Why Almost All of Your Banking Will Be Online
Large and small banks are extending their reach offering services online. Not only are routine banking services, such as depositing checks and wiring money going online as a courtesy, but a number of banks around the world are downsizing their teller services and encouraging customers to bank online, even if they live close to a physical bank. Those who travel frequently overseas for business, international students, tourists and expatriates in particular enjoy the benefits of increased opportunities to execute transactions from handheld devices anywhere in the world.
Online services are cheaper and easier both for the bank and for the consumer. The bank doesn’t have to hire as many real-life tellers, and customers don’t have to take time out of their work day for a trip to the bank. Online banking is such a win-win for everyone involved that more banks may start to phase out their onsite services. Some banks offer almost all of their services online, while large banks have a healthy online presence, but still function as physical banks. Mobile devices and software make it possible to complete virtually any banking transaction online, including transferring money, accessing statements, making deposits and ordering checks. Even loan requests are increasingly made online.
Anxiety over potential security breaches is a major reason many were slow to make the transition from physical to online banking. After high-profile hacking of certain big box retailers and the stealing of personal financial information from thousands of people, potential online banking customers are concerned over the growing sophistication of hackers’ methods. However, security is growing apace with the technical tricks of pirates. What may ease concerns is that many banks and credit card companies offer full compensation for invalid transactions if they are reported within a certain period of time. In addition, banks are taking responsibility for their own security, and are amenable to pay customers back if there is a security breach.
A Selection of Services
Online banks offer almost all of the services available to offline customers, and that is one reason they are enjoying such popularity. Many people organize much of their schedules with a handheld device, finances are no exception. Rather than going to a bank and getting a printed statement from an ATM, the customer can view transactions right from his or her phone, including deposits, withdrawals and checks. This can increase confidence in the bank’s security, since the customer keeps tabs on every transaction and spots unauthorized charges immediately.
Customers can easily pay bills, transfer money, make payments and apply for loans and credit cards while logged on. This streamlines tasks and saves time. In addition to regular banking services, online banks offer investment opportunities, such as access to a fund manager online. International banks such as ABLV bank online puts customers in touch with professional money managers who communicate with clients on the internet. The bank offers a selection of funds as well as asset management services and facilitated trading at the touch of a button.
The Future of Branch Banking
While digital banking is seizing dominance and going to a bank branch to transfer money may seem like an old-fashioned activity, like returning a video cassette tape to a rental place, bank branches won’t be phased out completely. A bank still has a presence in the mind of a customer who may want to be close to a branch of his or her bank, even though there may be fewer physical visits. There is little doubt that most major banks are cutting down on services offered by tellers, but people are still needed onsite to provide a number of services.
Bank customers are likely to prefer going to a branch to discuss complex issues, such as an erroneous transfer. While this can be handled on the phone, the increased confidence the customer may feel dealing with someone face to face encourages banks to keep a certain number of employees working in bank branches. In addition, customers still prefer to make the trip to a branch for essential activities such as opening an account or applying for a loan or a mortgage. There are likely to be fewer bank branches in the near future, but they will still exist in a more streamlined and tech savvy form.
Banks Without Borders
If you are located in a different country from your bank’s headquarters, you face less inconvenience than you might have ten or twenty years ago. While banks have traditionally been closely associated with their country of origin, large and small banks are transcending borders and offering services to customers around the world. This is a distinct advantage for those who need to relocate or are studying abroad, since there is no need to open a new account with a full array of online services from your original bank.
Enhanced security and a wider offering of services spell more momentum in the trend towards online banking. While teller services will always be required from time to time, it is doubtless that bank customers will be doing more of their banking online.
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