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5 Best VPNs for Online Banking: Stay Secure and Safe in 2021

If you use public WiFi for online banking on the go, you could one day find your entire banking account cleared out by hackers. Hotspots like those at cafes and airports are not secure, and it can take a cybercriminal just minutes to steal your personal information.

With scams running rampant, it’s more important than ever to secure your internet connection every time you go online, whether you’re at home or on the run. VPNs protect you from identity theft, fraud, fake banking sites, and other threats by encrypting your internet connection. When you use a VPN, criminals can’t monitor your online traffic to gain access to your banking credentials and other important information.

However, not all VPNs work with online banking or are secure enough to keep you safe; some use encryption that’s too weak to deter hackers, while others may even log or sell your data themselves. After testing dozens of services, I found NordVPN is the best VPN for online banking. It offers the best combination of security, speed, and ease of use. Plus, you can try NordVPN for free by using its 30-day money-back guarantee.

Try NordVPN For FREE For 30 Days

Short on Time? These Are the Best VPNs for Online Banking in 2021

  1. NordVPN — Offers military-grade encryption and its CyberSec security suite so you can safely access your online banking anywhere — even on public WiFi. As a bonus, you can try it out for free for 30 days using its money-back guarantee.
  2. ExpressVPN — Advanced anonymity and security features ensure your personal information stays private, but you’ll pay more compared to other VPNs.
  3. Surfshark — Automatically blocks fake banking sites and other threats, but its speeds could be better.
  4. CyberGhost — Offers rules to activate the VPN when you connect to unsecured WiFi and block malicious sites, but you have to enable these settings manually.
  5. Private Internet Access — Thousands of worldwide servers allow you to bank from virtually anywhere, but it lacks automatic protection for unsecured networks.

Best VPNs for Online Banking (Updated in 2021)

1. NordVPN — Military-Grade Encryption for Ultra-Secure Online Banking

  • Security suite blocks ads and dangerous sites infected with malware, keeping you safe from hackers and banking scams
  • No-logs policy keeps your sensitive information private
  • 5,460 servers that can secure banking apps in 60 countries
  • 6 simultaneous device connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Also works with: PayPal, Cash App, Venmo, Google Pay, WePay, TransferWise, Skrill, Payoneer
  • Compatible with: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Firefox, Chrome, Linux, Blackberry, routers, and more

When you connect to NordVPN, your internet traffic is secured by AES 256-bit encryption (also known as military-grade encryption). By passing your data through a secure tunnel, the VPN makes it impossible for third parties to access or monitor your internet traffic — not even the best hackers can invade your connection. You also have the option of using the Double VPN feature to encrypt your data twice for maximum security (perfect for sketchy hotspots).

NordVPN’s CyberSec security suite is a huge bonus — it comes with your standard subscription so you won’t need to pay extra for it as you might with other VPN companies. It blocks malware-infected websites like those that hackers use to steal your banking information, and its database of dangerous sites is constantly updated to keep you safe. As an added benefit, it also blocks annoying ads on news sites, YouTube, and anywhere else you browse.

Screenshot demonstrating how NordVPN's CyberSec security suite blocks ads on a news site

I connected to NordVPN and refreshed the page, and the ads disappeared!

As a VPN can only protect you when it’s active, NordVPN offers another important security feature: an automatic kill switch. Should your VPN connection somehow drop, the kill switch activates to cut your internet connection, instantly stopping all transmission over the unsecure connection until the VPN protection is restored.

Another great thing about NordVPN is its large network of 5,460 servers in 60 countries, so you’re sure to find a server where you are located. Connecting to a server in your home country while traveling means you can log into your bank account from abroad as though you were at home — without triggering your bank’s security measures and getting locked out.

I ran tests to see if NordVPN leaked my DNS or IP information while I was connected — it passed every test.

