Online Banking.

Probably one of the most useful applications I have been using the Internet for recently is online banking and so I find it strange that over the past 60 articles, this is something that I haven’t even scraped the surface of so far.

To me, the reason online banking is so helpful is that any bank that I have ever been a member of seems to be impossible to park near and for some reason, and perhaps it’s just me, whenever I decide to do my banking there is a always a huge queue stacked onto the street; I still believe that drive-though banks similar to those in the United States remain a good idea, even if they would be an inappropriate area of discussion for this article.

If you go to the website of those who you bank with, you will find up to the minute monetary news, interest rates, special offers etc. however nowadays, all the major banks and building societies also have online banking sections on their websites.These areas allow you to perform a number of different tasks, the diversity of which all depends on those who you rely on to do your.As a rough guide, typical features include the ability to check your balance online, transfer money between accounts, pay a specific company (credit card, mobile phone etc.), increase or change your overdraft, view past and current statements, contact a member of staff, order replacement cheque or paying in books; the list continues and although you still have to visit your bank for certain more complex things, a large proportion of your banking life can be done online.

The list doesn’t just stop with your current account either, the e-banking section of your banks website may also allow you to manage your mortgage, credit card, savings or stocks and shares online.All very helpful, especially if you’ve just realised that a payment for your credit card was due and it’s now 6pm on a Saturday evening, as I often have.

To register with online banking is a fairly straight forward.On the whole, most people tend to be existing customers with the bank or building society they wish to use for online banking, although some sites allow you to sign up for an account online.Signing up is essentially a case of registering your interest online, at which point the bank will issue you with a user name or membership number and post a e-banking password to the address that they have registered with your account.When you receive the password, usually within 5-7 days then you are ready to start using the service.

Security is obviously a major issue so all data you send and receive is encrypted so the chance of anybody being able to spy on what you are sending and receiving over the Internet is very low indeed.

To begin using e-banking, get in contact with your local branch for more information on what they can offer, or go to one of the following websites – Barclays (www.barclays.co.uk), Lloyds TSB (www.lloydstsb.com), Abbey National (www.lloydstsb.com), Brittania (www.britannia.co.uk), Nationwide (www.nationwide.co.uk).You’ve probably gathered by now that generally, all you have to do to discover the website of a major company is to put a ‘www.’ in front of their name followed by either a ‘.co.uk’ or a ‘.com’.This tends to work in the majority of cases.

One other advantage to online banking is that there are certain banks, loan companies or credit card issuers that only allow you to use their services if you have an Internet connection, Egg (www.egg.com) and Cahoot (www.cahoot.com) are examples of such websites.These companies have very low overheads as don’t have the high overheads that high street branches have as they are based solely online.This allows them to pass on some incredible deals such as current accounts with 4.5% gross APR or credit cards with 0% introductory APR.We’ll take a closer look at these Internet only bank accounts next week.

About the Author – Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.

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