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Safer than you may think

Experts say that even if an online bank fails, your FDIC-insured funds are usually available within a day or two. . As of July 2010, the FDIC raised its coverage limit to $250,000, up from $100,000 per account. Our Useful Links page includes a section with links to more information on the FDIC terms, plus links to sites that provide ratings of specific banks. However, it's worth noting that the FDIC doesn't protect funds against theft.

Other concerns about online banking security include preventing identify theft and protecting funds from unauthorized transfer. Experts say these are basically the same issues when banking at brick-and-mortar banks, since they also transfer funds electronically, issue debit cards and store customer information in their networks. In fact, some experts argue that online banking is actually safer because there's no paper trail for thieves to exploit. Also, some banks, such as Citibank and Bank of America, offer their customers full reimbursement of any funds lost through fraud.

Lastly, be aware of phishing attempts -- usually emails intending to trick you into providing account information that gives a thief access to your account or identity. To be safe, always go to your bank's website by typing its address directly into a browser rather than clicking on an email link. Emails asking for account information are almost always fraudulent.

Online Banking Runners Up:

Ally Bank

4 picks including: Bankrate.com, Kiplinger.com…

Bank of America

2 picks including: Bankrate.com, Keynote Systems…

Wells Fargo

2 picks including: Keynote Systems, ComScore.com…

PNC

2 picks including: Bankrate.com, Kiplinger.com…

USAA Federal Savings Bank

2 picks including: Bankrate.com, Kiplinger.com…

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