Internet Banking

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Internet banking has revolutionized your chequebook through secure, safe online banking

How would you like to not have to deal with bill after bill, month after month, worry over payments lost in the mail, and apprehension over whether or not the math in your chequebook register is correct? Your day has come ... Internet banking has revolutionized the way we are managing our paycheques, bill payments, and account reconciliation. Depending on your bank, you might be able to do all these things with just a few keystrokes. Imagine all you could do with the time you'll save. But buyers beware; this newfound freedom is far from perfect, and there are some things you should definitely know before you sign on the virtual dotted line. 

Getting set up with online account access is relatively easy, providing you have an internet connection, an employer that offers direct deposit and personal finance software such as Quicken or Microsoft Money. Since you're reading this, I'll assume that you have Internet access. Contact someone in your company's payroll department to determine if they offer direct deposit, and if you don't own MS Money or Quicken, perhaps after reading this, you'll decide it's worth the forty dollar-or-so investment. 

The first thing you should do is find out if your bank has a website. If it does, it's likely that you can sign up for online account access and bill pay, which run an average of five dollars per month. If you're mailing more than twenty bills per month, then you're already saving over $6.00 in postage monthly. After a quick phone call to your bank, you'll be chequeing your balances and letting someone else worry about your bills just like the pros.

If your company offers direct deposit, you should definitely look into it. Imagine not having to make an extra trip to the bank twice a month. Better yet, imagine having your entire paycheque available to you not later than 10:00 a.m. on payday. That's a definite plus for those of us living paycheque to paycheque. Once you talk to someone in payroll, all it takes is a simple authorization form and a week or two to process. 

Internet banking makes balancing your chequebook an absolute breeze!

If you already have MS Money or Quicken, you already know how much simpler it can make life-especially around tax time. And once you're banking online, you can download updates into your register monthly, weekly, daily...and never have to wait for your paper statement to make sure your register is accurate. If your accounts are very active or you've had problems in the past with keeping your register updated...Quicken and MS Money can be your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Even if you're not online and you don't use Quicken or MS Money, you may decide that taking the time now to get set up for the future will be worth it.

Before you jump on the online banking bandwagon, however, there are some things you should know. Now more than ever, never give out chequeing or saving account numbers over the phone. With all this access on line, it gives criminals all the more opportunity to commit fraud against you. Similarly, do not give your personal identification number to anyone. Don't write your PIN on your card or carry it in your wallet or purse. Funds can be stolen from your account by anyone who has your card and your PIN. These thefts are fairly common and criminals are familiar with this practice. Be sure to read all agreements before you sign them. Fraudulent companies may place unreasonable or undue restrictions or requirements upon contract terms. Remember that authorizations for direct deposit or automatic bill payments must be made in writing, and must be signed by the customer or authenticated by "digital signature." (Digital signature refers to authorization via computer device using a secure password or code such as an ATM personal identification number.) An electronic payment is fraudulent if the company has not obtained such authorization. Know the company you are doing business with before you sign any authorizations. Make sure you trust the company you are providing with your private information and your signed authorization. If you want to discontinue making a payment by Direct Payment you should notify the company in writing. You can get information about how to contact the company through your financial institution that receives the payments. 

Overall, banking online offers some great opportunities for making our lives simpler. It also offers some opportunities to criminals or fraudulent companies, so proceed with caution. But once you're with a bank you trust and you've obtained all the necessary components, you'll wonder how you ever got along before. 

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Internet Banking
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The first thing you should do is find out if your bank has a website. If it does, it's likely that you can sign up for online account access and bill pay, which run an average of five dollars per month.


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