Many financial institutions have moved to a two-factor authentication procedure to augment the security of online access to monetary accounts. Log in passwords only (one-factor authentication) ​are no longer considered enough protection to withstand a security breech. In fact, the Social Security Administration recently announced it’s moving to two-factor authentication process to protect the valuable account information by double-checking their online account users’ identities. Ohio’s 529 Plan, CollegeAdvantage, is also following this industry standard by adding an extra layer of security to protect important college savings account information from phishing attacks and identity theft. 

What Is Two-Factor Authentication?

So what exactly is two-factor authentication? It is a multi-level 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).

Most people already use two-factor authentication. When withdrawing money from an ATM, customer must first have the card (possession – something the customer has) and then the customer must enter the PIN (knowledge – something the costumer knows). Many financial service providers already require two-factor authentication when accessing your accounts from a new desktop or other secure device.

How To Get Started

A CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 account owner will to take two steps to verify their identity. The first step will be to log in as normal with the account number and password from a private computer or other secure device. This first step would be possession – something they have. The second step will occur when they enter the PIN. This second step is knowledge – something the account owner alone would know. Once they are logged in, the account owner will select how to receive the PIN (Personal Identification Number) – either by text, by phone, or by calling CollegeAdvantage’s Customer Service Department themselves. Once the PIN has been received and then entered from your computer or other secure device, the authentication is complete. the authentication process is complete. In order to keep the account secure, this process will be repeated during the life of the account.

Ohio’s 529 Plan, CollegeAdvantage, will be adopting the two-factor authentication process starting in June. At that point, customers will have the option to forego this added layer of security. However, starting in late August to early September, the two-factor authentication process will be permanently required for all account owners.

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 an account owner logs into their Direct 529 Plan account, there will be a video to watch which describ​es the steps involved with the two-factor authentication process.

CollegeAdvantage is your plan, your way. 

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