this every time you sign in. Generally, it’s only used the first time you sign into an app or device, the first time after you change your password, or when it doesn’t recognize the device you are trying to log in from. After that you’ll just need to sign in with your primary username and password.

And this isn’t just a work or school requirement. Many online services are now adding multifactor authentication to help you keep your accounts safe. The extra security is good because somebody trying to break into your account is probably not using one of your devices. Since you registered your known device when you set up the additional layer of authentication, they won’t receive the extra factor information needed to verify the sign in.

Want to learn more? Stop by your favorite Peoples location and talk to a personal banker about our digital banking products, and how Peoples State Bank is actively working to keep your accounts as safe as possible.

Tim Dively
Vice President, Chief Technology & Operating Officer

Experienced banking executive responsible for the operational, IT, data, cybersecurity, and marketing areas at Peoples. Leads the digital transformation and data analytics functions at the bank through detailed & agile strategic plans. Working to foster an innovative culture providing the best customer experience through our customers' preferred channel is paramount. Our focus on improving efficiencies, offering best in class digital solutions, while maintaining deep relationships with our current and prospective customers makes Peoples the bank that other community banks strive to be.