Online banking (also known as internet banking) means that customers can do the majority of their financial transactions at home on a (hopefully) secure website which is operated by their real bank, their virtual bank, their building society or credit union. You know what, some of us can now sit at our computer all day to not only earn our money but also do our grocery shopping and pay our utility bills – we can just sit here in an endless cycle of earning and spending without even venturing outside, not a very healthy going on really. Is this progress? Well, it certainly is when it’s cold and wet, or when you don’t have time to get to the bank in person, but our lives are definitely changing aren’t they?
Online Banking Features
So what can we do with this online banking?
- Check our statements (you have to do this regularly to make sure that your account hasn’t been hacked – mine often looks like it has but it’s nothing sinister, just often empty)
- EBPP – Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment – everything electronically. You don’t even get to see your money these days, not just to hold it for a minute.
- Funds Transfer – you can transfer funds between your own checking or savings accounts (that’s a laugh) or to other peoples accounts (that’s more like it)
- Investments can be bought or sold
Advantages of Online Banking
- Convenient – we all like things to be convenient don’t we. We are no longer tied to trying to get to the bank at opening times, we can now see to our transactions at any time of the night or day, your virtual bank is always open. You can do things from the other side of the world if you want to, so if you’re in the middle of a trip of a lifetime and realize that you didn’t organize to pay your telephone bill before you left, click on line to your online bank and see to it. No excuses.
- Fast – it’s fast alright. The money disappears out of your balance within a nano-second of you clicking “ok”. Mind you, it doesn’t seem to get there quite as quickly, funny that. Online banking is said to be even faster than an ATM machine, and you don’t have to look over your shoulder for someone trying to see your pin number, mind you, it’s important to keep your passwords safe.
- Flexible – you can handle more than one account at the same time, juggling money around at will, often from the same site.
You can also find a home loan online by comparing many different mortgage lenders.
As with anything in life, there are good points and there are some not so good points.
Disadvantages of Online Banking
- Trust – this is the main disadvantage. Especially when you first start to use the facility, you might wonder whether the transaction actually happened. It’s a good idea to print off copies of transaction receipts until you receive your proper statement at first, just until you know for sure that it’s working properly.
- Registering – it can be a bit tricky to register for online banking and learn how to do things. The problem which banks have with online banking is that security is such a major issue they have to make everything as foolproof as possible, which might include giving you several steps to go through before being able to do anything. You can’t really blame them for this, it’s the security hackers you need to blame.
- Security – online banking can be fraught with danger, as hackers are more and more determined to fraudulently relieve you of your cash.
Check your statements regularly, don’t tell anyone your passwords (or leave them written near to the computer), and if you use a shared computer, at an internet cafe for example, always log out after use. If you do notice anything suspicious about the online banking site, log out and start again, not from a link but physically type the web address into the bar, just to be on the safe side. If you notice anything suspicious or receive an email asking for your passwords or personal details, contact the online banking site as soon as possible so that they can deal with it.
Be sure your online bank is insured by the FDIC.
Just What Does the FDIC do?
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation FDIC preserves and promotes public confidence in the U.S. financial system by insuring deposits in banks and thrift institutions for up to $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank, for each ownership category by identifying, monitoring and addressing risks to the deposit insurance funds; and by limiting the effect on the economy and the financial system when a bank or thrift institution fails. Read more about the FDIC.
Of course you will have more money to save if you follow these cost savings ideas.
Mind you, even saving money and ending up with assets worth millions does have it’s problems, what with death tax and all that. Are you ready for that?