In light of recent data breaches, it’s crucial your 529 college savings account is protected. This is why Ohio’s 529 Plan, CollegeAdvantage, has proactively instituted the now mandatory two-factor authentication process to access your account online.
What Is Two-Factor Authentication?
Now standard for financial institutions, two-factor authentication protects your valuable college savings account information from phishing attacks and identity theft. Two-Factor Authentication is an identification process that allows a customer access to information only after they prove their identity in these two categories: Knowledge (something they know), and possession (something they have).
You probably already use two-factor authentication. When withdrawing money from an ATM, you must first have the card (possession – something only the customer would have) and then you must enter the PIN (knowledge – something only the customer would know). Most financial service providers also require two-factor authentication when accessing your accounts from a new desktop or other device. This double-check of identity allows the device to be secured for future use.
Update The Phone Number On The 529 Account
If it’s been a while since you’ve logged into your CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 Plan account, please make sure that your phone number is up-to-date. Your phone number is necessary to set up two-factor authentication, as you will receive either an automated outbound call or a SMS text to receive your PIN (Personal Identification Number). If your phone number is current, then you can just log into your account to initiate the two-factor authentication process. If not, please call the CollegeAdvantage toll-free number — 1-800-AFFORD-IT (1-800-233-6734) — before logging in. Our team members will be glad to help update your account profile once you complete a verification process.
How To Get Started
Once your phone number is current, you need to take two steps to verify your identity. The first step will be to log in as normal with the account number and password from a secure device, which may include your computer, tablet, or phone. This first step would be possession – something you have. The second step will occur when you enter the PIN. This second step is knowledge – something the account owner alone would know.
At this point, you will select how to receive the PIN (Personal Identification Number) – either by text, by phone, or by calling our Customer Service Department. Upon receipt of the PIN, you will have five minutes to enter the code. Once you’ve entered the PIN from your computer or other secure device, there’s an option to mark the device as trusted. In order to keep the account secure, this process will be repeated during the life of the account depending on the frequency that you log-in, if you marked your computer/device as trusted, and if you clear the device’s cache. Again, this is an extra layer of security to protect your college savings.
Have more questions? Find answers on this Two-Factor FAQ page or call our Customer Service Department from 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. EST Monday-Friday at 1-800-AFFORD-IT (1-800-233-6734). Additionally, when you log into your Direct 529 Plan account, there is a video for you to watch, describing the steps involved with the two-factor authentication.
CollegeAdvantage is your plan, your way.