Online banking is a double-edged sword. It gives you the convenience of checking your account, transfering funds and making investments on the go. However, with scammers and malicious characters running rampant, your account could be hacked, especially if you’re using public WiFi. That’s why you need the best VPN for banking.
- While online banking is convenient, it’s fraught with scammers and hackers.
- A VPN can encrypt and anonymize your traffic, making it difficult for any snooper to gain access to your banking information or credentials.
- ExpressVPN has the best security and privacy features for online banking. NordVPN is much cheaper than ExpressVPN, but it’s also a reliable option.
- Surfshark, CyberGhost and PIA are much cheaper VPNs for online banking, especially on the long-term plans.
Banks generally offer a number of protection features, including alert notifications and multi-factor authentication. However, scammers and fraudsters have learned how to outsmart these systems with all kinds of malware attacks, spyware and phishing scams. Your best bet is to use a virtual private network (VPN) to hide your identity and encrypt your internet traffic.
Unfortunately, not all VPNs have the kind of security and privacy features required to keep you safe while accessing your bank account online. In this guide, we’ll show you the five best VPNs that can help you keep your credentials safe. To give you a head start, ExpressVPN is the best for online banking, mainly because of its strong encryption features.
Many online banking apps and websites block VPNs to preempt fraudulent activities. Your account may be flagged by a bank if it notices that you’re accessing it with a foreign IP address or different IP addresses over a period of time. However, a VPN with excellent security and obfuscation features can help you access your bank account safely.
Most likely, the IP address you’re using has been blocklisted or banned due to fraudulent or suspicious behavior. Your best bet is to use a VPN with a dedicated IP address to get past such restrictions.
VPNs are generally safe for banking since they help to protect your banking data and online transactions. However, not all VPNs are great at encrypting your internet connection, so your account could be flagged or frozen. Choose a VPN like ExpressVPN that has top-tier encryption features.
Top VPNs for Banking
What Makes the Best VPN for Banking?
In creating this list, we examined scores of VPNs, looking for the ones with high-end security and privacy features. In addition, we tested the VPNs to see how easy they were to use. From our research and testing, the following are the best-in-class VPNs for online transactions.
- ExpressVPN — Overall best VPN for safe online banking
- NordVPN — Excellent banking VPN with a suite of security features
- Surfshark— Best cheap banking VPN
- CyberGhost— User-friendly banking VPN with a vast server network
- Private Internet Access — Affordable banking VPN with useful features
For online banking, privacy and security features are a no-brainer. Besides the standard AES-256 encryption, you need a VPN that has an automatic kill switch and leak protection (DNS, IP and WebRTC) and a strict zero-logs policy to ensure your online banking details are never exposed. Your bank may flag your account if it discovers that you’re using a VPN, so obfuscation features are crucial.
A variety of VPN protocols are also useful here since you can get a fine mix of speed and security for online banking. The gold standard when it comes to protocols is OpenVPN, but top-of-the-line VPNs offer an array of protocol options, including IKEv2 and the extra-secure WireGuard. To get a grip on VPN protocols, check out our insightful VPN protocol breakdown.
The last thing you’d want while banking online is a complicated VPN, especially if you’re new to VPNs. A good VPN should be organized and dead simple to use; it shouldn’t take more than a couple of clicks to connect or disconnect. In addition, a good banking VPN should make finding and setting advanced features a breeze, whether you’re looking to change protocols or automate your VPN.
The 5 Best VPNs for Banking
In this section, we’ll dive into the nitty-gritty of each of our banking VPNs, showing you why they made the cut as well as their standout features. It’s worth noting that all the VPNs on this list have apps for a variety of platforms, including Windows, macOS and Android.
More details about ExpressVPN:
- Pricing: cheapest plan costs $6.66 per month (15-months plan)
- Provider website: expressvpn.com
- Excellent security features
- Lightway protocol
- The fastest VPN provider
ExpressVPN is the most secure VPN of the lot, although NordVPN gives it a run for its money, as you can see in our ExpressVPN vs NordVPN comparison. With ExpressVPN, you get the military-grade AES-256 encryption alongside perfect forward secrecy and comprehensive leak protection (IP, DNS and WebRTC) as you can see in our ExpressVPN review.
