“ Tips and advice on how to be more efficient with your online banking, and how to protect yourself and your account online. „
My review is based on my experience of online banking with HSBC.
Personally I find online banking to be a very good way of keeping track of all my financial matters. HSBC website is easy to access you are sent your own unique passcode in order to be able to get on the site. You then have to enter your date of birth and also selected numbers from another combination which you pick yourself when you sign up. With this you need to be careful I know a few people who have been caught out with hoax HSBC sites. I have never been asked for more than 3 numbers at any one time when inputting my code for example my code is 6 numbers and HSBC will ask you to enter the first third and next to last number. Another thing is if you go back to the page with inputting those numbers it will still ask for the same three numbers it will not swap to the other 3 numbers so watch out for that. HSBC also provide me with free anti virus software for my computer each year so I can bank safely.
My online bank account makes it easy for me to keep track of my spending. It allows me to pay bills for store cards, credit cards and loans. It also allows me to send money to family and friends. I can set up direct debits into my savings accounts and I am able to cancel un wanted standing orders and direct debits myself without having to phone the bank. I can also transfer money between my accounts.
I would recommend online banking as a great way to keep track of your finances just beware of scam sites.
I am a Barclays bank customer and regularly use online banking. I'm not brilliant with a computer, but giving online banking a go was well worth it.
It is really easy to use. I phoned barclays and asked for a membership number, this is a must to enable you to login. They send you the number through the post. you either need to remember this number or write it down in order to login. Also the site asks for your surname and password and that is it.
I've never had problems with the site and using it makes life so much easier. I now only have to go to my branch to pay in cheques, and that isn't often!! everything that you need to do is easy and there at a click of a button.
I use online banking regularly to check my balance. You are able to view all transactions that have been made on your cards in the past month. Good way to check that nothing dodgy is going on with your account. It's easy to select different accounts. What I find very handy is that I am able to transfer money from one account to another in seconds and also pay bills. You can cancel direct debits and check that your bill have been paid.
There is info on the site of all savings accounts that the bank has to offer and some online deals. I think you can request loans at a click of a button too.
Using this facility saves me so much time and is convenient as I am unable to get to the bank during the week because of my working hours.
Hello friends. In this review I will simply give my personal opinion about the average guy (like myself, I suppose) and online banking in general.
When I first heard that one can do all one's banking as well as a thousand and one other activities over the net, I was immediately interested, because to stand in a long queue at the bank, some times for an hour or more, in order to make one simple transaction, was just really beginning to work on my nerves. At the time I just had one big problem . . . I had no computer yet and no means to purchase one in the near future, so it was back to the long lines and the waiting for me, for the next couple of years.
Once I did get a computer (amazingly, I did not have to purchase it. A very kind and financially able lady, my wife and I know, purchased one for us), I made it my business to learn as quickly as possible how to do the above, especially.
All banks, everywhere (yes, astonishingly, even in Africa), these days, will ask you to provide them with what is called a username and password so that they can then create a way for you to access the accounts you hold at their bank, online. In most cases, I believe, the bank in question will still request the potentially new internet customer to come to their physical address, so that a bank employee can then register you for internet banking. These days it must, however, also be quite possible to do the above over the internet itself. I went to my bank, i.e. the First National Bank in South Africa, approximately two years ago, to date, where the above was done for me in double quick time. I remember, I was still quite amazed at the speed of it all at the time.
Once the above is done, the new internet customer can then access his/her bank account(s) with his/her login details (the username and password your bank used when they registered you for online banking, plus any additional internet security measures you might have arranged with them at the time) from just about any computer imaginable. It goes beyond saying that you will need to be connected to the internet in order to access your account(s) online. I specifically mention the above, because I can still remember a time when I knew so little about the world of computers, that I was actually quite indignant, on one occation, when I could not understand why I did not receive any e-mail, until a family member pointed out to me that I needed to be connected in order to receive my mail. She had a good laugh on my account. I felt so utterly stupid . . .
I have now done internet banking, transferred funds from one account to another, paid various accounts from my bank accounts over the net, etc. etc., without any glitch whatsoever, for the last two years. It is utterly safe to do this, if you should adhere to the latest security admonitions which all banking institutions, everywhere in today's world, regularly issue to their online customers on their websites' home pages. The most common of these is . . . not to provide anyone, whosoever, with your personal login details. The banks warn their customers over and over again that they will never ask them for these details over the net and rarely under any other circumstances.
