6 Common Sense Reasons Why You Should Bank Online If You Aren’t Already [Opinion]

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Intro Image2   6 Common Sense Reasons Why You Should Bank Online If You Arent Already [Opinion]How do you usually do your banking? Do you drive to your bank? Do you wait in long lines, just to deposit one check? Do you receive monthly paper statements? Do you file away those statements into a filing cabinet for archiving purposes? What about paying bills – do you send checks through the mail? How do you typically pay people? With cash? Check? What if you have neither – then what?

Perhaps there’s a better way to go about all of this. Perhaps you should bank online. Banking online certainly isn’t a new thing and likely the majority of us do it in at least one way, but there are several other benefits of banking online that most of us probably don’t take advantage of.

Check Your Balance At Any Time

Check balance and accounts   6 Common Sense Reasons Why You Should Bank Online If You Arent Already [Opinion]

This is probably the most common form of online banking – being able to log into your bank’s website and look at your current balance, expenses and deposits. But there might be some who still don’t do this. Honestly, I can’t imagine a time where I couldn’t go to a computer and check how much I have. In fact, currently my bank had a little mishap of conversion and I’m temporarily locked out of my account. It’s quite nerve racking.

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So to imagining not ever being able to do this is incomprehensible to me, personally.

Pay Your Bills Online, Even Automatically

Online bill pay   6 Common Sense Reasons Why You Should Bank Online If You Arent Already [Opinion]

Have you ever had a late payment on a bill? One of the common reasons is not getting the payment in the mail at the right time. But even if you do, you always run the risk of something happening to it and it getting lost – we’re all human, even the mailman is. Or what about this, have you ever thought about how unsecure mail really is? Many of our computers aren’t very secure either due to our own practices, but most of that we can improve. You can’t prevent someone from going to your mailbox and grabbing the envelope full of cash that your grandmother sent you for your birthday.

Paying your bills online is simple, fast and secure. All you need to do is check out your options on your bank’s website or talk to them about setting it up (or both).

Unclutter Your Mailbox With E-Statements

anti mail   6 Common Sense Reasons Why You Should Bank Online If You Arent Already [Opinion]

I’m not talking about your email inbox. I’m talking about that thing that is stuffed full of junk mail, that never seems to have anything good in it  (although, I guess for some that might still be describing their email inbox). None the less, if you’re getting bank statements through the mail still, you should switch to e-statements.

What are the benefits? Less clutter in your mailbox and that table that you always throw your mail on when you walk in the door. If you’re worried about that clutter transferring to your email inbox, it is very minimal. Personally, I just get one statement a month. What if someone hacks your email – can they see the statement? No. They would only be able to see the email linking to the statement, which requires you to log in to your bank’s website to view and/or download.

That’s the other nice thing – if you want or need to save your statements for archiving, simply download the PDF, save it in a folder on your computer and you’re good to go. No more bulging folders stuffed in a filing cabinet taking up valuable office space.

Deposit Your Checks Online

mobile banking   6 Common Sense Reasons Why You Should Bank Online If You Arent Already [Opinion]

If you’re like most people, you probably drive to the bank to deposit your check into your account. For you, it might be on the way to your work or somewhere else you go often. But for many of us, it’s not necessarily, so it posses as yet another place we have to go before going home. Now, it’d be great if your employer(s) did direct deposit. Unfortunately my current one doesn’t so I have to manually deposit every check to my bank.

If you have a smartphone or even a scanner, you might be able to deposit your check directly through that. It depends if your bank lets you, so that is something you’ll have to check with them about. You might also want to just search the app store and see if their app comes up.

However, if you find out your bank doesn’t let you, there’s still another option and that is PayPal. Through their mobile app you can scan your check and then deposit it from PayPal into your regular bank account. This typically will take a few days so don’t expect and instant deposit. Nonetheless, if you don’t need the money right away, it shouldn’t be too much of a hassle and will save you driving time and waiting in line.

