How To Start Banking Online

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If you’re still waiting in line at your local bank branch to make transactions or writing checks and mailing your bills, it’s time to finally make the switch to online banking in order streamline your finances and even save a little bit of money (not to mention a lot of time).

You may be reluctant to perform your banking online because of concerns like security, account management or maybe you just don’t adequately understand how to utilize your bank’s app or website. Rest assured: Online banking is secure and convenient, so long as you implement safeguards to your accounts.

Select spoke with experts about how to embrace technology and get comfortable online banking.

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How can online banking streamline your banking experience?

What are the benefits of online banking?

How to get started

What can you do to maintain a high level of security?

There are steps you can implement to make sure your accounts and personal information remains secure. Here’s what you can do:

Be mindful of fraud schemes

If you receive emails or text messages with links requesting you log into your online banking account, don’t click. Instead, go to the website you know is correct and log in there to avoid any phishing or other fraud attempts, says Scheithe with the CFPB. And, if you have questions about emails you receive, you should call your bank or credit union to verify any messages you receive.

Be thoughtful with your log-in credentials and passwords

To maintain the integrity of your accounts, be sure you create a unique username and secure password for your online banking account. Don’t share your password with anyone, and don’t pick predictable passwords like your birthday, your pet’s name or children’s names. You might also want to consider a service like LastPass, which can create a secure password for you.

Subscribe to account alerts

It’s always beneficial to sign up for account alerts so you’ll be notified of any transactions or log-in attempts made to your account. “You can receive alerts by email, text message and push notification when there’s a charge, refund or other transaction on your account, when a balance transfer or payment has posted, to get balance and available credit limit amounts, when a payment is due, or when a payment has posted,” says Sonali Divilek, head of digital products and channels at Chase.

Be an educated consumer

There are a myriad of materials available to understand how to keep your accounts safe. “On our website, we provide customer education about fraud and scams, phishing attempts by text and how to avoid them, as well as additional tips,” says Divilek.

Create individual log-in credentials

Even if you share an account with a partner or family member, make sure you have separate access to your online or mobile banking system, cautions Scheithe with the CFPB. To further secure your account, take the time to add passwords to your digital devices. “Make sure your devices — computer, laptop, tablet and mobile phones — are password protected or locked,” Scheithe says.

Use your banking institution’s educational resources

Your bank or credit unions may have videos or instructions on how to get started online banking.

“If you’d like a little more help, consider setting up an appointment with a customer service representative at your local branch – and don’t forget to bring your mobile phone or tablet so you can download the app and ask questions as you walk through the set up,” says Scheithe. “Or call your bank’s customer support line. Many banks have dedicated staff who can answer questions about the online and mobile banking experience.”

What are the real advantages for consumers to embrace online banking?

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.

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