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Janice France-Pettit: A look at a few of the features for online banking

Union Bank

Posted: October 22, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: October 22, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

Most banks now offer the convenience of online banking, which provides secure access to your bank accounts via the Web seven days a week. 

From paying bills to seeing if a check has cleared, customers who use these services enjoy saving on postage, paper, time and gas for free or for a small fee. 

Many online-banking sites also offer tools to help you manage your money from your computer or mobile phone, allowing you to handle banking transactions even when you are on the go.

Here are some of the benefits of online banking and how you can get started:

 

Online banking with software

Many banks offer complimentary applications to integrate your deposit information with your accounting software.

Online banking with software combines the convenience of the Internet and the advanced features of accounting software, such as Quicken®, QuickBooks® and Microsoft Money®. 

Customers who utilize this service can download their data to the accounting software, and their account-transaction data are entered directly to the program. 

This service offers the convenience of not having to enter each transaction in your personal software, and it consolidates your financial data in one place.

Bills can be paid online directly through the software, and it allows for easy transaction reconciliation, and can categorize your transactions. Reports can be generated that show you how much you’re spending by expense category, along with budgeting and savings-tracking tools.  

If you already have an account with a bank, setting up an online account is a simple process. Many banks will allow you to set up a new account online, or you can meet in person with a customer service representative in a local branch. Once you have established your online account, you may use the software that is compatible with your account.  

 

Mobile banking

With the increase in use of smartphones, many banks now offer banking via Internet-enabled devices, offering the flexibility to manage your accounts when you’re not at a computer. 

Customers may view account balances and transactions, pay bills and conduct other financial transactions from virtually any location at any time. There may be a small fee for this service.

Contact your bank or visit its website to find out whether it offers this service. You’ll need a mobile phone with a Web browser, and with most financial institutions, you will need to already have an online banking account set up. 

Using your phone’s Web browser to navigate to your bank’s mobile-banking website, the site will walk you through loading the application.

When using a mobile banking service, reduce fraud and protect your money by setting your phone to require a password to power on the handset or wake it from sleep mode, and don’t set it to automatically log in to your bank account.

Taking these precautions can help protect your personal information if your phone is lost or stolen.

Janice France-Pettit is a senior vice president and regional manager for Union Bank, overseeing the Simi Valley, San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley regions. Her column reflects her own opinion and not necessarily that of The Signal.

The foregoing article is intended to provide general information about online banking and is not considered financial or tax advice from Union Bank. Please consult your financial or tax advisor.

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