Screenshot showing that NordVPN passed an IP leak test

The leak test showed an address and location that were not mine, proving that NordVPN protected my identity

Your IP address and DNS requests are two ways a website can see where you’re located; since NordVPN never leaks this information, your real location is never revealed to your online banking site or app (so your bank won’t register the login as suspicious).

It was a bit disappointing to see that NordVPN doesn’t accept PayPal payments in every country, but I was pleased to see I could pay with cryptocurrency for added privacy.

I was also thrilled to discover that you can save money and get up to 68% off your subscription with NordVPN’s new offer.

You can also try NordVPN for free with its 30-day money-back guarantee to see if you like it before committing. I tested the guarantee process by requesting a refund through NordVPN’s live chat, and the process was hassle-free. I know many companies can be pushy about trying to get you to stay, but I didn’t experience that here. Instead, the representative was friendly and approved my refund in minutes. I got my money back in just 1 day — much sooner than I expected.

Stay Safe With NordVPN!

2. ExpressVPN — Strong Security Features Protect Your Financial Information

  • 3,000 servers in 90 countries help you log into your online banking wherever you are
  • Military-level security to protect your login details and financial information
  • 5 simultaneous device connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Also works with: PayPal, Cash App, Venmo, Google Pay, WePay, TransferWise, Skrill, Payoneer
  • Compatible with: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Linux, Chromebooks, routers, and more

ExpressVPN’s latest deal April 2021: Get 3 months completely free on your annual subscription with this current offer! It’s not for certain when this deal will end so it’s best to check the deals page to see if it’s still available.

ExpressVPN is serious about privacy. I looked into the small print of its terms and conditions, and I found that it operates on a strict zero-logs policy that’s backed up with TrustedServer tech (a clever feature that frequently wipes ExpressVPN’s servers clean) and verified through an audit by security experts PricewaterhouseCoopers. This means the VPN never logs or stores your data, so your banking details will never be exposed by a breach.

In addition to military-grade, 256-bit AES encryption (combined with perfect forward secrecy) that ensures your connection can’t be hacked, ExpressVPN offers several security protocols, including L2TP, OpenVPN, IKEv2, PPTP, WireGuard, and its exclusive Lightway, so you can configure your connection to meet your unique needs.

You also get a kill switch that protects you in case of accidental disconnects and the option to launch ExpressVPN on device startup for automatic protection. Activate these features in the settings menu, and you’ll be safe from hackers when you check your bank account at restaurants, hotels, airports, and more.

Screenshot showing how to activate ExpressVPN automatic launch and its kill switch

Make sure automatic startup and the kill switch (Network Lock) are activated for safe online banking

Because banks can block your online access when they detect a login from another country, you can count on ExpressVPN’s network of servers in 90 countries to help you avoid account blocks. It’s useful when you are at home, but also when you need to do some online banking while traveling. I’ve never had any issues accessing my US bank account from abroad.

As browser leaks can also accidentally expose your real location, I tested ExpressVPN’s leak protection. I was very happy to see that there were no DNS or IPv6 leaks that could inform my bank about my whereabouts and potentially lock me out of my account.

One downside to the service is that it’s not cheap if you pay by the month, but I found that the price gets better when you choose longer subscription terms.

Another way to keep costs low is to use a coupon — with the company’s latest deal, you can get your ExpressVPN subscription for just $8.32/month a month.

You can test ExpressVPN out for yourself completely risk free as it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. I tested out their refund policy and I was super impressed with their customer service: I requested my refund over live chat, and it took about 5 minutes for ExpressVPN to approve the refund. I kept an eye on my bank account and saw that I got my money back in 3 days.

Stay Safe With ExpressVPN!

