A person’s age plays a significant role in their willingness to utilize the convenience of banking online. Weekly trips to the bank were part of the normal routine throughout the working years for many older people and the thought of accessing a bank account through a computer is simply beyond comprehension. The fact remains, long lines in a brick and mortar banking institution have been replaced with a wide variety of online banking services. Society has seen revolutionary advances in the banking sector since the advent of the Internet.
Each online banking user can determine which features are helpful and how extensively their bank accounts will be accessed over the internet. Even though banks offer the same services inside the bank branches, the online services have significantly reduced the number of customers who enter through the bank doors.
- Minimal access – Bank balances can be viewed through an Internet browser window with sufficient security access set up by the bank. Funds are transferred between accounts belonging to the customer, but cash and checks are used for shopping and bill paying.
- Bill paying – Online bill paying has replaced the need to write checks and mail bills on time. Banks encourage the use of online bill paying to reduce the amount of processing required for monthly payments. Automation is helpful to busy people who tend to forget to pay bills on time.
- Online only – Banking online can replace all trips to the bank if the customer wants to embrace all of the features offered. Cash is acquired from the ATM, but the debit card and online bill paying provide all the convenience of an old-fashioned checkbook. And, thanks partly to the invention of the Smart phone;you can now deposit a check into your account simply by taking a picture of it. Some banking customers never even step into a bank since direct deposits and online access provide all the services required.
Around the Clock Convenience
In the past, commerce was limited to banking hours when cash was the primary means of paying for goods and services. Customers were limited to the amount of cash they had unless a merchant would accept a written check. Today, businesses utilize e-commerce to ensure that the company website is available for sales when the doors are closed. This means customers can now spend money while the business owner is sleeping.
- Online access – Funds are available to the banking customer whether the bank is open or closed. Accounts can be viewed and funds transferred at the convenience of the customer. Banking hours no longer limit the visibility of the accounts.
- Any location – Frequent travelers rely on online banking to access money from anywhere on the globe. Instead of carrying traveler’s checks or large sums of currency, the traveler uses convenient payment methods that offer superior exchange rates.
- Advanced features – Smart phones offer many options for banks and customers. Use of the camera on the phone creates an image that can be transferred to the bank. Processing input from smart phones adds new dimensions of convenience for the customer, merchants and banks.
New Security Risks
As rapidly as banks can devise new online banking services, the robbers invent new ways to penetrate the security measures. Advanced encryption technology is one layer of security that prevents interception of the wireless transmission. Robberies still occur in bank branches, but the greater threat exists in Cyberspace.
- Identity theft – Online banking services require secure access through a computer or smart phone. Recorded history on the device can be accessed if the would-be robber knows which path to follow. Online banking customers must be aware of the risks of using public-access computers to complete online banking transactions.
- Unauthorized access – Once the accounts are breached, the individual’s personal information is exposed for unauthorized activity. Loss of this information is devastating if the thief takes further action. Funds in the accounts are vulnerable, but the customer is insured against loss.
- Casual approach – Care must be exercised to protect personal online banking information in public places. Security measures begin with the customer. Each person will have a unique tolerance for the perceived risks associated with online banking services. Convenient banking options require strict security measures to prevent unwanted consequences.
Few people can imagine returning to the days when merchants were limited to certain business hours because of the banks, but while the convenience of online banking has changed commerce and personal financial management, it has also introducing some new risks. And, since the Internet relies on the willingness of consumers to spend money that is never seen, constant effort will therefore be required to maintain the integrity of the banking sector.
Personal freedom is the engine that drives innovation in the economy. Society embraces innovative approaches to traditional service offerings after confidence has been gained in the marketplace.
As long as creative consumers offer ideas, the financial sector will continue to develop new, and improve upon old, online banking services each year.
This means that, in the realm of online banking, the possibilities are endless.
About the Author: Melissa Warner works with finance companies like Discover.com and enjoys educating people about budgeting and the convenience of banking online. In her spare time she teaches a personal finance class in Miami, where people can learn creative ways to save money. Find Melissa on Facebook to connect with her.