Banking Online

I’m surprised it took me so long to sign up for banking via the internet, and more surprised at how convenient it is.

Come to think of it, it’s not surprising that it took me so long to sign up after all. I wasn’t sure I trusted the safety of such transactions, with the way passwords are occasionally compromised, and I didn’t like it that I had to ask my bank “permission.” It wasn’t really permission, but it seemed that way since I had to ask them to set it up.

When I opened my accounts here, it was mostly automatic. They told me what to do, I did it, and that was that. Now, I can’t imagine going back to the old way where a person had no idea what was happening in their accounts until they got a monthly bank statement. And even then, a person never really knew what was going on, because there was approximately a two-week lag time between when the statement was prepared and when it was received. And then there was all the adding and subtracting to reconcile the account, because there were always checks that had been written and sometimes even deposits made during that lag time.

I don’t really have a lot of banking tasks, but I do have a separate account to use for PayPal and online purchases, which I keep mostly empty. So that means I have to transfer money from one account to another to pay for online purchases and bill paying. Banking online makes all that so easy! Less than a minute, and the money is transferred. And even though I do keep a separate written tally because just like in the old paper banking days, it takes a few days before checks and transfers show up in the account, and I like knowing where I stand.

In retrospect, it would have been a good idea to have used internet banking during those years I was living in a different state than my bank, but I managed to survive it, as well as survive someone fraudulently using my debit card.

The theft of my card number was probably why, when I moved here, I was so willing to make the change to a paperless account. Back then, I had to call the hospital and give them my debit card number to pay the monthly bills for my arm surgeries, and it was one of those employees who stole my card number. It would have been so much better doing it online.

Not that any of this has anything to do with anything except that I paid bills today, transferring money from one account to another to do so, and it dawned on me how convenient it all is. It makes it convenient to spend money, too, but that’s a different issue.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator

2 Responses to “Banking Online”

  1. Estragon Says:

    Despite (or maybe because of) a long history with computers and networks, it’s also taken until recently for me to start doing online banking. It is convenient (and considerably cheaper for the banks) to do our routine banking online.

    On one hand, it seems less and less feasible to stay with old school cheques-in-the-mail payments. One reason I changed to online banking was because I was consistently being charged penalties and interest on tax payments, even if I paid on the day assessed. It simply took too long for the payment to arrive by mail and be processed.

    On the other, it seems the whole process is so entirely ethereal. There’s no place for paper or any other corporeal record of what is, or what happened to what was. Just bits being flipped. If the bits aren’t flipped just so, life gets interesting in a bad way. I’m trying to be as security aware (paranoid) as I can, but it still worries me (or maybe because I’m paranoid, I shouldn’t be worried, or something)

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Now I don’t feel so silly about waiting for so long to do internet banking. My bank offered free overdraft protection, and I said, “No thank you!” If someone were to access my more vulnerable account (vulnerable because I use it for paying bills and such), all they could get was the five or so dollars I keep there. With overdraft protection, there’s no limit to the amount they could get. Even if the bank refunded the fraudulent payouts, it still takes forever and costs a whole lot of sweat and tears. The bank was shocked that I turned it down. “What if the money Isn’t in the account when you pay the bill?” the young clerk asked. I told her I don’t make such mistakes. That shocked her even more. Besides, as I told her, if the money isn’t in the account when I epay something, the transaction simply doesn’t go through. She reluctantly agreed to cancel the overdraft protection.


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