Use online banking to manage your finances better
November 10, 2006
Great strides in technology have made life a lot easier. Thirty years ago, anyone who had to transact with the bank had to go to his own branch, bring his passbook, fill up forms, fall in line, and then wait for his turn.
The advent of automated teller machines (ATMs) in the '80s made it possible for people to withdraw cash and do other banking transactions even after banking hours or on weekends – all in less than five minutes.
Then came phone banking which allowed depositors to do the same without leaving their house or office.
With the Internet age, consumers do not even have to wait for a phone operator. A computer and an Internet connection will allow anyone to transact with their bank at the click of a mouse.
Bank when you feel like it
Why go online for banking? It is an alternative way of banking with many benefits, among which are the following:
- It is convenient. You can do it anywhere, be it your home, office or the coffee shop down the corner. All you need is a computer with modem and an Internet connection. You don't have to drive or walk over to a bank branch, except to withdraw cash. You can perform most banking transactions by logging on to your bank’s online banking website. You can also do it anytime, 24 hours a day even on weekends.
- It is free. Because you don't have to physically go over to your bank, you save on gas or transportation fare and parking.
- It is fast. Because you immediately log on to the network, you are in effect serviced fast by the bank. You can finish your transactions in five minutes or less. No need to fall in line. You save a lot of time.
- It is secure. Banks take precautions against hacking and other types of online fraud. Citibank Online, for instance, is secure. "We have the highest type of encryption available in the market. We also use a dynamic PIN pad when requesting customers to key in their PIN to avoid key stroke capture. And soon, we will be introducing a new login method, which will offer our customers an enhanced level of security," says Cecille Fonacier, Marketing Director and Head for Consumer eBusiness. Citibank also does "account masking" to prevent anyone looking over your shoulder to see your account number. Only the first and last four digits of your account number are shown on your monitor.
- It is reliable. Transactions are posted at real time during banking hours, and the system guarantees that no information is lost.
What you can do online
Most banking transactions, except for cash withdrawal, can now be initiated online. Here’s what you can do:
- view bank account transaction history
- receive and view statement online
- transfer funds between your accounts in the same bank or even to another local or international bank
- pay bills
- save your utility accounts online for easy bills payment
- view credit card transaction history • receive and view credit card statement online or request that statements be e-mailed to you regularly
- book time deposits
- view foreign exchange and interest rates
- order checkbooks
- set up future-dated transactions
- view credit card rewards points and redeem reward items
- load cellphone credits
- join online promotions
- apply for a credit card
- apply for a loan
- apply for an online savings account
- get tips on personal finance matters
- make other inquiries via e-mail
Be not afraid
If online banking is so easy, how come not as many people use it at the moment? People fear new technology, especially those who are used to do banking face-to-face with a teller.
For those who belong in this group, consider this. Online transactions are kept safe from prying eyes through encryption of web pages, meaning your private information is scrambled to prevent unauthorized access.
When you pay a bill, you will have a bill payment reference number to guarantee that your payment has been accepted and recorded.
You can also monitor online your credit card usage to make sure you don't go over your credit limit. This will help you manage your accounts better.
Safeguards to follow
Banks make the extra effort to offer you a secure online banking experience. But you, as a consumer, also need to observe safe online banking practices to maximize your experience:
- Make sure you are logged on to your bank's official online banking website.
- Change your password regularly. Do not use your birthday, phone number, house number, or any other number code tied to you that can be easily guessed by someone else.
- Do not give out your password or write it down where others may see it.
- Update your virus scan software and regularly run a scan on your computer files.
Online banking is a breeze once you try it. You'll ask, "Now why didn't I think of that before?”
- From the "Take Charge of Your Money" series published on http://business.inq7.net/money/.
[tags]online banking, internet banking, Philippines, financial planning, financial plan, financial freedom, citibank, inquirer, philippine daily inquirer, take charge of your money, personal finance[/tags]
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