Nowadays nearly all banks, credit unions, and financial institutions offer an online option to their customers. Online banking is faster, easier and more convenient for many people since they can access it at all hours of the day and night through the internet. Online banking makes it easy to shop around and compare services, such as interest rates on savings accounts and auto loans to find the most suitable deals.
There are many advantages to online banking including automatic deposit and bill payment, thus saving money for checks and stamps. If a bank does not offer an automatic payment option, bills can still usually be paid electronically through the company. It’s very easy to keep tabs on account balances, view and download finance records, make loan payments, and transfer money between accounts. And online banking helps avoid service charges and fees.
It’s simple to access other banking services online, too. For example, a person can apply for an auto loan and receive a quote showing him how much the loan will cost, the interest over the life of the loan, and the monthly payment.
Online banking is not the perfect choice for everyone. Some people don’t feel comfortable doing electronic banking, and they may prefer dealing with the bank in person. And some people fear the lack of security with online banking. Indeed, there have been occasional cases of fraud with online transactions and this is something to consider. Although banks have many safety and security measures in place, it is still important to be careful.
Some safety precautions to use are:
1. Create a strong password with upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and characters. Keep usernames and passwords safe and don’t give it out or email it to anyone else. Change passwords often.
2. Be alert for Phising schemes asking for personal information. Con artists use malicious software which redirects to a fraudulent site that can look very real. If someone feels he has been tricked he can call the bank to report it, and change his login and password information.
3. Make sure the URL is secure, beginning with https rather than http. Log out at the end of each visit.
4. Using a home computer is best. Avoid using public computers or unsecured wireless (Wifi) spots to access financial sites.
5. Remember, too, that not all banks are FDIC insured. This could be important in case of a security breach or a scam.
Another concern with online banking is what happens if the system goes down. Occasionally, any website can have problems and become unavailable. So it is important to have photocopies, written records, or a home computer program to rely on during those times, including all the information about automatic payments.
It is a good idea to manage accounts at least once a month to review and check that the information is correct. It can be problematic if an error is made and not caught in a timely manner. It’s simple to make sure a deposit or payment has cleared and to check for mistakes. Most online banking sites are compatible with programs like Microsoft Money and Quicken, which help keep track on your computer.
Most of the time, online banking is quick and efficient and is a very popular option. It’s up to each individual to look at the advantages and disadvantages when considering online banking.
Kathleen Hubert is a blogger who writes on a variety of different sites. Check out more of her work at car loans.