Online Banking

The basics of Online Banking




Doing your banking on-line is a good idea because it saves you and your bank money. You don't have to pay for stamps or checks. Your bank doesn't have to process those checks. You can even set up automatic monthly payments if you wish for things like mortgage payments or car payments.

There is a difference between On-Line banking and On-Line Bill Paying. Many utilities offer On-Line Bill Paying where they will automatically debit your checking account every month for telephone, gas, water or electricity. This is generally not a good idea because, if they make a mistake and take out too much money, you are at their mercy to get your funds back. It is far better for you to initiate the payment from your checking account through On-Line Banking.

Since every bank uses software that is a bit different, we cannot show you how to do on-line banking at your specific bank. But, some aspects are common to all. We will concentrate on those aspects, using typical software.

First, as with any financial transaction be certain that you have entered an encrypted session. Look for a padlock at the bottom of the browser screen or an address that begins with https:// instead of http://. When you create an account at your bank, choose a secure password, not something trivial like a pet's name or a real word. Use upper and lower case letters, mix letters and numbers and use special characters.

Bad Passwords: maggie or joseph or Land Rover or mary had a little lamb

Better Passwords: geORge#658% or magGiE36528 %%$$ or kbE586fLEwover$

Secure Passwords: 45hgsDvk%xJ65&&456fgnX or GmPx#@56924 -cVx356

Once you have created an on-line banking account at your bank, you need to create a list of regular payees, like your mortgage, power, telephone, natural gas, etc. To do that you will need the Account Numbers and Addresses of those regular payments. A good way of doing this is to gather up your regular monthly bills and enter them all at once.

First go to your bank web site, sign in to your account and select on-line banking. You will get something like this:

Banking account

This is a typical On-Line Banking start screen. There are five accounts already set up. If we wish to make a payment, we simply enter the amount that will be sent on the date shown. You can select another date by clicking on the calendar. When finished, simply click the Make Payments box.

If we have multiple accounts at this bank, we can select the account from which we will take funds in the Use funds from box. It also shows the last payment made and amount in Last Paid.

Since we are adding a new payee, we select add a payee near top.

The account we want to add is AT&T so we start typing AT&T and get a prompt box with known accounts that start with AT. The first one is what we are looking for so we select it.

Add an Account

And we get:

AT&T

So we enter out account number with AT&T and the Zip code the bill goes to. We can group payees into categories if we wish and can set up automatic or manual payments. Since the telephone bill varies each month depending on Long Distance used, I will select manual payments. At this particular institution Automatic Payments are done through e-bills.

It's all very simple. Nothing to fear and your bank is always available with telephone help.