Online banking allows you to manage your account and track your spending over the internet rather than having to visit a bank branch and wait for hours in a queue.
With online banking, you can manage all your bank transactions from the comfort of your home and at whatever time you wish, even outside banking hours. You can access your bank accounts through your tablets, smartphones, or even your personal computer.
If you are new to online banking and have challenges navigating your banking platform, read this beginner’s guide to online banking for direction.
What Is Online Banking?
It means carrying out your banking transaction without having to step into your bank branch. You can pay bills, transfer cash, verify transactions, deposit checks, check account balances, and even apply for a loan.
Advantages of Online Banking
Here are some of the reasons why you should try online banking:
You can make transactions any time of the day. You don’t need to rush during the day to your bank branch to get transactions done. You also don’t need to stand in the queue for long hours before the officials attend to you.
With an internet connection, and your smartphones or tablet, you can manage your bank account from the comfort of your home.
2. Keep tabs on your bank account
You can use your checking and savings account online and get a bank statement for all your withdrawals and deposit online. You can have statement records of three months on your online bank. If you want later dates, request for them from your physical bank.
Online banking helps you keep tabs on your bank to know when you’ve received money, keep track of the amounts you’ve spent, block fraudulent attempts on your accounts, and so on.
3. Go paperless
Also, it reduces paper littering. You had to go to the bank to withdraw, deposit, or get a monthly statement in the past. The result is lots of bank papers in your wallets or purses. But now, all the information you’ll need is right there on your tablets or smartphones.
Although, some people still prefer getting the papers to use as evidence than depending on technology.
4. Secured transaction
Banks have ensured that their online banking platforms are as secure as possible. There is a high level of fraud detection technologies, including encryption, to prevent unauthorized access.
It is rare for anyone to make transactions from your bank account online if they don’t have your details.
5. Online bill payments
You can also use internet banking to pay bills online using what is known as online bill pay. You can set this tool up to automatically pay your monthly bills as at when due.
To keep track of the bills you pay, you can add your monthly bills to a single location to see your monthly bills’ history. Here you will know how much you spend monthly and what you need to cut back.
Disadvantages of Online Banking
Online banking also has some cons which are not so bad, but at least you should know them:
1. No physical human interaction
Sure, you have online customer support where a human or sometimes bot will help resolve most of your banking issues.
However, you won’t be able to resolve technical problems such as error messages, hacking of your account through online customer support. You might have to visit the bank’s physical branch.
2. Internet connectivity requirement
Online banking requires having a stable internet connection. Not everyone has a stable internet connection all the time. You will also need to make an urgent transaction online, but won’t be able to because the connection is terrible. It could be frustrating.
Your bank can only ensure the safety of online transactions through encryption and limited time offs. But they cannot control the apps or programs you use when logging into the platform.
It is up to you to ensure you have updated antivirus protection and mind the apps you download on your mobile devices or PC. Hackers could steal your financial information and clear your account if you are not careful.
Beginner’s Guide to Online Banking
Online banking is quite easy to use. The first thing you should be concerned with is getting accustomed to your phone or website’s online banking platform before proceeding to the various functionalities, your bank has to offer.
Using the Bank of America as a reference, this article will give you a step by step process on how you can start your online banking transaction.
Open a bank account with your preferred financial institution. You’ll get a form to fill out your personal information such as your name, address, contact information, and social security number. If the bank permits, you can enroll in online banking on the same form.
When your savings or checking account gets activated, you can enroll in the online banking platform. You’ll fill out the necessary information so the bank can properly register you.
After applying, the bank will send a response via email or while you are still waiting, indicating your application has been accepted.
With your application accepted, you can now have access to the platform and enjoy the various features online banking offers.
To start using the online banking platform, type in the domain name and log in to your account.
You can see your saving or checking account on the main account screen. The accounts also have their balances displayed. There are also features you might want to use under it.
To receive money from someone, give them both your account and routing number displayed on the screen.
To transfer money to another bank account in the United States or do a wire transfer, go to the transfer funds page.
However, bank transfers could attract exorbitant bank fees. So, you want to check the bank to you are sending the money. If you wish to do wire transfers, use TransferWise as it’s cheaper.
Go to the statement page if you want to get your bank statement on all your previous bank transactions, such as deposits, expenditures, transfers, and loan payments.
Get details of past transactions dating back to when you first opened the account. That way, you’ll know how much money you’ve received and spent. You can also generate a bank statement if you wish.
You can also open a new bank account through your online banking platform. But that depends on if your bank permits. On the platform, you’ll see the list of all the accounts you can open, including their functions, terms, fees, and other factors.
There is also the support page, which contains the bank’s contact information if you need to get in touch with them. You can also find the main support line and live chat.
Is Online Banking Secure?
The first thing you should know is that your money is insured even if you lose it to hackers. But that’s dependent on the bank you use. Most banks and credit unions have insurance that protects their customer’s money, amongst other things.
Banks use the Federal Depository Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to protect against fraudulent activities. Credit unions use the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). Each depositor in a bank under the FDIC and NCUA gets insured at least $250000.
Before opening your account with any bank or credit union, check to see if they are insured with these organizations. You can do this by looking at the footer of their website to see if they have the corporation’s regulatory logo.
Your bank will also take necessary safety measures to ensure your online account is safe from internet fraud. These measures include timed logouts, the authentication process, and an encrypted website.
They will also send you an email from time to time informing you how to identify attempts to log into your account without your permission.
If you don’t divulge your bank details to anyone and enter the right information when logging in, your funds are safe.
Rules of Online banking
Beginners should remember these rules so that they can safely bank online.
- Don’t click on any link requesting that is not from your bank’s official email.
- Don’t reply to emails requesting your bank details like your user name or password.
- Regularly check your online bank statement and immediately report any strange activity you see.
- Log out from your online bank after each session.
- Avoid using any WiFi to access your account, especially the free and open ones. Most public WiFi connections are not secure and could retrieve your bank details. If you are not in a location, use a 4G connection.
- Clear any virus on your gadgets. Use antivirus software that is up to date.
- Use a password that’s easy to guess. And avoid using the same passwords for multiple accounts online.
With online banking, you might not even need to step your foot into a physical bank anymore. The ATM is always available for your cash needs.
You can carry out many banking functions online if you know how to navigate your way through the platform. You can learn with this guide.