According to a 2012 survey by the American Banker’s Association, 39% consumers surveyed preferred online banking compared to 18% that chose visiting branches. Mobile banking also saw in increase in popularity compared to 2010 survey results.
If you’re still be hesitant to give up driving to your local bank to transact with a teller, consider these nine advantages of online banking that may change your mind.
1. Account access from anywhere
With online banking, it doesn’t matter where branches (if there are any) are located. You have access to your banking information wherever you’re connected to the internet.
Many banks have dedicated mobile apps now, too, making it even easier to navigate through your banking info to check balances and make transfers. Bank of America, US Bank, and virtually all national banks have free apps you can download.
For banks without a dedicated mobile app, you’ll still be able to access your account information from a web browser on your smart phone.
2. Features that make banking easier
In addition to the other features listed here, there are new online and mobile banking features that make the experience even easier.
One neat addition that more and more banks are offering: mobile check deposit. To deposit a check, just snap a photo with you smart phone. No envelope or deposit slip needed, and the money is available in a matter of days rather than waiting until you find time to visit the bank.
Many banks have built-in budgeting software directly on their websites now, too. USAA Bank lets you track your money and create spending plans directly from their site.
3. No lines
No one likes to wait in lines. Online banking eliminates any possibility of being held up since you can do your banking whenever you want without waiting.
You won’t have to deal with the limited hours that banks are open since online banking is available 24/7.
By banking online, you’ll save a bit on gas, too, since you won’t have to make the trip out.
4. More banking options
While nearly all brick-and-mortar banks have online banking now, there are several online-only banks that don’t have branches at all. This includes Ally Bank, CapitalOne 360 (formerly ING Direct), and Charles Schwab.
These banks offer a variety of features listed here, and may charge fewer fees, too. Despite trends showing a decrease in free checking options, all three of these banking options offer completely-free checking accounts that don’t charge monthly fees.
Charles Schwab will even let you use any ATM and fully reimburse any fees that are charged. Money saving features like these may make the case for switching banks.
The downside to these banks is that you can’t walk into a bank and meet someone face to face. But if you’re ready to adopt online banks, that might not be a problem for you.
5. It’s often free
Online banking often comes at no extra charge. Wells Fargo offers online banking for free to customers with eligible checking accounts. Bank of America does the same as long as you enroll in paperless statements and skip the teller for deposits and withdrawals.
Users of online-only banks need to use the web to access their accounts, so there’s typically no extra charge for doing this.
6. Increased security
In the past, security concerns have been raised about online banking. But most banks offer secure connections to their websites that protect your sensitive information. Plus, opting for paperless statements and electronic communication only means your banking information isn’t floating around in the mail or the trash, where thieves may dig for information used to steal your identity.
In addition, you can monitor transactions easily with online banking. If you check your accounts regularly, you’ll be able to spot fraud and report it weeks before you’d notice with only paper statement.
You can also set up alerts when there’s suspicious activity that can be sent by email, phone, or text to let you know right away.
7. Pay bills faster
Most online banks let you pay bills directly from their interface. Many offer this service for free, and the advantage is that you don’t have to deal with paper, envelopes, and writing checks. You’ll save on stamps, too.
8. Sync with other applications
Many applications allow you to easily sync online banking information rather than entering everything manually. If you use QuickBooks, you can import all your transactions to make budgeting and handling taxes easier. The same is true for web and mobile apps like Mint and Pageonce.
This feature makes budgeting and tracking your spending easier as well as handling taxes when it’s time to file.
9. Opt out of paper statements
Online banking gives you access to online statements. This means you’ll never to look in the mailbox and keep track of envelopes once it arrives.
Instead, you’ll get an email each month when you e-statement is ready. You can then conveniently file it on your computer for safe keeping and easy access later. As mentioned earlier, avoiding paper communication decreases the chances of identity theft, too.