Five Things You Can Do with Online Banking That You Can’t Do at the Bank
By Hannah Fillmore-Patrick
In the Internet age, customers can perform every traditional banking task ¬– from depositing a check to communicating with bank representatives – online. Because online banking is more convenient and efficient in isolated rural communities, customers have adopted it rapidly in places like Iceland, Norway, and Finland. In fact, nine in ten Icelandic adults bank online .
In contrast to the Nordic countries, just one in two American adults bank online . Many in the United States avoid online banking because they fear it is not secure, although, in reality, online banking is as safe as visiting your local branch if it is used correctly. Not only is online banking safe, it’s also devilishly useful. Here are five things you can do with online banking that you can’t with traditional banking:
1. Cut lines and stop planning around bankers’ hours.
While a 10:oo to 2:oo workday is nice for bankers, it makes banking more difficult for everyone else. Short operating hours mean banks are crowded when they’re open. Morning and afternoon hours mean people have to take time off work to visit the bank. Rural Internet users, far from their bank’s nearest branch, waste additional time driving to and from whatever business they have at the bank. Online banking works 24-7 and, since computers process information much faster than humans, there is never a wait.
2. Deposit checks from home or work.
While there are some banking tasks that are undeniably better when you interact with an actual human rather than a machine, depositing money is not one of them. Skip both mundane bi-weekly bank visits and automatic deposit fees by using mobile deposit. Mobile deposit lets you deposit a check by taking a photo of the front and back of your check with your smartphone and submitting it to your bank. Funds from mobile deposit are typically available with 24 hours.
3. Monitor account balances, transactions, and service fees remotely.
Waiting to go through a monthly bank statement is not the ideal way to monitor an account balance. While customers can always visit the bank to go over their transaction record, it’s not convenient. Online banking customers, on the other hand, can log online anytime to view their account balance and view a record of their deposits and withdrawals. This also makes it easy to review and, if necessary, dispute service fees as soon as the bank applies them.
Banks may also offer online customers complementary analytics that let them know where their money is coming from and where it is going to.
4. Apply for a loan.
While asking for a loan is one of those banking tasks that is better when you interact with an actual human than a machine, initially applying online can save the potential borrower time. Since banks often issue online quotes in hours, potential borrowers can quickly compare rates between banks by using online banking. Once the borrower obtains a loan, he or she can monitor the status of the loan online.
5. Monitor investments remotely.
Online banking lets customers see how their investments are doing in real time. This empowers investors to make informed decisions about their funds and to respond immediately to changes in the stock market. With online banking you can manage your portfolio remotely by purchasing new mutual funds, switching investments, updating maturities, and, if required, withdrawing money from your fund.