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How you can help teenagers remember their bank passwords

best digital password keeperAnother half-term, another banking crisis. This time Darling Son has managed to screw up his login details for his mobile Lloyds app. Don’t ask me how, something to do with the fingerprint opening of the smart phone. 
The solution apparently is to delete the app and start again. But guess what, he’s also forgotten all the online passwords. “Didn’t you write them down, Mum?” No actually, or if I did, they have got lost in the stacks of Minted paperwork that never seem to lessen on my desk.

Even though the account is his responsibility, at the tender age of 14, I feel he does need a guiding hand so it’s off the local branch (we still have one) to sort out. But it did get me thinking about passwords. Goodness, how many there are! Every time you switch your gas supplier, there’s another one to create and remember. I went looking for some digital help and, courtesy of techradar.com the top three apps for password management are LastPass, Dashlane and RoboForm.

It’s worth reading the full article but I’ll summarise what you need to know here. These apps come as a free or paid-for premium annual subscription. They work on desktops and on phones (useful for teenagers). They create, store and actually input the password for you when you log into an individual site. Some of them can encrypt your credit card number differently for every online transaction you make.

Another brilliant feature is an inactivity alert (sometimes called a digital will). So if you’re hospitalised or worse, all the information is made accessible to your nominated secure contact. This would be indispensable to the Minted household as most of the passwords to utility companies and financial services are kept in the supersafe, unhackable memory section of my brain.

The one downside to a digital password keeper is that it is also (ultimately) vulnerable to hackers and your own human error. Imagine forgetting the password to your passwords! Keeping a paper copy somewhere safe in the house might be a good idea (ie not by your computer). Make sure it is accessible by your partner or safe nominated contact too. Perhaps include the kids’ passwords on it too if they can’t or won’t make their own arrangements.

It’s also possible to lock a Word document or Excel spreadsheet with a password. At the very basic level, you could keep a regularly updated list protected on your desktop. Just make sure you don’t forget how to get into that either…

See our SMM guide to being safe online for more tips.

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Wednesday, 22 May 2019