Not Using Online Banking? Why You Should Be
Online banking – the process of using a computer or mobile device to monitor transactions and balances, transfer money, pay bills, etc. – has been around for almost two decades now. According to the most recent numbers from Pew Research Center, 57 percent of smartphone owners surveyed did banking tasks via the internet.
The survey didn’t reveal why the other 43 percent eschewed online banking, but there are really only a couple of reasons. Either they don’t use online banking at all, even on their desktop or laptop computers, or they’re squeamish about accessing and sending sensitive financial information on the same device where they play Minecraft.
The security issue is a valid one, given all of the major data breaches that have occurred in recent years. It is possible that your financial institution will be hacked, and your account information gobbled up by some faceless entity. But those things happen whether or not you bank online. And chances are slim that someone would break into your personal iPhone.
Let’s face it: We all take risks daily by being active on the internet. But wireless banking is scarier than some applications. Even people who seem fearless about it might at least log on sometimes wondering if their accounts have been drained.
So if you’re still on the fence about it, consider what you’re missing. Online banking on your desktop PC:
Provides real-time information about your financial accounts. No more calling the bank to check your balance. It’s always available, even accounting for pending transactions.
Gives you access to comprehensive personal finance sites. There are web-based applications that consolidate all of your accounts – banks, brokerages, etc. – and give you an overall view of your finances. Some will even tally your net worth if you’re diligent about entering all of your data.
Simplifies bill-paying. Once you create records for the recipients of your hard-earned money, it really only takes a few mouse clicks to pay a bill. Most are dispatched electronically and arrive in the biller’s account within a day or two, but your bill-paying service will also send a check through the U.S. Mail. You can pay anyone this way.
Connects you to your bank’s convenience services. Need to see an old statement? Order check blanks? Get proof that you made a payment? There are still times when you’re want to communicate with your bank on the phone and in person. But you can conduct some business on the website.
Helps you detect fraud early. Check your account at least once daily, and you may catch an intruder even before your bank does. Consider this fact if you’re nervous about online security: Using web-based banking may even help you stop an unauthorized user before too much damage is done.
Add a smartphone to the mix here (think paying that bill you forgot about it while you’re relaxing on the beach in Playa del Carmen), and convenience, accessibility, and early fraud detection may trump security concerns over online banking.