Online banking allows you to manage your bank accounts over the Internet using a computer, smartphone or tablet. It eliminates the need to visit a bank branch and lets you initiate transactions on your own schedule, outside of normal banking hours. You can use a traditional bank or one of the growing number of online-only banks. When choosing an online bank, consider the services it offers and its fees. In addition to basic features like checking and savings accounts, some online banks provide specialized services like money management apps or online bill payment.
Despite the many advantages of online banking, some people still prefer to visit a physical bank branch. Depending on the bank or credit union, they may offer special branches with extended hours for older customers, members, and those needing assistance, as well as drive-thru windows to service the needs of those who can’t get into the branch. They also might offer services in person by appointment only or at specific times for holidays and other events.
The most obvious benefit of online banking is its convenience. You can access your account at any time of the day and do everything from check balances to transfer funds to paying bills. You can also find out your transaction history for any given period. This helps you keep track of your spending and saves you the trouble of requesting hard copies of your bank statements.
Another advantage of online banking is its security. Your financial information is protected by strong encryption, and there are ways to make sure your device is secure while doing online banking. For example, always use a Wi-Fi network rather than a public one to connect to the internet, and make sure you have the latest anti-virus software.
If you’re a business owner, online banking can help you streamline your finances and boost productivity. You can do your accounting and manage company budgets on a single platform that can be accessed by all your employees from anywhere with an internet connection. This can save you and your team a lot of time and effort and can make managing your business finances easier.
Some of the drawbacks to online banking include lack of access to cash deposits and limited customer support. You can usually find a number for a live customer service agent on your bank website, and some online banks offer phone-based customer support in place of a branch.
Online banking is available from most major banks and credit unions. You can usually open an account in less than 20 minutes, and you can access your accounts on a computer or mobile phone. Some online-only banks have additional requirements for opening an account, such as being a resident of the state where you live or being at least 18 years old. Some have restrictions on where you can deposit your money, such as limiting where you can buy money orders or other forms of cash.