Do Banks Really Block VPNs? The BofA Case
I can’t tell you the last time I was inside a bank. From the pandemic to the lengthy queues, it’s all too much. Why go to the bank when I can take care of all my banking needs online, right?
Well, that’s what I thought.
Online Banking Using a VPN
With cyber-attacks constantly on the rise, I know that the only safe way to access my bank account is by using a VPN. After all, it’s something that financial institutions encourage us to do.
However, that’s not an option with all banks, as I quickly found out when trying to access my account. The main issue seems to be that some banks will block all traffic that comes from VPN servers. Others will disable certain features, such as transferring funds.
Apparently, many banks in the US have stringent geo-blocks in an attempt to prevent fraud.
Is it True that Banks Block VPNs?
Like I said, I try to use VPNs whenever possible to ensure a secure connection when online. Imagine my surprise when I changed my location and attempted to use my Bank of America account – and couldn’t.
I had a thousand questions running through my head, the main one being, do banks really block VPNs? If so, why, when so many banking institutions, including banks, promote online banking using a VPN.
Using a VPN for Online Banking
Truth be told, I hadn’t used a VPN in a few months, but with the surge in cybercrime due to the pandemic, I decided to get my act together. Downloading both NordVPN and ExpressVPN, I thought I would test them both before committing to just one.
This is what I found out.
Can You Use a VPN to Access a Bank of America account?
I’m always out and about and heavily rely on fast internet connections, especially when it comes to work. When I’m not working, I’m traveling, which means I need a reliable VPN that will get me a secure connection every single time.
Downloading the app was extremely simple. I found the appropriate link on the ExpressVPN website, paid for my subscription, and downloaded the app. The whole process took less than a couple of minutes.
Signing in and choosing my location was beyond simple. The best thing? I didn’t notice that an active ExpressVPN session affected my speed at all.
After performing a quick speed test, I noticed that my download speed went down less than 10 Mbps, from 96 Mbps to 88 Mbps. That’s pretty impressive by all accounts.
That’s when I stumbled upon an issue. When I changed location to an overseas country, I could not access the Bank of America website.
Checking out the ExpressVPN website, I found that there is a 24-hour chat available. An ExpressVPN customer service representative let me know to change location to any US server and that I should access my BofA account without trouble. That’s precisely what happened.
Besides the great speeds, reliable customer service, and plethora of servers to choose from, I like that ExpressVPN also has no issues getting around Netflix blocks. It also gives me access to other streaming platforms that are only available internationally.
With headquarters in the British Virgin Islands and a bulletproof zero logs policy, I know that all my data is secure. The fact that I have 30 days to change my mind about the service was the prevailing factor when it came to testing it out.
This VPN provider caught my attention because it allows me to have a dedicated IP address. This will enable me to perform secure transactions, skip blacklists and also have secure access to various business servers.
Another reason why I looked to NordVPN for my online security is that it’s based in Panama. This means that as a VPN company, they will never be forced to give up any information to the government.
I can connect six devices simultaneously to NordVPN, and it has the ultimate encryption standard that’s currently available. The fact that it has almost 5,500 servers around the world doesn’t hurt either.
Signing up for and downloading NordVPN was just as simple as ExpressVPN was. It took just a few minutes. All they need is your payment information, and with a few clicks, I was in.
Again, as soon as I attempted to change location to a country outside of the US and open up the Bank of America website, I was met with an error message. This time, I knew what I had to do.
NordVPN has more than 1970 servers in the US, so all I did was change my location to a server in Miami. As you can guess, I could access my account without any issues from that point on.
Both VPNs stand out when it comes to quality of service and deliver on what it is they promise to do, but there was one VPN that stood out just a little bit more than the other.
ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN – Which one is best for Accessing Bank of America?
Do banks really block VPNs? Yes, in an attempt to stop fraudulent behavior. However, the best VPNs can get around these blocks and allow you to have a safe online banking experience.
For me, ExpressVPN has a slight edge over NordVPN, only because I had a 20% loss in speed with NordVPN, making ExpressVPN faster.
While they’re both great at keeping my online movements anonymous, speed is a defining factor in my daily routine.