3. Surfshark — Automatically Blocks Dangerous Sites to Protect You From Scams

  • CleanWeb software blocks suspicious websites to protect you from bank scams
  • Servers in 65 countries help you safely access your online banking abroad
  • Unlimited simultaneous device connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Also works with: PayPal, Cash App, Venmo, Google Pay, WePay, TransferWise, Skrill, Payoneer
  • Compatible with Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, Firefox, Chrome, smart TVs, gaming consoles, and more

Surfshark’s CleanWeb safeguards your connection by blocking malicious websites and ads, so you’re protected from accidentally accessing fake bank sites or downloading malware or spyware designed to steal your online banking info.

To test how well it worked, I connected to Surfshark and then combed my spam folder to find a fake banking email. When I clicked the malicious link, a new tab opened, but the page did not load — Surfshark stopped the threat in its tracks. As the CleanWeb database is constantly updated, you can trust it to keep you safe from scammers trying to steal your financial information.

Cleanweb is complemented by 256-bit AES encryption (the highest level), an automatic kill switch, a zero-logs policy, and your choice of IKEv2, OpenVPN, Shadowsocks, and WireGuard security protocols. (Surfshark notes that it doesn’t offer PPTP or L2TP because it considers them obsolete.) Unlike most VPNs, Surfshark gives you the option of Two-Factor Identification (2FA), adding an extra layer of protection to ensure no one hacks your VPN account.

You’ll also find protection by way of an auto-connect feature that immediately switches the VPN on when it detects an unrecognized WiFi network. With this feature, you don’t have to worry about doing online banking on public WiFi — Surfshark automatically protects you.

Its DNS and IP leak protection performed well in my leak tests too — your bank will never know you’re logging in from a different country. (Private DNS on each server takes privacy to the next level, keeping third parties from peeking in on your online activity.) And if for some reason your bank is picky when it comes to VPNs, just use Surfshark’s Camouflage Mode — it obfuscates your connection to make it look like regular traffic so your bank can’t detect VPN usage and block you.

If you have apps or websites that you don’t want going through the VPN, you can use Surfshark’s Whitelister feature to bypass the VPN connection. This is really useful when you want to access apps or sites that don’t need encryption or that require your regular connection and IP address to work properly. For example, I set up Netflix to bypass the VPN connection so I wouldn’t experience any slowdowns due to encryption.

Screenshot showing Netflix added to Surfshark's Whitelister feature

It takes seconds to add apps and sites that you don’t want passing through the VPN

Speaking of slowdowns, one area where I noticed that Surfshark could improve was its speeds. When I connected to the VPN during my tests, it took my online banking about 10 seconds longer to load. But this isn’t a dealbreaker for me — the speed loss was minimal considering the increased security.

I love saving money and was excited to learn that you can save up to 81% on your subscription with Surfshark’s current deal.

You can even try Surfshark for free with its 30-day money-back guarantee. I tested the refund process myself after using the service for 20 days — it was not as fast as I hoped, but I got my money back within 5 business days.

Stay Safe With Surfshark!

4. CyberGhost — Protects Your Online Banking When Using Public WiFi

  • Built-in blockers for ads, tracking, and malicious websites protect you against cyber threats
  • 6,800 servers let you log in to your bank account from anywhere
  • 7 simultaneous device connections
  • 45-day money-back guarantee
  • Also works with: PayPal, Cash App, Venmo, Google Pay, WePay, TransferWise, Skrill, Payoneer
  • Compatible with Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Android, iOS, and more

April 2021 Deal: CyberGhost is currently offering 83% off its most popular plan! Take advantage of this offer now and save more on your CyberGhost subscription.

If you often access online banking on the go, CyberGhost is a good fit. Its automatic WiFi protection is my favorite because it gives me options. When you create Smart Rules, you can have the VPN ask you whether to activate before connecting to a known or unknown network, always activate, or never activate. If there are WiFi networks that you frequently use, such as at home or a favorite restaurant, you can create specific rules for just those networks.

Screenshot showing CyberGhost's Smart Rules settings

You can have CyberGhost ask you before it connects to any known or unknown network

CyberGhost’s default setting for Smart Rules is to always ask, so I was surprised and delighted when it warned me that I was joining an unsecured WiFi network when my phone connected to the internet at a cafe without me realizing it. With this feature, you can be sure your internet connections are always safe from hackers.

