Benefits of banking online

Growing number of companies allow you to make automatic payments through your online banking account to make your life easier.

Whether your bank is a traditional institution or a Web-only bank, online banking lets you connect to your bank through the Internet and do things such as view your accounts, transfer money between accounts, view images of canceled checks, print copies of those checks and pay bills online and above all they are available all the time twenty four hours a day and seven days a week. Even if you are out of the country you can always log on to your online banking account and do your business dealings. Transaction speed is quicker than ATM speed. Another advantage is you can manage all your accounts even securities from one secure site.

To make your life easy, many banks allow you to manage your checking account by allowing you set up e-mail alerts so you can be notified when checks clear or when your balance slips below a certain level. There is also a detailed listing of your canceled checks.

Getting started is easy. The bank’s Web site will direct you through the steps of registering the bills you want to pay and the accounts you want to use to pay them. You can always make changes and add or subtract bills.

Once you have registered the accounts you wish to pay online, the next step is to schedule payments. Your creditors receive your online payment in one of two ways: electronic payment or check. If the company is set up to accept electronic payments, your payment is automatically debited from your account and deposited electronically into their account. If the company can’t accept electronic payments, your bank issues a check based on your online payment instructions.

Security:
you’ll have a user name and password to access your online account. Just as with any information used to access any other financial account, you should keep these codes secret. Your bank will tell you what to look for — usually an icon of a locked padlock — to ensure you’re accessing your account over a secure line.

You should also beware of scams that send out e-mails looking exactly like e-mails from your bank. They will tell that account or personal information is needed. You’re asked to click on a link and fill in the information. Never click on a link in an e-mail and submit your account information. Call your bank and never use a phone number supplied in the e-mail. Ask your bank if the e-mail is legitimate. I got such e-mails twice about my PayPal account. The fact is I have never registered for a PayPal account.

Disadvantages of online banking:
Start up time. You will have to provide your ID and sign forms at a bank branch. Bank sites may be difficult to navigate first. But you get comfortable with the site after some time. Biggest hurdle for many people is learning to trust it. Always print a transaction receipt and keep it with your records until it shows up on you personal site or bank statement.

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