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Is it safe to share bank details in order to receive a payment from someone? If so, what details are safe to share and what should be kept secret?

I notice that checks seem to have a lot my details on.

  • Honestly, I would use paypal, but if it isn't an option. I suggest opening a new checking account only for this purpose. Put $10 in it just to keep the account active, receive the money and close the account. – cybernard Jul 8 '16 at 15:40
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    why wouldn't it be safe? isn't that how the system was designed? The danger with giving out a phone number is that people might call you. – dandavis Jul 8 '16 at 17:01
  • By that logic doesn't it mean sharing your bank details mean they could make transactions? – Terry Jul 8 '16 at 17:05
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    @Terry: hey, if someone wants to drop money in your account, what's the problem? That's the kind of risk i can live with! – dandavis Jul 8 '16 at 17:53
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It depends what you mean by "safe". Checks have three numbers on them:

  • Routing number - this identifies your bank
  • Account number - this identifies your account at the bank
  • Check number - this can be used to identify an individual check

This information allows anyone to send money to your account. This information can also be used to withdraw funds from your account, although this is only supposed to be done with your consent (ie you wrote a check, set up automatic withdrawals, etc).

Don't share login information or PINs.

Most large banks offer services like PopMoney which allow the sending of money between accounts by only sharing an email address.

Here some similar previous posts:

https://money.stackexchange.com/questions/15218/is-it-safe-to-give-out-ones-bank-account-number

https://money.stackexchange.com/questions/4350/cant-the-account-information-on-my-checks-be-easily-used-for-fraud

  • Thanks for pointing out the wording issue; I reworded the 'charge' portion. – user114292 Jul 8 '16 at 19:18
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Bank details by them self are not such an issue. If you however supply more personal info such as a picture of your ID/pin number/secret code/bank login information, this will be an issue since an attacker can use this against you.

For example: (Only main issues are pointed out)

  1. If I have a picture of your ID and your account information, I can edit the ID to have a picture of me and go to the bank with the fake ID and identify myself as you.

  2. If I have your login details I can try to brute force online account and then manage your account as I wish.

In conclusion: Never give out more information then is needed for the transfer and even then, only if you trust the person.

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    i don't see why #1 needs a pic of your ID; they all look the same, and tellers are not forensic investigators. And, even if someone did do that, the bank loses money, not you... – dandavis Jul 8 '16 at 18:01
  • @dandavis - If I was a bank teller I would confirm some of details that re on the computer with details on the ID... – Bubble Hacker Jul 9 '16 at 11:06
  • You would make a good teller, but i think most just look at the name, and the other info the bank won't have (height, weight) or is easy to obtain, like an address... – dandavis Jul 9 '16 at 12:13
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Consider a person with political or corporate influence. I would consider information that could allow a transfer of money to this person as confidential. If someone wanted to hurt the credability of such a person, transferring a large amount of money could very well used to frame a bribe, which could have severe consequences for that persons career.

  • While you raise a good point, there's really no way to protect against it. Every time you give someone one of your checks, you give them all the information that they need to deposit to your account. Account numbers are not intended to be secrets. I know that's a hassle, but it's the way it is. – Neil Smithline Jul 8 '16 at 21:43

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