The Internet has made banking a lot easier. Just about every bank allows you to check your account and make transactions online.
Automate Your Finances
Online banking allows you to automate a lot of your financial transactions. Here are some possibilities:
- Automatic Deposit. You can have your pay automatically deposited into your account. Most employers offer this service. It's a good idea, because you won't have to wait in line at the bank every time you get paid.
- Direct Debit. You can organise for your bank to make automatic contributions to certain bills. Some of the businesses you deal with will offer you a discount if you choose to use it. This can be a great convenience, but be careful. If your cash flow is sporadic, an automatic payment could kick in when you don't have enough funds, causing you to be penalised.
- Automatic Transfer. If you're trying to maintain a savings regimen, consider having a certain amount of your pay or account balance transferred into savings or an investment fund. It's generally easy to set up either online or at your local branch.
- Automate Your Records. Many online banking services are compatible with financial management software. You can have your account records imported regularly, and make balancing your budget quick and easy.
- Bank From Anywhere. With online banking, you can pay your bills and manage your accounts while at home in your pyjamas. Or you can do it from anywhere in the world. Wherever you have an Internet connection, you have the ability to work with your money.
Some banks operate entirely online. They offer the same services as the bank in your neighbourhood. But they don't have expenses such as keeping branches open and fully staffed. That can translate into real savings – and even earnings – for you.
Without the costs of overheads, online banks can offer higher interest on savings and checking accounts. They also tend to offer lower fees and fewer restrictions on minimum balances and withdrawals.
One major downside of virtual banks is that they don’t generally own their own ATMs. So if you need cash while you're on the run, you'll likely have to pay a fee to use some other bank's machine.