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Cool Features of Online Banking

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Take your banking into cyberspace

With just about everything in the world now being accessible via the Internet, it comes as no surprise that many financial institutions offer their customers the convenience of online banking. While each institution may differ in the range of services offered, there is no argument that life becomes a whole lot easier by banking online. This article will discuss some of the most common — and most popular — features of online banking.

Miriam Caldwell, a writer specializing in personal finance, states it perfectly.

"Online banking makes everything you do with your finances a bit easier," Caldwell said. "You can access the information anywhere that you have access to the Internet. It makes your financial life much easier to manage."

With the constant go-go-go mentality people have today, sometimes it can be difficult to find time to actually walk into your local financial institution to manage your money — this is where online banking comes in handy. With it, you can:

Pay bills online — Set up one or all of your bills to be paid online, eliminating the need to write checks and buy stamps. Some financial institutions even allow you to schedule automatic bill-pay where you can arrange for any bill to be paid automatically during the month. It's important, however, to pay close attention to your finances so that you don't overdraft your account.

View your statements and transactions — Keeping an eye on your finances is simplified with online banking, as well, as you can view current and past statements, keep track of transactions, see when bill payments have cleared and also catch any fraudulent activity on your account.

Transfer funds between accounts at the click of a button — If your checking account is getting low, you can easily transfer funds from your savings account or vice versa. Much like the automatic bill-pay feature that most institutions offer, you can also set up an automatic transfer of funds on a regular basis. For example, if you want $100 of every paycheck to go into savings, save yourself the time of going into your account every pay period and instead set up an automatic transfer.

Another feature that is quickly gaining popularity is remote check capture. Although the use of paper checks has declined more than 7% since 2006, according to a recent federal study, paper checks are not extinct; in fact, they still account for more than 24 billion in annual payments. Until recently, there has been no way to cash or deposit those checks without either stepping into your financial institution or at least visiting the drive-through ATM.

Thankfully, there is now a smart phone app available that allows you to remotely deposit your check using your smart phone camera, regardless of where you are.

"If you haven't used a remote deposit app, it's quite simple to do," according to Josh Smith of GottaBeMobile.com. "If you can take a picture with your [smart phone], you have all the skills you need to deposit a check with the service."

To use the remote deposit feature, simply follow these steps:

  1. Sign the back of the check.
  2. Take pictures of the front and back of the check.
  3. Send the pictures of the check to your financial institution via the app.

Depending on the rules and regulations governing your financial institution, you may have instant access to those funds or you may have to wait a designated period of time. In the event that something goes wrong with the deposit, be sure to keep the actual check until you receive notification from your financial institution that it has cleared and the funds are available.

There are plenty of other beneficial features of online banking that can help you simplify your finances, allowing time for more exciting things in life.

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