Pay People (& Get Paid) Easier, Faster & Cheaper Than Checks

Pay to the order of   6 Common Sense Reasons Why You Should Bank Online If You Arent Already [Opinion]

Staying along the lines of a check-free life, have you ever split the bill at a restaurant with someone only to find out that you didn’t have any cash on you? You could go to an ATM and get cash, but sometimes that costs more. You could write them a check… if you carry checks (and of course you have to pay for those usually).

What about a direct deposit? Yes! Actually that works great. All you need is their bank routing number and you can send the money to them. No more need to worry about cash or forgotten “paybacks”.  Instead you’ll keep your friendship intact and look cool while doing it.

The one downside to this is most people don’t know their bank routing number. Another option is PayPal. You can ask if they have a PayPal account and make the payment through to them that way. If you both happen to have the iPhone 4 and PayPal accounts, you can actually send/receive money simply through “bumping” them. If none of those work, simply make a quick “I owe you” note in Evernote (or your preferred note-taking service) to remember it and then email them to remind you to get that routing number so you can send them the payment.

What about getting paid if you on the receiving end? PayPal makes that super easy if you have an account. You can actually email them a request to remind them. Alternatively, you could memorize your routing number. Also, if you don’t have a smartphone, you can still use PayPal via SMS (text).

Manage Your Online Accounts Simultaneously, Create Budgets & More With Mint

Lastly, if you bank online you should definitely be using Mint. We’ve covered it quite a bit on MakeUseOf, and rightfully so – it’s awesome. You can view how much is in several of your accounts instead of signing into each one separately. You can also make goals, budgets and categorize your expenses to manage them better. Have loans? Mint can help you track them and create a plan for paying them off quickly. Mint is just all-around a great addition to any online banking experience and we highly recommend it.

For more information on Mint, check out Bakari’s article: How To Use Mint To Manage Your Budget & Spendings Online. They also have a mobile app and SMS functionality so you can manage your money on the go, whether you have a smartphone or not (which by the way, you should see if your bank has a mobile app too).

Conclusion

Online banking has unbelievable benefits and little to no drawbacks. If you aren’t already using it, what are you waiting for? There are so many awesome things you can do with your money now, that you weren’t able to do years ago that, although very common, online banking is quite phenomenal how it all works.

What is your favorite benefit of online banking? Is there something that wasn’t covered that online banking allows you to do?

Image Credits: Online Banking via Shutterstock, hands on the keyboard in front of computer screen with financial data via Shutterstock, Online Bill Pay via Shutterstock, No Stuffed Mailbox via Shutterstock, Mobile Banking via Shutterstock, Pay To Order Of via Shutterstock

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19 Comments - Write a Comment

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Joshua Lockhart

Had no clue about PayPal. Thanks, Aaron.

About how many days does it take? Typical transfer rate?

Dustin Wacker

From my experience 3 – 4 days is a good time frame, depending whether it’s close to weekend or not.

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Michael Jan Moratalla

can you tell me how to bank online safely? I mean what measures do I need to do against evil person out there?

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Douglas Mutay

Good one. Everyone should nowadays read and fully understand these things as online banking is getting more and more in our common usage!

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Tom

Very interesting. In my country, only old people do not use on-line banking, and checks are virtually never used these days; I cannot even remember the last time I saw one. I am surprised that in a country as technologically advanced as the USA this is not the case.

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Tom

Doesn’t PayPal charge to send money?

ReadandShare

Depends. If you send money from your checking account, you can set it up so that your recipient will receive the full amount. No Paypal cut at all. There is, however, a limit to the number of transactions you can do this way each month (can’t expect Paypal to service for free without limit).

But if you send money by charging your credit card, then Paypal will take a cut. You can opt to “eat” the amount yourself — or let the recipient receive the net amount (full amount less Paypal cut). Most all vendors are willing to receive the net amount, just as most all vendors are willing to receive a lower amount whenever people pay with their credit cards.

