With the increasing popularity of the Internet, more and more industries are looking for ways to use this popular medium in an effort to keep up with the changing technological preferences of their customers. These days you can do just about anything online, from grocery shopping to making a free phone call to a friend in Tokyo through your PC. The possibilities of the Internet seem endless and the banking industry has decided not to be left behind. While most people have at least heard of online banking, most of them probably haven’t tried it yet. Perhaps it’s because we find it more comfort to work with real people and real paper, rather than transacting in the seemingly impersonal universe of the World Wide Web. Whatever the case, online banking has both advantages and disadvantages. This article will outline these advantages and disadvantages so that you can either feel your fears are justified or view online banking as a safe way to manage your finances quickly and efficiently.
Let’s start with the advantages of online banking.
First, online banking is convenient. It allows you to make transactions, pay bills and check balance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The bank is virtually never closed as it is accessible just like your PC or laptop computer. No matter where you are in the country or the world, you can go to your online bank and manage your money matters. Instead of maintaining paper bills or trying to remember when to visit the payer’s Web site to make an online payment, you can schedule payments to multiple payers ahead of time. Your bank will automatically send payments on your behalf in the amounts and dates you specify.
Second, online banking is fast, efficient and effective. Through the Internet, transactions are generally processed and executed at a faster rate than at ATMs. In addition, online banks give you the ability to handle multiple bank accounts (checking, savings, CDs, IRAs, etc.) from one site. Most banking sites are also compatible with programs such as Quicken and Microsoft Money, to allow for more effective management of assets.
Like anything else, there are disadvantages to online banking.
For most people, the main issue is trust. They may wonder if their transaction was successful or if they clicked the right button. The best way to overcome this uneasiness is to get into the habit of printing transaction receipts. Retain this receipt till your bank statement or online account view confirms that you have successfully completed the transaction.
Online banking sites can also take some time to get started and can be difficult to learn at first. Some banks require customers to sign a form at one of their branches and provide some form of photo identification. Spouses may also need to sign a power of attorney if the two of you plan to access and manage your accounts online together. In addition to all of this, it may take some time to learn how to use your banking site. Most if not all banks will provide online banking tutorials. Some even offer live customer support for online banking via chat, email or phone.
Obviously, online banking has both advantages and disadvantages. It makes life simpler for some people and for them it is clearly a better way to bank. For others it can be a bit more complicated and downright intimidating. In light of these two notions, more and more banks are offering online banking as a viable option for their customers.