With the increasing popularity of the internet, more and more industries are seeking ways to utilize 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 are seemingly endless and the banking industry has decided that it will not be left behind. While most people have at least heard of online banking, the majority of them have probably not tried it yet. Maybe it’s because we find more comfort in working with real people and real paper when it comes to money matters rather than performing transactions in the seemingly impersonal universe of the World Wide Web. Whatever the case may be, there are both advantages and disadvantages to online banking. This article will outline these advantages and disadvantages so you can either feel justified in your fears or see online banking as a safe way to quickly and efficiently manage your finances.
Let’s start with the advantages of online banking.
First, online banking is convenient. It allows you to perform transactions, pay bills and check balances 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The bank virtually never closes because it is as accessible as your PC or laptop computer. No matter where you are in the country or in the world, you can visit your online bank and handle money matters. You can even schedule to pay several payees ahead of time rather than keeping up with paper bills or trying to remember when to visit a payee’s web site to make an online payment. Your bank will automatically send the payments on your behalf in the amounts and on the dates you specify.
Second, online banking is fast, efficient and effective. Through the internet, transactions are typically performed and executed at a faster rate than ATM’s. In addition, online banks give you the ability to handle several bank accounts (checking, savings, CDs, IRAs, etc.) from one site. The majority of banking sites are also compatible with programs like Quicken and Microsoft Money, so as to allow for more effective management of assets.
Just as with anything else, there are disadvantages to online banking.
The main issue for most people is that of trust. They may wonder if their transaction went through successfully or if they clicked on the correct button. The best way to overcome this uneasiness is to make a habit of printing the transaction receipt. Keep this receipt until your bank statement or online account view confirms that you have successfully executed the transaction.
Online banking sites can also take a while to start up and can be difficult to learn at first. Some banks require customers to provide some form of photo identification in addition to signing a form at one of their branches. Spouses may also have to sign a power of attorney if you both plan to access and handle your accounts together online. In addition to all of this, it may take a while to learn how to use your banking site. Most if not all banks will offer an online banking tutorial. Some even offer live customer support for online banking via chat, email, or phone.
Clearly, online banking has both advantages and disadvantages. It simplifies life for some people and for them it is frankly a better way to bank. For others it may be a little more complex and downright intimidating. In light of these two perceptions, more and more banks are offering online banking as a viable option for their customers.