Even if you should, somehow, be conned into doing the above, your mobile phone should go off immediately when anyone, yourself included, has succeeded to gain access to your bank account(s). This happens, because the bank in question should/would have asked you to provide them with a secondary means of notifying you, once your account(s) have been accessed, at the time you registered with them for internet banking. You will, therefore, know when someone has gained unlawful access to your account(s), and can contact your bank immediately to try to stop said transaction.
As far as I am concerned it is necessary to have a good anti malware program on your PC when you do internet banking, especially when you have a Windows operating system (which is heavily targeted by malware operators) and you deal with huge amounts of money. The known anti virus products, which are available as free downloads from the internet, like AVG version 8.0 for example, are not bad in picking up the usual known threats, but should really not be employed when you want to be dead sure that you can safely conduct your online banking business without any possibility of undetected online malware infiltrations. I have already done a review on ESET Smart Security version 3.0 If you have this kind of Internet Security to protect your digital world, internet banking, as well as all other money related internet transactions, will only, ever, be a pleasure.
To summarize . . . one should never be afraid to use the net to do internet banking and the like. It is a hundred times more convenient to do so than the alternative, and you will literally save hundreds of hours of your prescious time in a single year in addition to the former. Simply get yourself a good internet security product and take heed of all the security tips your bank should/will regularly post on the home page of its website, and you should be just fine . . .
Natwest have offered online banking for nearly ten years now and have been one of their loyal users. I was slightly nervous at first as the internet was renowned as a risky place to put your bank details but I work in IT and I knew it would be safe.
Their website hasn't changed a great deal over the years and that's because it is very simple to use and offers you all the services you need.
Once you have logged in using combinations of PIN number and password you are immediately given a summary of the mornings transactions in process and your remaining balance. It is very easy to then view statements going back 12 months or even search for a particular transaction.
You can get the following services through the site:
Set up/maintain Direct Debits
Set up/maintain Standing Orders
Make one off payments or transfers
Order new cards or chequebooks
I found it very useful to see what direct debits come out of my account and actually discovered that I didn't need many of them.
The only thing that I find odd is that recently I was sent a keyfob from Natwest, I nearly threw it in the bin as I thought it was a free calculator but it is actually a device that you have to slot your card into when setting up a standing order online. It offers you a security key to then type into the website. It is a bit clunky but having said that it is a further security step which must be a good thing!
It would be nice to have a 'budget type application where you can get a quick overview of your monthly income and outgoings.
All in all a great service and has helped me manage my spending over the years.
I was always a bit sceptical about Online banking to start off with, as I was always worried about people obtaining my details and commiting fraud on my account. However, I recently opened an online banking account, and would now recommend that everyone should do it! It is a fast, easy, and SAFE way to access all your finances, without having to go out to your bank, or call them, etc.
All it took was a few details from my bank card and a few bits of personal information, and my account was set up! It was so easy I even did it on my lunch break at work! I can now see all details of transactions made on my account, some of them even appear on there before they would normally do so on a bank receipt. I can now safely pay my bills, transfer money to other accounts, and keep an eye on my finances from the comfort of my own home.
Lloyds TSB internet banking lets you manage your finances, apply for loans, credit cards, mortgages & pay off bills from home or anywhere with internet access.
It seems very secure, you have a 9 digit username which is randomly given to you to prevent people guessing then you have a password which much be more than 6 digits & preferably a mix of letters & numbers. You then also have to enter your memorable information which very similar to a password therefore can be pretty much anything you want it to be as long as you can remember it! It can sometimes be irritating having to enter this infomation every single time not to mention time consuming if you're in a rush to check your account balance but it does make it that little bit more secure & give you the extra peace of mind that your finances are secure.
Once you have successfully logged in it will immediately take you to a 'customer communication' page. This is where any security alerts that you need to read will pop up on the screen then once you click 'proceed to internet banking' you will be at your account overview screen. This is where you can check your balance, make bill payments, transfer money, set up standing orders, print statements & if necessary make ammendments to direct debits. All of this is very easily done as Lloyds gives you clear concise instructions.