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Tom

If you use an aggregating service like Mint, I assume you have to give them your login details. Doesn’t this allow your bank to avoid liability if any money goes missing from your account?

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dragonmouth

There is one major reason why one should NOT bank on line – SECURITY. When I go to the bank in person, short of physically assaulting me, there is no way my information or my money can be stolen from me. OTOH, any time you trust your transactions to the Internet, you are exposing your personal information to hijacking. Bank transaction security is not as good as the banks would have us believe.

The title should be “6 Reasons Why Online Banking Is More Convenient”, in which case I would agree with you. Convenience comes at a price. Remember, There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. In this case, the price is security. As electronic communication becomes more and more ubiquitous, the users become more and more sanguine about their privacy and security. Then they are shocked when their identities and money are stolen or if they are being stalked. Until the Internet came along and everybody joined the mad rush to put all their records online, identity theft was a rare occurrence. Now it is a sad fact of life.

My views may seem to some as ante-deluvial or anti-progress but my identity is still my own, my money and other assets are safe and I do not get targeted advertising.

Tony Yarbrough

As an experienced online banking user who has also experienced identity theft your words have signficant meaning. For me SECURITY is the single most important. This puts me in control of my transactions. I learned a few years ago to have TWO checking accounts: one as Primary, and one as Internet transactions only. When I anticipate an online financial transaction such as a purchase I transfer sufficient funds internally. I control the amount in the Internet account keeping it minimal. Online Banking Bill Pay is among the safest methods I have encouintered, and has worked well for me for the last 10 years. I don’t have any automatic account deductions because I can set reminders and manage my funds much more efficiently, and conveniently – with great Security.

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Jagbir Sembhi

Its better to do it on internet then going in to the bank.

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ReadandShare

I’ve been banking online ever since my bank provided the service — and before that, I made payments electronically via Quicken. All these years, and not one mishap.

Convenience aside, online banking is actually more secure than traditional banking. Back in the dark ages, if someone steals one of my checks, I may not notice until the end of the month when my statement comes in through the mail. Ditto for unauthorized credit card charges. That’s potentially a very long time to wait.

But with online banking, I have it set up so that I get notified by email of every bank account withdrawal and every credit card charge. So anything out of the ordinary, I can follow up with my bank right away. But again, there just hasn’t been anything out of the ordinary. And I shop online and use EBay and use Paypal — all the time. I am, however, careful with my passwords.

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Gerald Huber

Great article. I have been banking online since it became available and have never had ANY problems with it. And now my bank charges you to use a teller, forcing people to do their banking online. Welcome to the future.

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Marianne Martin

I am glad to see an article such as this. I don’t see why everyone doesn’t have online banking! It really makes life easier, no more stamps to buy or checks to buy. Less paperwork to deal with. This is one of the best things about having a computer, if you ask me!

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Mac Witty

My favorite benefit of online banking is saving money. I cost to pay, send and get money if you do not have it online. Not very high tech but true

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hotdoge3

no way, I have only one Bank but get 3 to 6 a weak say log in update I don’t look just Delete and my bank not get my email address not safe

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Jennifer Lee

I love online banking and app banking. We move frequently and sometimes there isn’t a bank nearby. Our currently location doesn’t have a branch for over 100 miles so I had to mail in checks to be deposited and I always worried about losing it in the mail. Now my banking app does the picture deposit. Only have to sign, take a pic of front and back, and boom my checks deposited.

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Guest

I’m keeping it under my mattress for now. Western Union is still the best way to send and receive anonymously. Can’t beat the good old fashioned methods which came about before the Big Brother Internet era and the evil Federal Reserve.

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harley bellwood

I still use telebank to pay bills but I do get statements online which I download once a month since my banks started charging for mailed versions. Also use pre-authorized payments for some utilities so I don’t have to worry about late or forgotton payments. Since I now have keylogger protection (from another article) I may do more online.

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