With the digital age in full swing, everything is moving to paperless. This is great for the trees, but there are certain aspects of online banking that can really be a detriment to your banking account if you’re not paying attention. Here are three aspects of online banking that you should consider in your personal finance:
The great thing about debit cards as opposed to checkbooks is that everything is done automatically for you. You just slide your card and a transaction is not only made but recorded for you online. You don’t need to write down transactions or horde receipts anymore; the record magically keeps itself.
With all of this automation, you are likely to take for granted that everything is fine in your account. You should definitely go over the transactions recorded on your online banking account to make sure they are correct. This now seems like unnecessary extra work, but it is still a lot simpler than the days where you wrote it down and then compared it with your bank statement later.
The other danger with taking your account safety for granted is that you may not check your account very often. This could lead you to forgetting how much money you actually have and result in overdraft fees. This is extremely dangerous if you have automatic payments that come out of your account. It is crucial that you check your account regularly so that you know everything is as it should be and you keep track of your expenses.
Benefit: 24 Hour Access
Now you don’t have to wait for limited bank hours in order to get information about your account. You can even make transactions pretty much any time, even though the actual tracking of those won’t be updated until business hours.
Since your account is always available (except for intermittent website maintenance breaks), you are likely to put checking your account off. Unlimited availability means absolutely no sense of urgency. This is dangerous because it leads to the same problems as neglect. You have to be vigilant in keeping track of your finances.
Benefit: Online Statements
Your statements are now available through your account instead of in the mail. This leads to faster receipt, less paper, and less chance of losing those statements.
Danger: oh wait…
You will always have access to those statements. Barring website failure, which is unlikely, you should be fine. If your bank closes, you should be given plenty of warning so that you can print any documents you need. One con of this system would be that you’re not that likely to read your statements. However, since all that information is available elsewhere in your account, you’re still safe. Monthly statements seem like more of a habit for banks than anything else.
It is pretty clear that for the most part, online banking is a great resource. The biggest danger lies in taking things for granted, and that was a danger with paper banking as well. As long as you are proactive with your finances, your wallet shouldn’t suffer too much with the added ease of spending.
Phillip Marks spent 25 years working for community newspapers before recently making the transition to digital media. When he isn’t busy enjoying the great outdoors or spending time with his wife, children, and grandchildren, Phillip shares his expertise on personal finance and budgeting as a writer for Cheap Check Store.