On your account overview screen you will see a left hand column, this is where you can apply for things like loans & mortgages. You can even set up your mobile services which is basically where you can receive text messages informing you of your current balance on a certain day & time of every week. This is free but if you require the entire mobile services package which includes text messages to tell you if your card has been used abroad it will cost you £2.50 a month which i feel is great value for such an important service.
Something which is fairly new to Lloyds TSB internet banking is the internet savers account which can easily be set up within 5 minutes. On the left hand column you will find a link saying 'savings account' & if you have one it will take you to a summery of your account & if not it will give you the option to set up an account. All you need to do is transfer £1 into your account & you're away! Save the change is also a great feature. This works in sync with your current account & is only available with your internet savers account so is one more good reason to set one up. Basically when you use your debit/credit card to make a purchase either online, over the phone or in the shops the money you spend will then be rounded either to the nearest £1 or the nearest £10 & transfered directly into your internet savers account. This means you can build up savings simply by shopping & you wont even notice the money being transfered.
I have found Lloyds TSB internet banking to be an overall great service. The layout of the website is great & easy to get to grips with, the customer service is very good & can either be done over the phone, through email or simply by visiting your nearest branch. It is all very secure & you can log in & out with complete peace of mind that your money & details are very safe. I would definately recommend Lloyds TSB internet banking to anyone especially those who are finding it difficult to keep up to date with their finances or find it difficult to get to the branch to make changes to their account.
-: INTRODUCTION :-
I have only done online banking for the last few months, and I have had no problems with it what so ever. In fact I think online banking is great and very convenient, especially when you want to know what you have in your account, etc without having to go to the bank for a balance, or to wait on your monthly statements.
-: WHATS IS ONLINE BANKING? :-
Online banking allows you to do the following online without leaving your home, you can find all the below options on the left hand side of the page :-
View you accounts summary
Here is where you can view the summary of your account in detail. This will show you everything you need to know about your account, the payments in/out, and your balance.
View, amend, cancel, add, transfers, payments, and payees
Here you can do everything above; this allows you to change anything you wish to. You can set up or cancel payments, transfers, and delete or add payees. Also here you can set up or cancel a direct debit.
Request an overdraft
Here is where you can request an overdraft on your account, I haven't had to use this feature so I wouldn't know how it works.
Order a cheque book & paying in book
Here you can order a cheque book, or a paying in book I used this feature before to order a cheque book, it is easy to do, and pretty fast when you get it come through the post.
Activate a debit card
Here you can activate your debit card rather then doing it at your bank. You use this when you have a new card come through, which you need to activate it before you can use it.
Upgrade your account
Here is where you can upgrade your account, I used this to setup a current account it was so easy to do, and was pretty fast to be completed. It didn't take that long to come through the post either.
Here is where you can change the settings for your account, like your PIN, password and you can also add a credit card here to.
-: APPLY ONLINE :-
Here is the option where you can apply online for things like loan, a loan quote, savings account, credit card, mortgage, current account, upgrade your current account, or request and overdraft. Its amazing to what you can apply for online using online banking, where before you would have to go into your bank to apply.
-: THE ADVANTAGES OF ONLINE BANKING :-
There is no more going to the cash machine or waiting on the monthly statements from your bank, to find out how much you have in your bank because you can do it online, you know how much you have in your bank, also what has been paid in and out of it. No more going to the bank to transfer payments, adding/cancelling direct debits, making payments, ordering books, upgrading your accounts, requesting overdrafts, even paying your bills etc because now you can do them securely online. Online banking allows you to do almost everything you can at the bank without leaving your home, there is no extra charge for using the site you only paying for the internet use, the site is very easy and simple to use, and you can find your way around the site with ease because everything is clearly located. If you do need help there is a 24hr helpdesk that will help you with any concerns, problems, or questions you might have about online banking.
-: HOW TO SETUP ONLINE BANKING :-
All you have to do to setup online banking, is to log into your bank's website, which mine would be www.natwest .co.uk and click on the option to sign up for online banking. Once you have done that then you will be asked a number of questions about you, your work, bank details, etc, fill them out as accurately as you can. Once you have done all this you will receive a letter from your bank saying thank you for registering online banking, it will give you the activation code and your customer number, which you will need to complete the setup. Follow the steps in the letter for completing the setup process, then follow the on screen instructions, within these instructions you will be asked to enter your activation code, then you will be asked to choose a password and PIN, these will be used every time you log on. This process does not take long to complete, and is simple to complete. Once you have completed the setup process you can then start using the online banking and enjoy the benefits that it will give you without leaving your home.
