Thirty years ago, using the telephone to call one’s bank to make a transaction was considered inventive and cutting-edge—now it’s an expected and simple service. Who would have imagined the innovations that were to come? Today, cell phones allow customers to photograph their deposits and submit to their bank from anywhere at any time or request that text message alerts be sent automatically for specific transactions or balance limits. Advances in technology have changed most of what we do on a day-to-day basis, including how we conduct our banking.
Services like online bill pay, mobile banking, e-statements and Internet banking headline the enhanced suite of technological services offered by banks. Businesses are also able to use remote deposit capture services to transmit transactions via the web and eliminate trips to the bank. Consider the amount of time these daily transactions would take without online services, and what that extra time means to you.
With the amount of “juggling” one must do these days (work, family, bills, social activities, etc.) it is not surprising to see innovation driving the financial services sector. Our society is forever looking for ways to make processes simpler and quicker. Many times, the solution is met by technological advances.
Take this example. As a regional account executive, Justin spends much of his time traveling. The convenience of online banking has become a mainstay in his life. Not only can he check his account balances any time—day, night or weekend—he can also transfer money between accounts to avoid overdrafts. On a recent trip, he noticed some unexpected transactions posted to his account from another state. Because he regularly views his accounts online, it was easy to spot the fraudulent activity and report it before greater damage was done.
In another instance, Heather, being the thrifty, yet savvy mother she is, stumbled upon a huge yard sale on a walk in her neighborhood. Not knowing the yard sale would have a terrific bike for her son, she was penniless at the moment. She used her mobile phone to access her online bill pay account and automatically issue a “check” to the seller. Because banking technology has evolved to the degree that consumers can gain instant access to their funds, she did not have to go to the ATM to withdraw cash and risk missing the opportunity to buy the bike that would make her son happy.
On the flip slide, Luke is a project manager on a construction project out of town. He commutes to the job site and spends approximately an hour and a half in his truck each way. Spending so much time away from his family, the last thing he wants to do is get on the computer to view his bank account. Fortunately, the tried-and-true telephone banking remains the perfect solution for him. While in his car or on break, he is able to call his bank and access the account information he desires.
Joan’s business has increased exponentially over the last five years, yet because of the unstable economy, she has not hired additional staff. Until she discovered that remote deposit capture (RDC) was available through her bank, her office manager made at least two trips to the bank each week. Considering the time it took to compile the deposit, go to the bank and ensure that everything balanced, she spent about three hours a week on the task. Since Joan enrolled in RDC with her bank, her office manager is able to transmit deposits directly to the bank via the web. Not only has it made the process more efficient and cut down on the time it takes to do her banking, it’s also an effective solution that gives her more time to assist on projects that are more valuable.
One common misconception about online banking services is the risk or lack of security. In addition to being convenient and efficient, online banking services actually offer you an additional level of security. Your monthly statements are sent directly to your email box and are password-protected—you open them at your convenience and reduce the possibility of fraud by someone taking the paper statement from your mailbox. Multiple layers of infrastructure have been put into place to ensure your personal or business information is handled with extreme sensitivity.
Of course, it remains your responsibility to scrutinize requests for personal information and maintain your computer so it is protected from virus and malware attacks. Still, you can rest assured that when using your bank’s online solutions, the information you send and receive is encrypted in transit to help prevent fraud. In fact, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council requires specialized levels of security of all online banking services to help protect your account information.
Instant access—it’s everywhere, including banking. Utilization of these technological advances can increase your efficiency, whether personal or business in nature, and make things a lot easier! Talk to your bank about adding these services to your accounts and start saving yourself valuable time that can be spent elsewhere. iBi