The Herald Bulletin

September 28, 2013

Banking on the web offers convenience, safety

More customers are using online services

By Traci L. Moyer
The Herald Bulletin

---- — ANDERSON — Technology is making banking easier — and officials say it can save you money.

“I think a lot of people misjudge online banking,” said Jan Mansfield, assistant vice president with Key Bank, 800 Main Street. “Basically you can do everything online.”

Mansfield said online services have expanded to include the ability to move money, monitor account transactions and pay bills. Depositing checks is even possible with the use of a smartphone app.

“People should know that they can bank at the level they are comfortable with,” she said. “You can pick and choose what makes sense for you.”

Mansfield said banking is now more convenient and user friendly, and she tries to customize banking on an individual basis.

“We don’t tell our clients to go to; we give them the tools and show them how to use them,” she said. “I’m sure if we did not do it that way, we would not have as many people using it.”

Mansfield said about 85 to 90 percent of new banking customers are using the online services and 50 percent of existing customers use it. When online banking was first introduced, Mansfield said she thought online banking would only be something used by younger generations, but its popularity has increased.

According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, "51 percent of U.S. adults, or 61 percent of Internet users, bank online. The study also showed that 32 percent of U.S. adults, or 35 percent of cell phone owners, bank using their mobile phones."

According to the information collected, men are also more likely to bank online than women and all generations younger than 65 are turning to online services for their banking needs. About 47 percent of those 65 and older said they bank online, the study states.

The banking industry has always been a leading innovator when it comes to customer convenience, including the installation of drive-thru services and ATMs and now apps.

New research indicates the next trend may be online payments.

According to a forecast by Forrester Research, a global research and advisor company, mobile payments in the United States will reach $90 billion in 2017. That's a 48 percent compound annual growth rate from the $12.8 billion spent in mobile payments in 2012.

Using an app to deposit a check is one of the newest online banking features. Customers take a picture of a check and then send the image to the bank to be deposited. Mansfield said customers should save the check for 14 days to make sure the transaction is successful, but once it has cleared the paper check can be shredded.

And online banking is safe, Mansfield said.

She said to ensure the safety of online banking, Key Bank uses an enhanced security process that requires people using a new device to access their accounts online to answer a security question. Mansfield said the extra security is viewed as an inconvenience by some, but sometimes it is better to have too much security than not enough.

There are no fees for online banking services, Mansfield said, but there may be small fees for certain transactions. She said the charges will depend on the type of account the customer has and are similar to charges for other banking services. Banking online can save time and money, however, because people do not have to travel to an ATM or local bank to conduct transactions and paper checks do not have to be purchased to pay bills, she said.

Mansfield said some companies are also taking advantage of online banking to save money and some no longer offer payroll checks to employees. She said the shift to direct deposits happened when companies realized that it was easier on a payroll department and more cost efficient to eliminate paper checks.

While more people are using online services, Mansfield said local branches still offer assistance with more complex transactions. She said online banking will never replace local banking, but it can give more people options when banking.

As for what's next in banking technology, Mansfield said the possibilities are endless.

“I don’t know what will be next,” Mansfield said with a laugh. “Your smartphone will spit out money, I don’t know.”

Like Traci L. Moyer on Facebook and follow her @moyyer on Twitter, or call 648-4250.

Banking safely Banking statements should always be carefully reviewed and, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), if you notice an error in your bank statement, you only have 60 days from the date of a statement containing the problem or error to report it. According to the FTC, the best way to notify the financial institution of an error is by a certified letter. Under federal law, the institution has no obligation to conduct an investigation if you miss the 60-day deadline. Once the financial institution has been notified, it has 10 business days to investigate. The institution must notify you of the results of its investigation within three business days after completing it, and they must correct an error within one business day after determining if an error has occurred. Source: Federal Trade Commission