In Schwab's continuing effort to increase online safety, they have recently added a two-factor verification option for your login. Two-factor verification means that you're required to enter more than just your user name and password. The second factor (the first factor being your password) in this case is a code generated from your smart phone every time you login.
While two-factor verification has been available for a long time, this new form using a smartphone is something Vista has been using for almost two years, and is now being rolled out to all users. If you're interested in setting this up, it will take between five and thirty minutes. Here's the procedure:
- On your smartphone, access either the App Store or Google Play and search for "VIP Access" by Symantec. Your search should result in pulling up an app whose logo is a yellow circle with a check mark across it.
- Once you download the app, you will need to call Schwab Alliance at 800-515-2157 to tie the app in your smart phone to your Schwab login.
- When you have Schwab on the line, ask them to "Set up two-factor verification using a soft token." It's important to mention "soft token" because otherwise they may start going through a process to set up a hard token where they would mail you a physical key fob to access your accounts.
- After Schwab verifies you and your accounts, they will connect you with a Technical Support person who will help you complete the process. Depending on how busy Schwab is at the time of your call, the process could take anywhere between five and thirty minutes.
- When you've completed your call, you will receive an email from Schwab describing how to use the smart phone app in the future. From that time forward, each time you log into Schwab, you will use the following procedure:
- Enter your user name
- Enter your password, but don't click the "Log in" button yet,
- Open the VIP Access app on your phone and generate a code
- Enter the code directly after your password, and
- Click on the "Log In" button on the website.
Obviously, this prevents anyone from accessing your Schwab accounts online unless they know your user name, password, and have your phone. If you ever have trouble logging in, you can always call Schwab directly at the number above to complete any task.
Please note the following:
- Once you activate the two factor authentication as instructed, you will no longer be able to log in by just using your username and password. You will always need to use your smart phone and generate a code. If you download account information to Mint, Quicken, or another program, you won't be able to use a password from a "vault" for automatic download.
- Once you've activated it, don't worry if on future attempts you enter your user name and password without putting in the key code, the site will then prompt you on a new screen to enter the numbers from the app.
- This is set up by user ID, not account. For example, if your spouse has his/her own login to a joint account, he/she would also need to set up this two factor authentication for his/her own login.
As mentioned, we've been using this login procedure with Schwab for years and we find the added level of security to be easy to administer. We hope you do the same. Of course, if you have any issues or questions, we'd be happy to hear from you.
Additionally, if you would like to add two-step verification to your Vista client portal login, you may do so by accessing your "User Profile". For information about the portal, please read our previous piece by clicking here.
Your Vista Wealth Management Team
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