What’s more, ExpressVPN’s suite of servers in 94 countries come with obfuscation to hide the fact that you’re using a VPN from your bank (or anyone else), so it won’t flag your account. Add all that to the fact that ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN and the most beginner-friendly VPN and it’s easy to see why it tops this list.
Protect Your Online Banking With the Reliable Lightway Protocol
ExpressVPN really shines when it comes to protocols. Besides the standard protocols like OpenVPN and IKEv2, the VPN service offers the modern Lightway protocol, which is faster while keeping a high level of security. In addition, you get always-on protection, which ensures that even if your network is fluctuating or you’re switching from LTE to WiFi, your VPN connection won’t drop.
ExpressVPN’s main drawback is that it’s pricey. Its monthly plan is expensive, but you can save quite a bit on the one-year plan. Each plan comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
More details about NordVPN:
- Pricing: cheapest plan costs $3.99 per month (two-year plan)
- Provider website: nordvpn.com
- Double VPN servers
- NordLynx protocol
- Dedicated IP address
- Expensive monthly plan
NordVPN trails ExpressVPN in this ranking, but not by much. In terms of the sheer number of security features, NordVPN is hard to beat. Aside from the standard AES-256 encryption and an automatic kill switch, NordVPN has some interesting features to safeguard your online banking, including a double VPN feature which encrypts your traffic twice.
Additionally, threat protection — NordVPN’s latest feature — blocks malicious sites or fake banking sites. This feature is the main reason why NordVPN is our best VPN with an antivirus. Learn more in our extensive NordVPN review.
Avoid Verification Requests With a Dedicated IP Address
When your bank notices that you’re using a different IP each time you access your online account, it might flag your account and require security measures like CAPTCHAs. NordVPN gives you a dedicated IP address to ensure you avoid the “bad neighbor” effect and access your account without hassle. However, you’ll need to pay extra for one.
NordVPN has an expensive monthly plan, but the best deal is the two-year plan, which saves you a chunk of money. Overall, it’s a relatively affordable VPN, and all of its payment plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
More details about Surfshark:
- Pricing: cheapest plan costs $2.49 per month (two-year plan)
- Provider website: surfshark.com
- Cheap long term plans
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Obfuscated servers
- Relatively slow
If you don’t have the budget for ExpressVPN or NordVPN, then Surfshark is a decent alternative, especially if you want a VPN for the long haul. Despite being one of the best cheap VPNs, it doesn’t skimp on security features. You get obfuscated servers, double VPN servers, and secure and fast protocols, including the fast and secure WireGuard.
Further, Surfshark comes with a camouflage mode which obfuscates your traffic and a NoBorders mode — useful for bypassing geoblocks in restrictive countries like China. Considering that you get access to over 3,200 servers in 65 countries, Surfshark is certainly a viable option. Learn more in our Surfshark review.
Enjoy Simultaneous Connections for Banking
Many VPNs place a limit on the number of devices you can connect at the same time. For example, ExpressVPN allows only five simultaneous connections, while NordVPN caps it at six. However, Surfshark allows you to connect an unlimited number of devices at once, making it a good choice if you often access your bank account across multiple devices.
Surfshark’s monthly plan is as expensive as ExpressVPN’s, but you get significant discounts with the one-year and two-year plans, making it one of the cheapest VPNs. Each plan comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
More details about CyberGhost:
- Pricing: cheapest plan costs $2.15 per month (three-year plan + three months)
- Provider website: cyberghostvpn.com
- Large server network
- Easy to customize
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- Inconsistent speeds on OpenVPN
Although Surfshark slightly nudges past CyberGhost in terms of security features — as you can see in our Surfshark vs CyberGhost comparison — the VPN more than holds its own. You get AES-256 encryption, an automatic kill switch, DNS leak protection and a strict no-logs policy. In addition, you can access a dedicated IP address by paying a small fee.
