Online banking is a fast, easy and cost-effective way to manage your personal and professional finances.
If you’re already an online banking user, you know how useful it can be. You can pay bills, view your online checking account balance in the middle of the night and transfer funds between accounts, even on a Sunday.
Benefits of online banking
Internet banking has many consumer benefits. In addition to convenience, it may even make your money work a little harder, whether it’s in the form of a higher interest online savings account or fee reduction. Some Internet banking systems also make it easy for you to perform a financial checkup on a regular basis, improving the chances that you’ll reach your financial goals faster.
Say goodbye to bankers’ hours. With online savings or checking accounts, you can check your balance, schedule fund transfers, pay bills and more – 24 hours a day, any day of the week.
Not only are your transactions completed more quickly – with just a few clicks of the mouse – you’ll also save the time, gas and frustration associated with driving through traffic to your local branch. And, with advancements in smartphone application technology, you may be able to deposit checks right from your phone, which means you may never have to visit a bank branch again.
Many traditional banks offer an Internet banking component in addition to their brick-and-mortar services.
Direct banks, however, operate online and by phone only – and therefore have lower overhead costs. This cost savings is often passed along to consumers in the form of perks like higher interest rates and lower fees. Over time, the savings associated with online checking or savings accounts at a direct bank can really add up. If you’re looking to stretch your dollars or reach your savings goal a little faster, these online banking benefits can help.
Perhaps one of the best features of Internet banking is the control over your financial future that it provides. With all your financial information easily accessible in a digital format, you can quickly assess your financial well-being and develop a plan for improvement or investment with the help of some pretty affordable software.
Unlike paper statements, many online banking systems can be easily integrated with personal finance software programs like Quicken®, Microsoft Money® and Mint.com. These programs can help you improve your financial health by budgeting your money, reminding you when to pay bills and tracking your spending. They can also recommend feasible savings and debt reduction plans that can help you reach your financial goals faster. They can even help you prepare your taxes.
Online banking is good for businesses, too. Commercial bank accounts can be integrated with accounting software like Greentree®, making it easier to efficiently track and analyze your company’s financial records.
Online checking risks
Despite all of the benefits, many people are still hesitant to try Internet banking. Most skeptics cite cases of identity theft and other perceived security risks as the primary reason for their distrust in electronic banking systems.
Today, however, reputable financial institutions use SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), a cryptographic protocol that ensures data integrity and security. Other advanced security features, like multi-factor authentication (a practice that requires users to verify their identity several times before providing account access), make online banking a safe and reliable alternative to traditional banking.