Advice about Finance


The Advantages of Online Banking

The Advantages of Online Banking

Do you want to cut down on stress, save time and save money? Most of us would say, yes. Yet only 23% of American adults are willing to change their traditional methods of banking and bill paying to do just that. Today, most banks, even small ones, offer some form of online banking. With just a little effort, you can use today's technology to bypass the expensive, time-consuming, paper based aspects of traditional banking in order to safely manage your finances more quickly, conveniently, efficiently, and economically.

Transaction Speed

Online bank sites execute and confirm transactions much quicker than any other traditional methods. To pay 12 bills the traditional way by writing checks, placing them in the envelopes with return addresses and stamps, and bringing them to the mailbox, takes approximately 26 minutes. To pay the same 12 bills, individually, online with a confirmation printout, takes only 3 minutes. Using pre-scheduled, reoccurring payment features online could acctually cut that time in half. You can preset your bills to go out automatically the same time each month. If your creditor is set up to accept electronic payments, your payment is instantly, electronically deposited into their account. If not, your bank writes a check and sends it out. It may take 2-3 days for your creditor to receive the payment.


If you're tired of waiting on lines at the bank, remember that your online bank is open for business 24/7 from anywhere in the world. If you can't sleep at night, you can pay your bills in your pajamas. If you're out of state or even out of the country when a money problem arises, you can log on instantly and take care of your business.


With a click of your mouse you can access any of your accounts from one secure place including: checking, savings, loans, credit cards, IRAs, CDs, and even your stock portfolio. Many banks allow you to set up e-mail alerts so you can be notified when checks clear or when your balance slips below a certain level. Unlike your checkbook register, which lists your transactions in chronological order, your online checking features allow you to view just your deposits, checks, electronic payments or debits separately. This feature makes it much easier to find errors and balance your account.


With today's slipping economy and high gas prices every penny counts. Using the same 12-bill example as before, in one year you would save $60 in stamps alone. You could save up to $50 on checks and envelopes, and with fewer trips to the bank at $4/gallon, you would certainly save money on gasoline. Because you could easily and instantly transfer money from your savings account to your checking account, you would probably prevent some late or overdraft charges.


Banks have spent many years earning your trust; they aren't about to risk losing that on an insecure website.

You are given a secret user name and password to open your account. If you make a mistake, you must answer several questions to try again. In fact, if you try too many times they will actually lock you out temporarily. This ensures that hackers can't access your account using multiple codes. The banks will tell you what to look for on their website-usually an icon of a lock-to ensure you're accessing your account over a secure line. The only danger, a phishing scam, is when crooks, posing as your bank, ask for your account information. No financial institution will ask for personal information via phone or e-mail. If you suspect phishing, contact the Federal Trade Commission.

Setting Up Your Accounts

Getting started is easy. The bank's website will walk you through a step-by-step, one time registration process for each of your creditors. Basically, you will have to enter the name, bill paying address and customer service number for each company. You then have the option of setting automatic payments, which happen at the same time each month or paying the bills when it is convenient for you. Most sites include a bill payment activity page that lists your scheduled, pending, or processed bills. You may want to spend a few minutes learning how to navigate around the site, and discover some of the additional features available to you.

Now that you're convinced and ready to save time and money, you can visit the Federal Deposit Insurance Company's website to find the online banker that's right for you. On the "Find an Institution" page, you can type in the name of a financial institution to see it's insurance coverage and a summary financial report. Get on board today, because online banking is certainly the way most banking will be conducted in the future.