The Advent of Internet Banks
Ever since the first Internet Bank went online in 1983, courtesy of Nottingham Building Society we have been experiencing the convenience of banking online or even on TV .The first ever online bank used what is known as the “Prestel” system and made use of what we would consider to be antique machinery these days in the form of a BBC Micro.
The only aspect of banking the site offered back then though was the ability to view bank statements and transactions. It was more like an information service as opposed to the interaction you can achieve with online banking today.
Back then if you needed to perform some activity to do with your account you still had to rely on the old way of pen and paper, call in the branch or phone.
Today we can do everything online with our finances, and to some extent the banks are now relying on this to streamline processing. On a related subject the banks now offer not only cash machines for drawing out cash, but machines which can read notes and cheques so you can credit your bank balance without involving a cashier.
Online banking usually is the domain of banks, building societies, credit unions; in fact any institution which holds our finances. The only difference is in the degree that financial services are offered.
For instance you would expect more financial services from a bank than you would an auction site like eBay, which does hold a financial balance, but is purely for buying and selling.
Some Internet banking websites are just that i.e. specifically Internet banks and are not attached to a real bank, such as Barclays. These types of banks only ever operate online and all transactions are operated in this manner.
The types of banking services offered by online banks can be transactional, non-transactional, administration and special services or features. These are all described below:
TransactionalThese are the everyday activities we all perform online, and some offline. We can add or withdraw cash, pay bills by wire transfer, make investments or even apply for a loan online.
Non-TransactionalThese involve things like looking at online letters and statements where we have opted to try and save the planet and not have paper delivery of documents in our post box; you can still obtain printed versions if required.
AdministrationIt is the job of the administrators of the online banking websites to manage the look and feel of our online banking experience, and to handle security and efficiency of the site. Online Banking websites must also conform to current regulations in place.
The administration of the online bank may also warn of current threats to security when their site has been “phished” (copied) to fool you into parting with your hard earned cash.
Special FeaturesSome online banking websites offer special features to make money management an easier task. Things like email or mobile phone text warnings can be sent when your balance has reached a certain level, for example.
Another feature is the ability to import your banking data into your own financial software such as “Quicken” for example.
Some banks offer enhanced services with their online banking site as a way of providing improved services over the competition.
As you would expect, security is paramount when dealing with an online bank. The banks usually have robust secure procedures in place to protect the general public from scams and fraudsters.
However, common sense says that if you value your online cash you will keep a tight reign on your passwords, credit card information and other details to prevent someone logging into your bank account as you or stealing your identity.
Online banking is a great convenience when used sensibly and wisely.