Password Tips: An Easy Way to Remember all Your Passwords

“What are some tips for creating online passwords?”

From searching and finding useful information to managing finances, the web is a most helpful tool. At many sites, you use a password to access your information. That’s like the key to your house or car. When you have it your life proceeds smoothly. You can come and go as you please. But if you lose it, things get a bit more complicated. It’s no different on the web. But with a few password tips, you can more easily remember all your passwords.

Most people have one password that they use everywhere which makes it easy to remember. It also makes it riskier. Using one password is like having a master key. If someone were to get hold of it, they could open all the doors.

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Ideally, you should have at least three password variations for the different levels of security.

• One password for news sites, social networks and other sites that don’t store personal financial data.

• A second password for online shopping sites where your credit card number may be stored.

• Variations of a third password used exclusively for financial services sites like credit cards and banks.

All your passwords should be strong, which means a string of seemingly random numbers and letters, 9 to 11 characters in length and not obviously connected to your life (birthday, child’s name, etc.).

Here’s a technique you may want to consider. Take a favorite song lyric, or quote or even poem and use it as the base of your password. For example a passage from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “Brevity is the soul of wit.” Use the last three words “soul of wit.” Add to it a meaningful year in your life, perhaps your high school graduation, 1989, and bookend the numbers with your phrase. You now have a strong password in 19soulofwit89. Create three of these, one for each class of site as suggested above.

Passwords are always paired with a user name. Unless required, don’t use your e-mail address. Here are some ideas about how to select your user name.

• Use a nickname if you have one

• Use your last name then first name

• Use someone else’s first name (spouse, child, best friend) then your last name or vice versa

The next task is remembering all these variations. Here’s a suggestion. When you arrive at the log-in page of a particular site where you have already registered, select bookmark or favorite from your browser toolbar. But instead of simply adding it, customize the description to include the site name, your username and password. But don’t type all the characters in the clear. Use the first couple of characters so you are easily reminded which of the three schemes you used when you registered, then the appropriate number of asterisks ***. Whenever you want to log-in to the site in the future, simply reach for the bookmark and you will instantly see the proper log-in information. Your lost password problems should be over.

It’s important to mask your password, just in case anyone has the opportunity to look at your favorites. And if you pass along your computer in the future you will want to export your favorites to a flash drive or other portable media device to be loaded on your new computer, a real time saver. Then delete all bookmarks from the old machine and wipe the hard drive clean.

That’s it. Spend a few minutes establishing your password conventions up front, customize your browser favorites menu and your online life will go much smoother and definitely be more secure.

Legal Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional advice. The material on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and does not indicate the availability of any Discover product or service. It does not guarantee that Discover offers or endorses a product or service. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.

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