Out with the old, in with the new: Why NetSpend says a new password should be among all 2015 New Year’s resolutions

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NetSpend shares its favorite tips for creating memorable, strong passwords

Start off 2015 right with NetSpend's favorite tips for creating a strong, memorable new password.

New year, new you? Why not a new password?

The year 2014 was one for the record books when it came to stolen passwords – reported thefts ranged into the billions of passwords. So if consumers make no other changes in 2015, NetSpend, the leading prepaid debit card provider, says they should at least resolve to change their passwords.

But creating a secure password that’s hard to guess and easy to remember and keeping it safe can be easier said than done. Here, NetSpend rounds up of its favorite tips and tricks:

Start with the Basics
Anyone who is using the same password for her financial account and email account – or worse, has an email account that was hacked last year and still uses the same password on his financial account – would be wise to start with the basics. Choose a unique password for each financial account that isn't common to any other account, and make it hard to guess by using a combination of letters, numbers and special characters.

Listen to the experts
Covering the basics may not be enough to keep a password safe. Experts say consumers also need to think about what not to do. In password tips from the popular blog KrebsonSecurity, go-to security expert Brian Krebs says don’t use numbers like birth dates or Social Security numbers since they may not be as confidential as people expect them to be. Another don’t? Using combinations of keys on the keyboard that are next to each other (like ‘qwerty’ or ‘123456’) because they are so easy to crack.

Hard to guess and easy to remember
For those who clicked “Forgot Password?” one too many times last year, we like a few of Productivity501's suggestions – turn some of the letters in a password to numbers using a phone keypad and for passwords that need regular changes, use a base password and add a short-hand version of the date by when it should be changed.

Get personal
Can a password change a life? In one of NetSpend's favorite sources of password advice this year, that’s what Mauricio Estrella says happened to him when he turned his passwords into memorable reminders of his personal goals like quitting smoking (Quit@smoking4ever).

To make this method work, write a short phrase describing a personal goal and then make the words hard to guess by replacing some of the letters with symbols or switching the order of the letters. In the examples Estrella gives, his goal to adopt a cat becomes the password Get@c4t!, and his goal to save for an engagement ring becomes Save4@ring.

“We’re routinely sharing security tips and advice with our cardholders and thought now is the right time to focus on passwords. New year, new you? Why not a new password?” said NetSpend Customer Experience VP Lisa Henken-Ramirez. “We want to remind our cardholders to guard their passwords as closely as they do their cards so they can spend safely in 2015!”

For more security tips from NetSpend, visit NetSpend's online security and privacy center.

About NetSpend
NetSpend is the prepaid provider of choice to self-banked consumers and the brands that serve them. With a mission to empower consumers with the convenience, security and freedom to be self-banked, NetSpend’s products have helped over 10 million consumers spend, budget and pay bills since 1999. Consumers can reload and find NetSpend Prepaid Cards at convenient locations nationwide through NetSpend’s extensive network of 130,000 reload points and more than 80,000 employers and distributing locations, including check cashers, convenience stores, grocers, pharmacies, insurance providers and tax preparers. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, NetSpend is a wholly owned subsidiary of TSYS (NYSE: TSS). For more information, please visit http://www.netspend.com, or follow NetSpend on Twitter at twitter.com/NetSpend or on Facebook at facebook.com/NetSpend.

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Meredith DeSpain Kelsey
NetSpend
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