Online banking offers features that have revolutionized the way people spend and keep track of their money. Before signing up for online banking, you should know these 5 important factors.
#1 You Need a Secure Internet Connection
Your bank should have a heavily encrypted site that uses the latest security technology. That won’t help you if you access your online account from a public hotspot.
That means you should never check your account at a:
- Computer lab
If you don’t need a password to access the network, then you can’t trust it. Someone could eavesdrop to steal your passwords and private information.
#2 Don’t Trust Your “Available Balance”
Online banking has gotten fast, but that doesn’t mean every purchase you make gets posted automatically. Some businesses don’t submit payment requests until the end of the day. That’s especially common in restaurants where servers have to enter tips when their shifts end.
You should expect some delay in your “available balance.” Just because it says “$2,000” doesn’t mean you have $2,000 to spend. Pay attention to your recent purchases and keep track of what you spend money on.
Even the best bank will tell you that it’s your responsibility to keep enough money in your account.
#3 Not All Online Banking is Equal
Some banks have better online features than others. If online banking is important to you, do plenty of research before you open your account.
In addition to researching online reviews, you should ask the banks specific questions, such as:
- How long does it take customer service to require to emails?
- Can I transfer money between my accounts online?
- Can I view checks and old statements online?
- With Online Banking or internet banking, will I be able to view all of my accounts?
If you have a question, ask. Someone will get you an answer.
#4 Don’t Forget Your Password or PIN
Banks take security seriously. To prevent hackers from breaking in to accounts, they often put a limit on how many times a client can enter incorrect login information.
That means forgetting your password or PIN could block you from your account. You can get back in, but you will have to answer a few questions and wait some time while the bank checks your identity. It’s a pain, but it’s a low price to pay for good security.
#5 Compare Prices Before Opening an Account
Most banks give their clients free access to Online Banking services. In some cases, though, you might have to pay a small fee. Compare prices before you open an account. Any service fees should be minimal.
Online banking is becoming a necessary feature that banks need to compete with each other. If a bank tries to charge you a high price for this service, walk away. You can find a better option elsewhere.
Are there any other important factors that you think people should know before opening an online banking account? What factors do you wish you’d known before opening your first account?