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Banking Basics: How Online Banking Can Help You

Online Banking

For those who are new to banks and banking services, and for those who have been banking for a while, the same question is often shared: What’s the best way to track my accounts and spending?

Keeping track of money can be challenging, but it’s necessary for a successful financial future. Let’s talk about Online Banking and how it can help you successfully manage your money.

Online Banking: a modern version of the check book

Once upon a time, people used checkbooks and wrote paper checks for many of their everyday expenses and bills. With the advent of the debit card, paper checks have become largely obsolete, but that doesn’t change the need to understand and track your expenses and payments so you can avoid overdrawing your account.

If you think about it, balancing your checking account is probably one of the simplest ways you can avoid fees. However, we often fail to complete this simple practice because we are either too busy, or distracted with other priorities.

Online banking can be one of the most important tools at your disposal in taking control of your money.

Benefits of Online Banking

Most all banks offer some version of online banking with tools to help you manage your money. Online banking resources often include:

  • Ability to track your daily, weekly and monthly spending
  • Bill payment -- whether it is a recurring bill paid that you set up to be paid automatically or bills that you pay individually each month.
  • Alerts customization for low balances, spending limits and more.
  • Funds transfer ability to move money between your accounts, or even transfer funds to a friend or family member.
  • Electronic deposit of checks that allows you to quickly and easily deposit a paper check to your account without driving to a physical bank location.

Online banking is secure

It’s not uncommon to have some degree of skepticism about the security and safety of online banking services. The reality is that banks with online services have gone to great lengths to protect the security of your online transactions and accounts. Secured servers with multiple layers of security and layers of encryption to data exist so that scammers and hackers have a do not have access to your data. That said, security does take effort on part of the customer as well. You have to be careful about who you give your banking information too, and be quick to report suspicious activity to your bank or credit union.

Linking accounts through online banking

By linking accounts through your online services you may be able to access more options, such as, moving money between accounts at other banks or paying a linked credit card through your bank. Since you’ll be making transactions online it’s much quicker because they occur in real time. Though, it is wise to keep in mind that posting times are different so the money may debit the account but not post to the other account until the next day depending on how your bank posts transactions.

Use with Apps/Websites

Another advantage of using online banking services is the fact that the information can often be uploaded to an outside tracking resource. As an example, Mint is a free online service that allows you to track your accounts, spending and saving. You can link all of your accounts and the site securely signs in to them, keeping everything in one place for you.

Now more than ever, you have unprecedented access to your financial information. Online banking is a massively useful tool that will help you to better handle your money, and to reach your financial goals. If you have questions or concerns I would suggest dropping into your local branch and having them go over your options, and even help you set up your online account.

Consumer Education Services, Inc. (CESI) is a non-profit committed to empowering and inspiring consumers nationwide to make wise financial decisions and live debt free. Speak with a certified counselor for a free debt analysis today



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