CyberGhost also has a larger server network, boasting over 7,400 servers in 91 countries — it’s the largest server count we’ve seen yet, though ExpressVPN covers three more countries. As protocols go, “Ghosties” get the IKEv2 and OpenVPN protocols, but there’s no WireGuard as you can see in our CyberGhost review.
Create Your Own Privacy Triggers With Smart Rules
With CyberGhost’s smart rules feature, you can customize your VPN to fit your needs. For example, you can set up CyberGhost to alert you or connect to a VPN server each time it detects a new unsecured WiFi network. You can also configure CyberGhost to launch each time you open mobile banking apps.
Like all the other VPNs on this list, CyberGhost’s monthly plan is expensive, but you get significant discounts on the long-term plans, especially if you opt for three years. Each plan comes with a 45-day money-back guarantee, the longest we’ve seen so far.
More details about PIA:
- Pricing: cheapest plan costs $3.29 per month (two-year plan), plus three free months
- Provider website: privateinternetaccess.com
- Affordable pricing
- WireGuard protocol
- Dedicated IP address
- Inconsistent upload speeds
PIA takes the fifth spot in this review, thanks in large part to its array of useful security features. Granted, it’s not as fast as the likes of ExpressVPN and NordVPN, but a lineup of AES-256 encryption, leak protection and a built-in ad blocker is nothing to sneer at.
When it comes to protocols, OpenVPN is the default, but you can also access the WireGuard protocol, which is more efficient. Note that you can get other features like an antivirus and a dedicated IP address at an extra charge.
Avoid Malicious Sites With MACE
One of the most common ways scammers steal banking details is by using fake banking sites. PIA’s built-in ad blocker, MACE, alerts you to and blocks you from visiting such malicious sites to ensure your online transactions are safe. Aside from malware, MACE also blocks ads and cross-site trackers. Learn more about MACE in our PIA review.
PIA’s most appealing plan is the three-year plan, which is heavily discounted compared to the monthly plan. Each plan comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Can I Use a Free VPN for Online Banking?
You can use free VPNs to access your online bank account, but there’s a caveat. Some free VPNs log your traffic and sell it to advertisers and hackers, potentially leaving your banking details at the mercy of third parties. In addition, such VPNs come with limitations, including few server locations, data caps, bandwidth throttling and slim pickings when it comes to security features.
That said, if you must use a free VPN, we recommend Windscribe. Backed by a strict no-logs policy, this VPN service won’t collect or track your financial data. You also get access to R.O.B.E.R.T., a handy malware blocker, as well as 10GB free data monthly. Explore more free VPNs in our best free VPN roundup.
Why Should I Use a VPN for Banking?
With online banking scams all too common, using a VPN for banking is a good way to stay secure. A VPN staves off such attacks by hiding your IP address and encrypting your internet traffic so that no one, including your internet service provider and scammers, can access your online banking sessions.
Common banking scams include malware attacks, phishing scams and worm and virus attacks. Even worse, scammers are continuously finding sly ways to trick naive victims. To ensure you don’t fall prey to scammers, use a secure VPN to anonymize your traffic.
There you have it — the best VPNs for online banking sessions to help encrypt and anonymize your traffic. As a quick recap, ExpressVPN is the best-in-class VPN for online banking, mainly because of its stellar security features, especially with the blazing-fast and secure Lightway protocol.
NordVPN is not too far behind though, with a fleet of valuable security and privacy features like double VPN and a dedicated IP address. If you don’t have the funds for ExpressVPN or NordVPN, you’ll love Surfshark and CyberGhost, which offer useful features at bargain-bin prices.
Have you ever been scammed while banking online? Which VPNs did you turn to, and did they protect your online banking sessions? Which VPNs would you like to see featured? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below, and as always, thanks for reading this post.