Other security features you’ll find with Surfshark include AES 256-bit encryption and built-in blockers for malicious websites, trackers, and ads — so you’re safeguarded against all the main online banking dangers. My only issue with CyberGhost is that its ad and malicious website blockers are turned off by default. However, once you activate them, they stay on until you turn them off.

I couldn’t detect any DNS/IP leaks during my tests, so there was no worry that my bank or any other third party could see my actual location — the VPN server I connect to is the location I seem to be. CyberGhost also has a kill switch, a vital tool that protects your personal data if your VPN somehow disconnects while you’re in the middle of a transaction.

If you are new to VPNs, you’ll be pleased to find that CyberGhost is really user-friendly. I tested its apps on my PC, MacBook, and Android phone, and they were all simple and easy to navigate. You can download and start using the VPN in under five minutes, plus you have access to 6,800 servers around the world (this is a lot more than most).

As I tested CyberGhost, I found that its server tab offers stats about server distance and load so you can decide which will offer the best performance (or if you’re in a rush, just click the auto-connect button to access the best available server). CyberGhost has coverage in 90 countries, but it’s not a good choice for super-restrictive countries like China and Russia as service can be spotty.

During my research, I also found this clever hack: Use CyberGhost’s latest deal, and you can get up to 83% off your subscription!

I was able to test the refund process to make sure you can take advantage of CyberGhost’s 45-day money-back guarantee to try it for free with no risks. It was a straightforward process that took just a few minutes over live chat, and I got my money back in 8 days.

Stay Safe With CyberGhost!

5. Private Internet Access — Global Coverage for Banking Access Anywhere

  • Blocks dangerous sites to protect you from financial scammers
  • 35,550 servers help you log in to your online banking from anywhere
  • 10 simultaneous device connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Also works with: PayPal, Cash App, Venmo, Google Pay, WePay, TransferWise, Skrill, Payoneer
  • Compatible with Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, and more

Private Internet Access has a large network — 35,550 servers in 77 countries. With so many options, you can easily avoid account lockouts caused by suspicious logins from foreign countries. It passed all of my leak tests, too, meaning my real location was never revealed to my bank.

Its MACE software blocks dangerous websites, preventing you from accidentally accessing scam banking sites or clicking on links that download spyware onto your device. During my tests, I noticed that you have to remember to enable MACE, but this is easily done in the app’s settings.

While exploring my settings, I was surprised to see that Private Internet Access uses the slightly less secure AES-128 as its default encryption. AES-128 is faster, but I would always opt for 256-bit when online banking to ensure you have maximum security. Luckily, it’s easy enough to change your encryption level in the settings.

A bigger disappointment was that Private Internet Access doesn’t give you the option to auto-connect when you’re on an unsecured network. My settings allowed me to automatically connect whenever I turned on my device, but not just when connecting to public WiFi. This means you have to remember to manually connect when you’re online banking in public if you don’t choose to have the VPN always active, which is a bit annoying.

The good news is that I found out that you can save money and get your Private Internet Access subscription for just $2.69/month a month with its latest coupon. This definitely makes up for its small shortfalls.

Private Internet Access also has a trustworthy refund policy (I tested it myself), so you can try it for free with its 30-day money-back guarantee. I got my money back within a week!

Stay Safe With Private Internet Access!