-: FINAL OPINION :-
I have benefited a lot fro using online banking but tend to forget what I can do on there which is silly of me really, like for instance I went to the bank today to activate my card, which I could of easily done online but never really thought about it as I am used to going to the bank to sort things out. All In all I think online banking system is great and is very easy and simple to use, and is great when you need to sort out a problem and the bank is shut because you can still access everything to sort out things you need to sort out. The speed of the site is fast, and reliable and very easy to use and to find the relevant information is very well marked out. Hope this opinion in good enough to get people thinking about setting up online banking if your not already using it, as it would really benefit you, this is write from my own experience and to the knowledge I know and understand. The site is fast, reliable and very easy to use and find the relevant information.
Forgive the short nature of this article - but it is something very important that needs saying.
Have you been emailed by your bank that you have an online banking facility with? Have they said anything from "Your details need updating" to "Click here to enter check your information is correct"?
I can almost guarantee IT'S A SCAM!
It may look like you're clicking into your bank's website and entering your details, but you're not.
Take this website address:
Try it, and see what happens.
Bet you didn't expect that!
Now, imagine if instead if that, you ended up at a page looking exactly like the bank's page - you enter your details, and then a scammer took those, logged into the real bank page AS YOU, and took all your money...
The moral of the story - if you get an email "from your bank", always go to your banks' website yourself, and log in from there.
After a few negative comments by other reader (comments gratefully received and taken on board), i decided to edit this review. I have been using lloydstsb online for several months now, and find the site very easy to use. The registering was fairly simple, you have to fill in your account details (a/c no. and sort code) online, if you are already registered for phonebanking you can enter these detail as well which will help speed up this process, it then gives you a code and a phone number to call. You will be asked several security question to confirm you idenity, you will also need to know a few transaction that have happened since you last statment. If you are accepted you will be send you user ID, the site says it will take 3 days but mine came in 2. you can then go to the site and log in. The site has many great facilities. the opening page has many links to other service they offer, insurance, credit cards, loans, and companies they are connected to Cheltenham and Gloucester, Scottish Widow. There is also a branch locator and a page showing their rates and charges. As soon as you click on the login section, in my case personal account but it can be set up for business accounts as well, the padlock appears to show that you are in a secure area and this is before you have entered your a/c ID or password. Once logged in a list of your accounts appears showing there balances, you can then select which one you want. Once you click on the account you wish to look at, its then shows your a/c balance and available balance, as you may have an overdraft, the value of which is shown, it also gives you the options to create a nickname for this account to make it easier to tell one from the other. At all times on the left hand side of the page you are looking at is a list of options (statement, direct debits, standing orders, payments and transfers, overdraft, upgrading you account, changing you password) tha
t are available to you, connected to your account, this makes it very easy to navigate around the site. if you want to go from your statement to see which direct debits you have set up against your account, you just have to click on direct debits on the left without having to keep clicking back to find a menu page. In the statement section are all the transaction you have had upto your last statement, a copy of which you will have been sent by the bank. there is also the facility to print it out yourself. In the direct debit and standing order sections you can see when they last went out and for how much, you can also cancel them online, which i think is very handy as this can be done at anytime without having to phone or visit the bank. In the payment & transfer section you can set this up to make one off payments, saves a trip to the bank or post office. when you enter the amount you want to send you can specify that is to be paid a.s.a.p. or on a specific date, so if you are on holiday it can be set up to be paid while your away. You can also apply for a loan, credit card, house and car insurance and even apply to increase your overdraft. I also experimented with logging out and then clicking back to see if it would send me back to the last page i looked at, but it didnt it returned me to the login page, which is good if your using a shared terminal. From the comfort of your own home you can check you balance or lack of it, at a moments notice, no need to get ready, get the kids in the car, trail into town, find a free parking space as you will only be gone for a few minutes and hope after all that the machine is working. It is very easy to check whether your wage has gone in, your direct debits have gone out, cheques have cleared. etc etc In a world which is now so internet orientated its a great reliable service. The only disadvantage i have found with the site is that it is not availab
le between midnight and 4am, as they update the accounts then. hope this is more helpful than the last edition.
