Online Banking: Simplified
What is an Online Bank?
An online bank is a financial services provider that is accessible through the internet. Online banks provide most, if not all, of the same services as a physical bank, and are an added convenience for customers because they can be accessed anywhere an internet connection is available.
How to Choose an Online Bank
Choosing an online bank can be a frustrating decision considering the number of choices available. If you are in the market for an online bank account, here are some things to pay attention to when making a decision.
Some online banks require a monthly fee to maintain the account. These fees are pretty standard and can range from as little as $5 a month to as much as $30 a month, but they can sometimes be waived if you setup direct deposit to your account. Online banks may waive the monthly maintenance fee if you maintain a minimum balance in your account.
One of the advantages of online banks is that they often do not require you to have a minimum balance in your account. Online banks with a physical presence may require a minimum balance to open an account as well as to keep the account open. This is primarily done to offset costs they incur for maintaining and servicing accounts.
When using an online bank, one of the most important things you should check is whether your account is FDIC insured. The FDIC, or Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, is the US federal government’s way of ensuring your trust in the US banking system by insuring the money in your account. This means that if your bank were to go bankrupt for any reason, up to $250,000 of your money is insured by the federal government. Making sure your online bank account is FDIC insured is especially important in the current economy because a number of reputable banks have recently filed for bankruptcy.
With competition increasing amongst online banks, looking at the additional features a bank offers may offer a good way to decide upon which one to choose. Some additional account features offered by online banks include SMS text or email notifications, short-term loans, credit building programs, account rewards, prepaid mobile minutes, and other such features designed to bring convenience to your life.
4 Advantages of Online Banking
In a time where it seems like you can do just about anything on the internet, it seems only right to be able to get your banking needs done online. Let’s look at the advantages of online banking versus going to a physical bank branch.
Sometimes there just isn’t enough time in the day to get everything you need-to-do done, that’s why convenience is one of the biggest advantages of online banking. With business hours ranging from approximately 9am to 6pm, shorter hours on Saturday, and often closed on Sundays, making a trip to the bank can easily become a difficult task for customers with a regular 9 – 5 work schedule. Instead of running around town, trying to make it to the bank before they close, just login online and get your banking done whenever it’s convenient for you.
2. No Lines
One of the things most people dislike about banks is waiting in line. It is not uncommon to find yourself waiting in line at a bank, waiting to be helped. By banking online, you don’t have to wait in line to get your baking done, leaving you with more time to get other things done.
With online banking, you can keep track of your money much easier because your account information is available anytime online. To get your balance, simply login to your account. Avoid getting stuck waiting for the bank to open again, having to visit an ATM, or calling a time consuming customer service number to get the same information. You can even save money, since some ATMs and customer service calls charge a small fee to get your account balance.
If you are seeking a convenient and innovative way to handle your personal finances, consider banking online. In addition to the advantages listed above many online accounts include features like online bill pay which helps you save time and money when paying bills. Many online banks also offer the convenience of checking your account information from your cell phone. Check your balance by SMS or receive alerts when money is withdrawn or a check clears. In many ways online banking provides a better experience than a physical bank branch thanks to these new features.
Is Your Internet Bank Safe?
Here is a checklist of things to make sure your internet bank is safe.
When using an internet bank, one of the most important things you should check is whether your account is FDIC insured. The FDIC, or Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, is the US federal government’s way of ensuring your trust in the US banking system by insuring the money in your account. This means that if your bank were to go bankrupt for any reason, up to $250,000 of your money is insured by the federal government. Making sure your internet bank account is FDIC insured is especially important in the current economy because a number of reputable banks have recently filed for bankruptcy.
You should always make it a point to read your bank’s information about online privacy policies and practices. When reading your bank’s policies for online privacy, check to see if the bank requires additional security information before authorizing a payment to a business or individual that has never received a payment before. If there is anything within the policy you don’t understand, contact your bank directly to get a better explanation.
When banking online, you should always make sure your internet bank is using a secure website. A secure website will help to ensure that the information you are accessing on your internet bank is protected. To determine whether the website is secure, look for a locked padlock at the bottom of your browser, which is an indication that the site is a secured site. Another way to find out if your online bank site is secured is to look at the url in the address bar. When you login into your online account, the internet address should change from “http” to “https”; the “s” at the end indicates that the site is secured.
Internet banking is an easy and convenient way to handle your banking needs, just as long as your bank is providing safety features. By doing a little homework you can easily find out if your internet bank is safe by using the checklist above. Ensuring that your internet bank is safe can alleviate any concerns you may have about online banking.
How to Protect Your Online Bank Account?
Although banks go to great lengths to ensure that your online bank account is safe and secure, you should always take special care when banking online. Use these tips as a guide to ensure that you are protecting your account.
Choose a Unique Login
Most online bank accounts allow you to create your own login information, whether it is a password or user ID. When creating your account login, it is important to choose something that is unique and not easy to guess by anyone you know. Also, make sure your online bank account login is different than your other online logins.
Don’t Share Account Information – Be Cautious of Emails
A common method used by hackers to gain access to your online bank account is through deceptive emails disguised to look like it is from your bank. These emails normally contain a link to login to your online bank account. The way the scam works is by redirecting you to a phony web page that resembles your bank when you click the link. To protect your online account, always check the senders address on emails claiming to be from your bank. Most online banks will not ask you for your account number or other information via email or SMS. When in doubt contact your bank directly instead of clicking on an email link.
Keep your Login Private
In addition to creating a unique account login, you should also keep your login private. Your login information is important to the protection of your account; memorize it and avoid writing it down. Keep your login to yourself and don’t share it with anyone. If for any reason you do share your login with another person, understand that you are allowing that person to access your account and by doing do you take on responsibility for anything that person does with your login, including sharing it without your permission.
Surf the Internet Safely
When you are banking online, pay attention to your surroundings and make sure you are protecting your privacy. Never leave your computer unattended when doing your online banking, regardless of what computer you are using. Also, you should always make sure you are completely logged out of your account when you are finished with your online banking.
Check your balance often
You should check the balance of your online bank account on a regular basis. By doing so, you can ensure that your account is safe and protected against unauthorized use. You don’t even need to be logged into your banks website to check your account balance, as most online banks allow you to get your balance through the phone, text messages, or email. Some online banks even offer emails or text message alerts to notify you of certain changes in your account, such as deposits or withdrawals. These alerts can be used as added protection to make sure you are aware of your account activity.
These tips should alleviate any concerns you may have about the safety of your account, allowing you to concentrate on more important things.