October 21 2019

Dot Bank Domain Requirements

bank domain best practicesYears ago, banks exclusively purchased their domains with a .com or .net extension. But today, with the availability of .bank as a top level domain (TLD), an exciting new world has opened up and thousands are using a .bank domain. For a bank, having your website available at a .bank extension can bring many benefits — from adding an extra level of security and supporting credibility, to providing new marketing and branding opportunities.

Reinforcing Legitimacy

A primary reason banks may choose to register a .Bank domain is because it helps reinforce the institution’s legitimacy, in a world where customer security is a top concern. Think of a .bank extension as the equivalent to a blue checkmark on a Twitter account; it symbolizes authenticity. Because using a .bank extension for your institution’s website involves more strenuous requirements than a .com or .net extension, it also reduces the likelihood of your site being phished.

Unlike procuring a .com or .net domain, procuring a .bank domain has a higher level of requirements than any other commercially-available domain. So, it’s essential to learn about all eligibility, verification, and implementation considerations before you take the plunge.

Becoming Eligible for a Dot Bank Domain Registration

Eligibility requirements for a .bank domain are not as simple as having the world “Trust” or “Cooperative” in your financial institution’s name.

The following is a list of eligibility requirements that banks must meet in order to apply for a .bank domain:

  • Must either be a retail bank, savings association, national bank, or bank holding/parent company; or a service provider, organization or government regulator whose membership is primarily comprised of these regulated entities (and approved by the fTLD Board).

  • Bank/organization cannot be on any government restricted lists/blacklists

  • Bank/organization must be able to provide “Charters and Articles of Incorporation” or “Certifications of Formation” documentation.

  • Bank/organization must have a valid physical and web address

Verification Requirements for Selecting a Dot Bank Domain Name

When it comes time to select your domain name, there are additional requirements you must follow. For instance, the name must have relation to your bank’s legal name or trademark. According to the fTLD’s Name Selection Policy:

  • The domain name must not already be a reserved name. This is to protect competitors from registering for each other’s domains.

  • Common community names like “Citizens”, “First National”, or “Security” will not be available.

  • Generic names like “Checking”, “Mortgage”, and “Savings” will also not be available for registration.

  • New registrants should be aware that the process of verifying their domain name typically lasts 1-3 business days. 

Meeting .bank Domain Requirements Post Implementation

Once you have purchased a .bank domain, it’s important to understand the guidelines that must be adhered to. In order to ensure that the .bank domain remains legitimate, the following ongoing security requirements must be met:

  • Utilize The Domain Name System Security Extensions to provide DNS clients origin authentication

  • Confirm that the bank employs email authentication best practices (i.e., configuring the “SPF,” “DKIM” and/or “DMARC” records to your current domain(s))

  • Authoritative name server host names must be within the .bank domain zone

  • Provide a copy of a digital identity certificate

  • Implement Transport Layer Security (TLS) using at least version 1.2

  • Vendors or third-party providers utilizing DNS records need to use DNSSEC and TLS

  • DMARC and SPF and/or DKIM records must be created for email authentication

The fTLD Registry performs ongoing screening and background checks every 20 months to prove your authenticity post implementation. If after several background checks, your .bank website is found to be non-compliant with these guidelines, your website will be removed.

For additional questions about transitioning your bank website to a .bank domain, feel free to contact ZAG Interactive.

  • Banks
  • Regs & Legislation

posted by
Carley Gritzuk
Carley Gritzuk
Digital Strategist

ZAG Interactive is a full-service digital agency in Glastonbury, CT, offering website design, development, marketing and digital strategy to clients nationwide. See current job openings.
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