If you have access to a computer and know how to view a web page, online banking can be a snap. It’s usually a fairly simple process to sign up. If you have an existing bank account, you can talk with a banker about setting up online access. They will get you started! Luckily, all that’s required is your username, password, and web address. This makes it easy to monitor your account usage from anywhere and to check for suspicious activity.
To use an online bank account, go to the bank’s web page and log in with your username and password. They may have a variety of screens for you to look at, with a lot of options. As a result, you can check your balance, view your recent activity, make a transfer, or pay bills. You’re on your way to online banking once you click the option you’re interested in! The greatest things are convenience and easy access to your account 24/7.
The only thing to be careful of with online banking is that you don’t inadvertently give out your personal information to phishers. Phishers are people who make fake websites designed to look like the real thing in hopes of tricking people into giving out information. To avoid this, never click on a link in an email purporting to be from your bank (most banks won’t send out emails like that anyway). Instead, always manually type in the bank’s web address into the browser, and verify that the site is secure. (You can tell if a site is secure by seeing a little lock symbol in your browser, or by seeing HTTPS instead of HTTP in the browser bar.)
For your savings account, you may wish to choose a bank that’s ONLY an online bank. Typically, these pay higher interest rates than brick-and-mortar banks. This may not even pay interest at all, however!. Banks like ING, HSBC, and Emigrant are all currently playing in the 4 to 5 percent range. (I have ING referrals if you’d like one.)