A lot has been said lately about online banking and if it is indeed the banking wave of the future. But the question that remains on the minds of many who are considering using an online is: Is an online bank my best option? We’ll look at some the ups and downs of both online banking and traditional brick and mortar banking institutions.
In today’s world of electronic funds transfer and automated bill pay, online banking can be a huge time saver. This is one determining factor to consider when joining an online bank. Are you tired of writing check after check and spending five or six dollars a month on stamps to send those bills at the post office? If so, then online banking with bill pay maybe save you a great deal of time. Not to mention the money you’ll save on stamps. However some online banks may charge a monthly fee of five dollars. This in a way offsets the price of postage.
Another thing to consider is when choosing online banking is that it is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So when you want to know if that check has cleared, it’s as simple as logging in on your computer. In my opinion, this is one of the greatest features of online banking. If you discover charges against your account that you are sure are not yours, you can find out immediately rather than waiting until your monthly statement comes in. Thus, allowing better protection in the event of identity theft against you.
The major downside of online banking is that you never have a personal feel for the bank. Such as a brick and mortar bank, you may walk in and be greeted by your favorite teller or loan officer which knows you by your first name. Or if there is a problem with your account or maybe you would just like to ask a few questions about a CD or such. While online banks offer online support and sometimes telephone support. It may not be a viable resource like talking to a real person face to face. Another problem with online banking is dealing with non-standard deposits. By non-standard deposits, I mean something like checks written to you by friends for birthday gifts, odd jobs, etc. These deposits will need to be mailed to the online bank and may take a few extra days to get there. This can become a problem if the money needs to be readily available. While being enrolled in a brick and mortar traditional bank, you could make your deposit as you normally would. Although online banks may send you postage paid envelopes to make deposits, this can become a hassle.
The great thing is competition. Now more and more traditional brick and mortar banks are offering their services online as well as in person. I personally think this is because of the pressure of competition that the online banks put on the brick and mortar banks. And as we all know competition is a great thing for consumers. So if you’re in the market for a new bank, or wanted to check out online banking, check with your local branches and find out if they offer their services online. Then you could have the best of both worlds.