The last time you visited your bank, you may have been deluged by their brochures announcing the launch of their online services. By now, you probably know their pitch very well: “No more waiting in long lines.” That sure is a big point for you if, for the longest time, you’ve been queueing for your turn during the Christmas rush, during regular paydays that fall on Fridays, or on the last day of filing for income taxes.
We’re going to run you through the basics of online banking and the benefits you can derive from availing of this service. Online banking is a spin off of phone banking, which was introduced in the late 90s as an alternative to actually going to the bank to do your transactions. Phone banking gives you access to your current account whenever you dial a special number. Online banking extends this service by offering you a direct means of managing your current account. Results are instantaneous and you can use your account even beyond normal banking hours.
You can enjoy the following services when banking online:
• Transaction history. Updating your passbook has never been easier than this.You can view transactions several months back, download it to your computer, or print it for future reference.
• Bills payment. If you have a number of bills to settle every month (utility bills, insurance premiums, and credit card payments), you may want to enroll them through your bank’s online facilities. This saves you from having to write a number of checks every month. Some banks also offer due date reminders through e-mail to make sure your payments are always up to date.
• Fund transfer. This service helps you manage multiple accounts in a jiffy. With online banking, you can transfer funds from your savings account to your current account anytime. Some banks offer third party fund transfers. Once the enrolment of a third party account has been approved, you may transfer money to a friend or a business partner anytime.You may also allow your account to accept fund transfers from other accounts.
• Checkbook request. If you wish to have a traditional check book printed for you, just request it online and pick it up from your bank’s nearest branch.
• New accounts. Getting that new savings account to organize your finances better doesn’t have to be complicated. And it saves you the trouble of having to fill out another form.
• Stock trading. Some banks have online trading facilities to which you can link your savings or current accounts for automatic debits and credits.
• Call card PINs. This allows you to buy pre-paid call and internet cards on any day and at whatever hour.
To better enjoy the online tools your bank provides, it would do you well to have a fast Internet connection. Technically, a slower dial-up connection may already be enough, but when doing online transactions that involve your money, you would want to see results right away. Dropped connections may cause you to repeat the same transaction.