Quick Comparison Table: Online Banking VPN Features

VPN Servers/Countries Encryption Leak Protection Malware/Ad Blockers Kill Switch Simultaneous Devices
NordVPN 5,460 servers in 60 countries 256-bit AES Yes, on all platforms 6
ExpressVPN 3,000 servers in 90 countries 256-bit AES Yes, but not on iOS 5
Surfshark 3,200 servers in 65 countries 256-bit AES Yes, but manual setup on Linux Unlimited
CyberGhost 6,800 servers in 90 countries 256-bit AES Yes, on all platforms 7
Private Internet Access 35,550 servers in 77 countries 128-bit AES as default (256-bit can be enabled in settings) Yes, on all platforms 10

Tips on How to Choose the Best VPN for Online Banking

Lots of VPNs claim to be safe for online banking when they’re not. Instead of relying on what VPNs say they can do, I tested each one myself to make sure I felt safe enough to use it with my banking app. In order of importance, these are the features I found to be absolutely crucial:

  • 256-bit AES encryption to shield your data from hackers and protect you when you log into your banking app or online banking in your browser.
  • Servers in your country so you can log in to your banking without activating alerts or getting shut out of your account (logging in to a VPN server in a different country makes it look like you’re in that country, which some banks might register as suspicious).
  • Automatic WiFi protection so you’re immediately protected as soon as you connect to an unsecured network.
  • Malicious website and ad blockers that safeguard you against adware, malware, spyware, and fake banking websites.

Secure Your Banking With NordVPN!

Quick Guide: How to Secure Your Online Banking with a VPN

  1. Choose and install a VPN. I recommend NordVPN because it’s super-fast, secure, and blocks potential scam sites so criminals can’t steal your banking info (plus, you can try it free for 30 days).
  2. Connect to a server in your home country. You need to use a local IP to prevent your bank from flagging your account for potential fraud.
  3. Log in to your bank account safely! Your connection to your bank account is now encrypted, protecting you from hackers and scammers.

FAQs on VPNs for Online Banking

What features does my online banking VPN need?

High-level encryption is key to preventing hackers from gaining access to your personal information. Choose a VPN that offers 256-bit AES encryption, the same standard used by governments around the world.

A large server network with worldwide coverage and solid leak protection are also important to prevent lockouts caused by accessing your account from a foreign country or a server in a foreign country.

Automatic WiFi protection and malware blockers will further protect you from threats you may face when using public WiFi.

Are VPNs compatible with phones and tablets for mobile banking apps?

All of the VPNs I’ve researched and recommended for online banking offer mobile apps that are compatible with Android and iOS devices. This means that everything you do online with your phone or tablet — from online banking to updating social media — can benefit from the added security of a VPN.

Will my bank block my cards or flag my account for fraud if I use a VPN?

Yes, but only if you use an international server. When you connect to a VPN server in a different country, your bank will think you’re in that country — even if you’re at home.

That’s why it’s so important to choose a VPN with worldwide coverage and servers in your home country; as long as your bank sees a local connection, it won’t register your login as suspicious and freeze your account.

Try NordVPN for FREE!

Is it safer to bank with a VPN?

As long as you use a VPN with strong encryption standards and plenty of servers in your home country, it will be much safer to access your account, especially when you’re away from home.

Encryption protects your internet connection so cyber criminals can’t monitor it. This prevents crooks from stealing your online banking credentials for theft or identity fraud purposes.

The VPNs I recommend cover all internet traffic on your device — including your banking app. They’re also compatible with various devices and give you multiple simultaneous connections — so you’re protected whether you’re banking in a browser, on your laptop, or using the banking app on your smartphone.

What are some other tips for secure online banking?

Setting up a VPN takes just minutes and is a great way to protect yourself while online banking, but it’s not the only thing you can do. Here are a few additional tips for protecting your devices and accounts:

