Tuesday, January 7, 2020

My Online Banking Experience

I have a confession to make: I had a love-hate relationship with banks. There was a time that I only had an account because that was where my salary was deposited. For most of my adult life, I saved money the old-fashioned way: by keeping it at home (not that there was a lot of cash to begin with since I usually spent it all eventually). Even when I did eventually become a regular depositor of a certain bank, I was still very hesitant to use online banking. I’ve heard so many horror stories and I wasn’t sure if I could handle the stress if it ever happened to me.  

It was only last year that I decided to take the plunge into the online side of banking. I have to admit that it has made the management of money and the payment of bills easier for me. Not that there aren’t any setbacks to it (because there have been) but in general it has been a convenient way for me to get things done financially. 

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

The advantage for me with the whole process is that I don’t have to wait in long lines anymore to pay my bills. Unfortunately, not all my bills can be paid online just yet – living in the province still has its disadvantages when it comes to this – but I am hoping that eventually, those other services will allow online payments.  

Another plus is that I can keep track of my expenses anytime through my phone or tablet. I hardly ever carry cash around these days and instead use a debit or credit card for most of my payments. That way everything is recorded and easy for me to access via mobile banking apps. I’ve always been the type of person who forgets where I spend some of my money so having the ability to record and check my expenses helps a lot. Going paperless and not having to run around different payment centers also means less of a carbon footprint so it’s better for the environment! 

If you want to try online banking, here are some tips based on my experiences about what to do: 

Choose your bank wisely. 

Decide on what is the most important thing for you. Do you want a bank that is closer to work or home? Do you want a bank that is not always full of people so you can go in and out easily? Do you want one with an easy to use the app? Decide on which one is the most important factor for you and then you can start from there. 

Do your research. 

Ask people which banks they use for online banking and how their banking experience has been. Check out the mobile apps and the reviews on the App stores for Google and Apple. I was surprised to discover that one of the banks I used and preferred had an app that was so behind compared to all the others. I decided that the convenience of an easy to use app was important to me so I switched banks. 

Decide where you want to use mobile apps. 

Image by Jess Foami from Pixabay

Most banking apps can only be used on one device. If you installed it on your phone, you can’t install it on your tablet since another device has already been registered. I think it’s a security precaution. In any case, make sure to just keep the app on one device. I once tried to put it on two devices and had to go through the long process of resetting and reinstalling the app, which was not easy and took a long time.  

Make use of the security features.  

If there is a two-factor authentication feature for the app, make sure that you opt-in. If you can use biometrics to log in, use that as well. If there is an OTP feature, make sure to use it to ensure that any expenses or transfers from your account would result in notification via email and/or text to you. 

Know the customer service channels. 

Once you’ve chosen a bank and downloaded the app, make sure that you also have the customer service number in case of any emergency. Find out if they have an official Twitter and/or Facebook account that you can reach out to in case of any issues. 

Be careful! 

One thing I discovered after I started online banking is that I’ve received emails that are supposedly from the banks that I use. It’s very easy to be fooled into clicking a link that could possibly cause so many problems for you because of how they also use the bank logos and whatnot. If you get anything of the sort, it’s best to ignore it and just check the app since most banks leave any necessary messages for updating your account there. Or better yet, if you are not sure if the email is legitimate or not, call their customer service hotline.  

Speaking of calls, you should also be careful of people who call saying they are from your bank. Not all these callers are real apparently and are out to get the answers to your security questions on your account. Never give security details over the phone. In case the person says it is necessary and you are unsure of what to do, hang up and call the customer service hotline directly to verify if what the previous caller said was true.  

Know where you connect. 

As easy as it is to use a mobile app, you also have to be aware of where you are connected. Make sure that you are using a secure connection like the wi-fi in your home. Avoid free wi-fi in public places as a security precaution and use your phone data instead if necessary.  

With technology being how it is now; online banking is something that I think will eventually be the norm in the future. We should learn how to use it (safely) and to our advantage. 


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