There’s a new buzz in the domain game, and you’ve probably heard of it—.bank. Like most industry leaders, you’re probably still weighing the pros and cons, trying to determine what your strategy should be. Check out the following FAQ to break through the clutter and decide if .bank is right for your financial institution.
- What is .bank?
Let’s go back to 2008 when it all started. That’s when the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) made thousands of new Generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) available—far beyond .com and .org.
At this time, fTLD Registry Services was established to represent the financial industry in order to create gTLDs that are specific to the banking and insurance sectors. In late 2014, fTLD was given permission to operate .bank, and soon thereafter, .insurance. While it’s still working through the .insurance processes, .bank has been in sunrise since May 2015, and .bank domains are now available to the banking community for registration.
- Why should I get a .bank domain?
In addition to being a new marketing and advertising opportunity for your financial institution, .bank is also being touted as a more secure domain than gTLDs like .com and .net.
There are a number of increased security measures associated with .bank, including:
- Verification: All organizations that purchase .bank domains must be verified before registration to reduce spoofing and other scams that prey on bank customers.
- Encryption: The .bank domain has an increased level of encryption to help deter criminals from directing consumers to non-banking websites.
- Compliance: Increased abuse monitoring and compliance standards will help ensure all .bank domain holders are part of the banking community.
- When can I apply for .bank, .insurance and .creditunion domains?
On May 18, 2015, the sunrise period began, so financial institutions can now apply for .bank domains. The .insurance gTLD timeline has not yet been determined, but we expect more information from fTLD in the coming months. According to the Credit Union National Association, .creditunion domains will be available in 2016.
- Is my institution eligible for a .bank domain?
Verified members of the global banking community are eligible. Visit the fTLD’s .bank Registration Eligibility Policy for specific requirements.
- What rules are there regarding the domain name I choose?
A .bank domain can function the same as your existing .com domain. But, be sure to read the fTLD’s Name Selection Policy for rules regarding naming and what is allowed.
- Are we entitled to our current .com domain as a .bank domain?
No. Unfortunately, .bank domains are approved on a first-come, first-served basis. That’s why it’s important to apply now. Just note that you can only apply if you’re going to use a registered trademark name.
- How does the fTLD verify organizations applying for .bank domains?
fTLD partnered with Symantec to assist in the verification process, which will ensure that registrations are made only with organizations that meet the eligibility requirements. Verification is performed at the time of initial registration, as well as at each renewal or every two years, whichever comes first.
According to fTLD, organizations must perform the following during registration:
- Security check
- Organization, jurisdiction and banking credentials verification
- Verification of domain name selection
- Verification of physical address
- Verification of telephone number
- Registrant contact employment
- Registrant contact authority
- What should I do if I need help registering my domain?
Currently, there are 17 approved registrars that you can work with directly. However, those selling directly to consumers are likely focused only on volume, making it difficult to work with a live person.
There are also enterprise service providers that sell to other providers—this is what CSI uses. These companies have been around longer than many registrars and provide strategic account teams to assist in the .bank domain registration process. Managed services providers like CSI often offer website hosting services, so you don’t have to work with additional vendors.
Andy Shever is the senior manager of engineering for CSI Managed Services. His responsibilities involve overseeing internal engineering, including datacenter infrastructure design, implementation and documentation; managing the senior architects for sales engineering; and leading vendor and distributor management, domain and IP address management and post sales. Andy has worked for CSI for more than 10 years, and he is CCDA, MCSE and ITIL certified.