  • Check the URL on your banking site — If it doesn’t include “HTTPS” at the beginning, you’re not accessing a secure site. You can also look for the padlock icon in your address bar, which guarantees a website is safe.
  • Regularly update your device and antivirus software — System updates patch uncovered vulnerabilities that can put you at risk, while antivirus blocks malware and scans your device to ensure it’s not already infected and potentially exposing your banking info.
  • Update your passwords — A strong, complex password is vital for online banking to ensure your account isn’t easy to hack into. The same goes for your device passwords to protect your banking app if your device is stolen. Don’t use your browser’s password fill-in tool; use a password manager instead if you struggle to create and remember strong passwords.
  • Use 2-factor or multi-factor authentication — This can include having secure login codes sent to your phone or email, using an external security device, or adding biometric recognition to your login. Every level of authentication you add makes it harder for a cybercriminal to hack into your account.
  • Be aware of scams — Keep an eye out for phishing scams like fake emails or phone calls. Your bank is very unlikely to send you an email asking you to click on a link or to ask for your password and banking info over the phone.
  • Check your account regularly — One of the simplest and easiest things you can do is monitor your account as much as possible. The more you check, the quicker you can identify and report any suspicious activity. For added convenience, enable alerts so you’re instantly notified whenever someone logs in, makes a purchase, or initiates a transfer.

Why do I need a VPN for online banking?

Online banking is risky because if a hacker gains access to your credentials or account, he can steal your money. A VPN protects you by encrypting your data so scammers can’t access your info or even see what you’re doing. When you use a VPN, you’ll:

  • Stay safe on public WiFi — Unsecured public WiFi networks (like when you’re out at the mall or at work) are vulnerable to cyber-attacks. VPNs mask your banking login, password, and any other information you type into your bank’s website or app so that hackers can’t see or steal your details.
  • Avoid spam links and fake banking sites — Some VPNs can automatically detect and block suspicious websites or ads that may contain malware or spyware. Getting you to accidentally or unknowingly download malicious software is one of the main ways hackers can steal your banking details, so a VPN can play a huge part in protecting you against these kinds of attacks.
  • Be able to access your bank account from abroad — If you connect to a VPN server in your home country, your bank can’t tell you’re abroad, so it won’t register your login as suspicious and block your access.

Protect Your Banking With NordVPN!

Can I use a free VPN when online banking?

I wouldn’t recommend it. Free VPNs are notoriously unsafe, and some can even log and sell your data to third parties — which could include your banking information. Saving money on a VPN isn’t worth risking losing all the money in your bank account.

Free VPNs also usually place restrictions on your data, speeds, server access, and bandwidth, making them slow and frustrating to use.

You’re much better off with a low-cost VPN that offers a money-back guarantee so that you can try it free to make sure it works for your needs.

What else can I do with a VPN?

VPNs are powerful applications that are easy to use and can safeguard your online banking sessions, but they are also useful for other online activities, such as:

  • Streaming — Unlock more content through your favorite streaming services by connecting to other countries.
  • Torrenting — Hide your IP address and protect your identity by activating your VPN before using P2P networks.
  • Downloading — Bypass speed throttling imposed by your ISP for faster downloads and uploads.
  • Shopping — Save money by shopping for goods and services in other regions, including foreign countries. For example, Netflix is cheaper in India than it is in the US.

Protect Your Money by Securing Your Online Banking Details

Online banking can come with risks, but you can protect yourself with a VPN. VPNs secure your device and banking apps against hackers — and let you safely access your bank account from abroad.

Of all the services I tested, NordVPN is my choice for online banking. It uses the highest encryption level, blocks fake and dangerous sites, and has a huge global server network. Plus, you can try NordVPN for free with its 30-day money-back guarantee.

To summarize, here are the best VPNs for online banking in 2021

Privacy Alert!

Your data is exposed to the websites you visit!

Your IP Address:

Your Location:

Your Internet Provider:

The information above can be used to track you, target you for ads, and monitor what you do online.

VPNs can help you hide this information from websites so that you are protected at all times. We recommend ExpressVPN — the #1 VPN out of over 350 providers we've tested. It has military-grade encryption and privacy features that will ensure your digital security, plus — it's currently offering 36% off.

Visit ExpressVPN

About the Author

Cassandra is a tech researcher and writer who loves finding ways to make it easier for everyone to access all that the internet offers.

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