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Internet Bank

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For those who swear by its convenience, banking by way of the Internet is definitely here to stay. In fact, online banking is such a part of our lives that it isn't news any more, unless there's a security breach. However, consumers have taken a long time to accept this option for managing their finances, and many never will. We're all traditionalists in one way or another, and nothing will likely change that.

Wells Fargo was the first major U.S. financial institution to announce itself as an Internet bank in 1990, though smaller organizations introduced the option earlier. By the end of the decade, other large established banks had followed suit, both here and in the United Kingdom, as well as in continental Europe. When one bank sees a way of retaining customers and/or increasing revenue, its competitors will not postpone making the same decision any longer than it takes to implement the plan.

Some benefits of having an Internet bank account include the ability to check on balances, to transfer funds between accounts at the same bank, and to pay bills online. In a frenetic society, such a convenience can save consumers time. Even so, lingering concern about identity theft can outweigh the convenience of access to their accounts for many. This is in spite of the fact that all legitimate banking institutions make security thepriority.

No Physical Buildings
By now, it's a fact that a wide segment of traditional banking has embraced the Internet. In addition, a growing phenomenon is that of Internet banks that only exist on the World Wide Web. They literally have no branches where customers can walk in and get a sense of the place and its employees.

Not seeing physical bank branches in their local area may put some people off, who would like to know that the Internet bank does actually exist. It's reassuring to check out the credentials listed on a bank's website, such as its membership number in the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Ethical online-only banks do a thriving business and are worth investigating.

Internet Banking Is Less Intimidating
Even today, some brick-and-mortar bank buildings may still have an aura of haughtiness to them. This is especially true for the less extroverted among us. Old-timers, for example, will remember those banks whose physical presence was so intimidating that just asking to withdraw your own money took an act of courage. "You want to do what?" was often the response to a timid presentation of the withdrawal slip. Wishing the floor would open up and swallow them was not an uncommon desire for the hapless customers.

If you are a busy person and do not have the time or the inclination to deal with traditional banking hours, conducting your financial business online could be beneficial. 24 hours a day, you can log on to your personal accounts to check balances, make payments, or verify that specific checks have cleared. When time is of the essence, online banking is a godsend for today's working people.

In our hectic world, customers don't have to deal with a bank "in person," when they choose to conduct business on the Internet. In fact, banks offer premiums or rewards to attract online customers. That's almost like the '60s and '70s. Back then, a customer would receive a toaster for opening a new account. Today's rewards may include a $50 bonus deposited to a new account, or free checking in exchange for paying two bills a month online. Interest rates on savings accounts have been so low for so long that the offer of 3% interest is often an added attraction.

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