By Grant J Everett
Online banking makes it easy to streamline the majority of our financial tasks, allowing us to sort things from anywhere with a click.
It’s no more difficult than banking in person, and it has a lot of benefits, too. Of course, as banks know that a lot of people wouldn’t be able to tell a five terrabyte hard drive from a medium Quarter Pounder Value Meal, their staff are always happy to explain things in layman’s terms and help you get started.
Once you’ve been provided with a client number and a password, all you need is an Internet-enabled device and you’re ready to bank! Here are some of the many advantages of e-banking.
Access your account details no matter where you are
You can access all of your financial information from anything with internet capabilities, such as smartphones, laptops, tablets and even some fridges. This means you can bring up the specifics of all your accounts, as well as the account details of everybody you’ve ever done business with. This allows you to quickly pinpoint exactly who you’ve exchanged money with, as well as how much and when, and you also have the option to leave notes about these transactions (such as what the money was for). There are many situations where this could be very useful, like if you need to provide specific numbers to Centrelink, an employer or a real estate agent, or when you’re trying to get a refund for something.
Banking outside of office hours
Forget only being able to do your banking between 9:30 and 4 on business days. If you go online, you can sort out your finances whenever you want. Have you realised in the middle of the night that you need to pay a gas bill before the early bird discount expires in half an hour? No problem! Log in, fill in your details, click confirm, and sleep soundly. You can also arrange set-and-forget transactions, such as automatically arranging to pay a certain amount of money to a specific account on a set day of the month.
The “e” in e-banking means ‘electronic’ and is there for a reason. You can’t pull physical cash out of your phone, no matter how hard you try. However, you may have seen those recent television ads where people pay for things by tapping their phones, so that’s the next best thing. Physical currency will be around for a long time to come, but it’s certainly not your only payment option anymore.
Hacking a bank account is a very, very difficult task, so scammers will normally target the weakest point in a bank’s digital armour: the customer. They usually do this by sending emails or texts where they pretend to be the bank (known as “phishing” for details). However, if you take basic precautions and know a little about common scams, your accounts will remain safe. Here’s some advice.
Tip One: Don’t share your client number, password, account numbers or secret password recovery questions with ANYBODY. Any emails or texts that ask for these things are fake and should be ignored and deleted.
Tip Two: Always log out whenever you use e-banking on any device (even on your personal smartphone).
Tip Three: Don’t allow your devices to remember your client number or your password (select “no” if it asks you). This prevents lost or stolen devices from leading to an even bigger loss. Don’t keep your client number or password with your devices.
Tip Four: Have a real password made up of letters, numbers and at least one or two symbols (do NOT use something like “God” or “Secret” or “Password” or “1234”)
Tip Five: If you want to buy something from a website and they don’t have a PayPal option, be cautious!
Tip Six: Change your passwords regularly