Why I (finally) Signed up for Online Banking and Online Bill Pay

I admit it. I’m one of the hold outs. I’ve been very hesitant to sign up for online banking and online bill pay. I was skeptical of how secure it was and I liked having my trusty checkbook register as a reminder of where my money was going.

I fall somewhere between the Gen X and Gen Y generations. I’m pretty tech savvy but sometimes I’m skeptical of ‘convenience’ features. I tend to be a little more traditional in financial matters so it has taken me some time to change my way of thinking.

I’m a little late to the game but I finally made the move and I’m glad I did! Here are the reasons I decided to give it a try:

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1. Site Security
With all the data breaches happening lately I was very hesitant to put my hard-earned money at risk. But, after doing some digging, I found out that financial institutions have some of the toughest security measures around for websites and online banking. They have to go through added scrutiny that most online retailers don’t. In fact, they have to be approved by a number of federal regulators and tested regularly to even exist. That means that you can trust them with your money.

If, for some reason, there is suspicious activity (like from one of those retail data breaches) on your account it is much faster to identify and rectify. Instead of waiting a whole month for a paper statement, you have 24/7 access to your account which means you can identify any issues and take the appropriate steps to correct them.

To be honest, I’m still a little leery of using my smart phone for banking because I don’t want it to fall into the wrong hands, and I certainly won’t log in on free Wi-Fi hotspots because they are not secure and scammers could easily grab my personal info. However, now that I know what goes into an online banking platform, I am comfortable logging in on my home device with a secure router. (Hey, it’s progress)

2. Personal Records
One of the reasons I like to write checks is because I have a nice running log of where my money is going. If I’m not sure a bill has been paid I just look it up, and at tax time I have a good idea of the money I spent on all the things I need to account for.

What I love about online banking is that they keep track of all that for me in one place and it is much neater and easier to find! I can even break things into categories and print out my records at the end of the year for my taxes. I can also sort by keywords and dates. Plus, as an added bonus, I don’t have to rely on doing the math myself or having to read my messy writing! (You know, when you can’t tell if it is a 4 or a 9)

3. Convenience
Having my checkbook on hand gave me a false sense of security, but I finally realized that it is an added weight I just don’t need to carry around. Plus having my info online is much safer than carrying around checks with my account number printed right on them! I can check my balance anytime and I can make sure all my bills are paid on time without the hassle of writing out checks, addressing envelopes and buying stamps.

…Which brings me to my final point.

4. Savings
By using online bill pay I never have to worry about late fees caused by another missed payment or a payment lost in the mail. Unfortunately, I can say that has happened more than once. Even though I sent my payment in on time (with several days to spare), it was delayed and I was charged unnecessary late fees. One time, the check was lost in the mail and the balance went to a debt collector! That was an unwelcome surprise! So, no more late fees and no more stamps. Yay! Why didn’t I think of this sooner?

Speaking of savings, online banking makes it easier than ever to start a savings plan. You can set up automatic transfers or quickly and easily move money from your checking to savings account without having to get in the car and wait in line at the bank. Maybe they should call it pajama banking!

Anyway, that’s my story. I was resistant to change but now that I have made the switch, I keep finding more and more features that make my life easier. If, like me, you are skeptical just check for yourself and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

 

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