Benefits of Switching to a Dot-Bank Domain

As more banking occurs online, financial institutions are focusing on website security and evaluating their own website address. Historically, banks registered a sub domain name and were stuck with .com (.com is for commercial entities) as the top-level domain. In 2015, fTLD Registry Service, LLC, a financial industry consortium, helped create a dot-bank top-level domain as a choice for legitimate financial institutions. We have seen an increase in the use of the dot-bank domain, and it appears to be a beneficial move for both banks and bank customers. 

Banks and savings associations are permitted to have a “.bank” web address as long as applicants complete the screening process performed by the security software company Symnatec. The screening process verifies that the institution applying for a dot-bank domain is a bank or savings association that is chartered and supervised by a state or national government regulatory agency. Applicants will also be subject to periodic checks every two years that the domain user is still in good standing. This thorough screening and enforcement provides security for the bank and its customers.

Security is enhanced by requirements for dot-bank domain users such as:

  • Banks must use email authentication technology.
  • Banks must use domain name security extensions which verify web users are reaching the website of the institution and not a fake website used for phishing or scams.
  • Banks must implement encryption standards satisfactory to the National Institute of Standards and Technology Special Publication 800-57.
  • Only internet registrars approved by fTLD Registry Service can perform dot-bank registrations.

The biggest benefit of using dot-bank as the top level domain is that it provides assurances to customers that the website is authentic. It is similar to seeing a dot-gov domain for a government website in that it verifies the website’s legitimacy. The restrictions on obtaining a dot-bank domain will make it difficult for phishing scammers to use a similar website to steal customer information. As the public becomes more aware of the new domain, they will learn to distrust any site missing the dot-bank domain name with banking information.

As of March 2017, over 40% of U.S. banks and savings associations have completed registrations for a dot-bank top-level domain. The cost to register the domain ranges from $1,000 to $2,000. However, banks that switch will also bear the conversion costs of updating the web address wherever it is posted such as marketing materials. There will also be the hassle of informing customers of the change, and the potential added costs of increasing security to conform to the dot-bank requirements. The restrictions to obtain a dot-bank domain mean that many names are available. However, fTLD’s name policy does not allow the use of certain generic bank names such as “national,” “financial,” and “first security.” 

Click here, to see how to register for a dot-bank domain.