You can't fail to have noticed the hype from banks to join up for their online banking schemes. So what's so wonderful about banking online instead of the High Street? Well obviously from the bank's point of view the more transactions you do yourself, the less you'll use the branches and counter staff. Many banks now have a very limited counter service and the number of branches on the High Street is dwindling, as more and more people convert to phone and Internet banking. I've converted mainly to Internet banking using four different banks at the moment, but is it right for you? Let me point out at this point that I'm not a financial expert, wizard or adviser. I'm just someone who's used most mainland UK banks at some point for some reason or another and who always has, erm, mumble mumble, several accounts on the go at once. Nothing dodgy, I assure you! I just like to move my money to get the best investment and convenience that I can. WHICH BANK? Well I'm not going to tell you where to put your money ? that's up to you. There are essentially two types of online banking (a) the High Street bank that's set up the ability for you to manage your existing account online, eg Woolwich, Halifax, Lloyds, and (b) the purely Internet companies who have no high street presence, but may be backed up or owned by a High Street bank or other financial institution, eg Cahoot (division of Abbey National), IF (part of Halifax), Egg (Prudential). Generally the purely Internet-based banks will provide most services you should require, sending out forms for signing by post as necessary. But the High Street is catching up fast. They are learning that to compete with these new ?upstarts' you have to provide more than the ability to purely see your statement online. They are branching out more and more into Internet banking and through WAP too. They are offering more and more facilities as many customers a
re shunning the High Street in favour of the ?lazy option' ? take as an example The Woolwich who have just relaunched their online banking after consultation with customers to bring improved facilities to the online service (myself included). Like all services, you need to shop around according to the services you will require. Will you need to deposit money over a counter, or are you only ever going to deposit cheques, that could be sent by post? And most importantly how will you feel most comfortable doing your banking? Here are some of the things you may want to take into account while deciding (a) whether or not to register for online banking, or (b) to open a new Internet-only account. CONVENIENCE How many times are your bills paid late because: (a) It was raining or cold outside (b) Your mates forced you to go to the pub at lunchtime (c) You were off sick (d) All of the above? That's the major plus ? even if you're bed bound you can struggle to the PC to pay your bills, plus you don't get cold or wet in the process. You can literally pay them in your pyjamas (remember that Barclays advert? I do it all the time!). This is my number one advantage to online banking! If you're setting up a bill payment, either for a credit card or utility, bare in mind it can take a day or two to set up, but the time it will save you eventually more than makes up for that. I went to my local branch this afternoon to withdraw cash ? the first time I've set foot near a branch this year and if Internet banking could do THAT for me I wouldn't even bother then! If you set up bill payments though, you will need your account, sort-code and any other details such as your VISA card or customer number to hand. Some accounts are a pig to set up, as you may have to contact the company concerned to obtain further details. But it soon redeems itself when you see everyone else queuing in the bank at
lunchtime! Also, bear in mind that just because it's electronic it doesn't do things by magic. Regrettably with online transactions you are still subject to a certain number of working days for things to be actioned. You should still allow plenty of time before they're due. Accounts differ in how long they say they take to pay your bills, so check thoroughly with both your online bank and your bill company, but it's usually 3 or 5 working days. MANAGING YOUR FINANCES If you're like me and have loads of Direct Debits, cheques etc, being able to view your account online is invaluable and sometimes provides a comprehensive list the likes of which your bank can't even provide. The Woolwich used to provide a facility where they'd list your most recent 15 transactions on a mini-statement if you went into a branch. About 3-4 months ago I was told by counter staff the facility had been removed, in order to make people move over to Internet banking. Whether this is true or not, the ability to list your transactions on screen in more detail is way better than the service you used to get. The mini-statement listed ?Direct Debit' and went into no details ? the online statement shows you exactly who each transaction went to, with the exception of Cheques, although probably some online banks offer this facility. In fact the Woolwich are one of the better ones for this, as you can view statements online certainly going back to when I opened my Open Plan Current Account two years ago! However, it can obviously be tricky paying money in. If you're looking to open an online account, make sure you are happy with their paying-in methods. If you save your coins up, like me, then you need a solution that you can pay in over a counter so you'll probably want a High Street bank that offers online features rather than an Internet-only account. Some of the best accounts in fact are those where you can pay money in a
t the Post Office ? there are Post Offices all over the country, which makes transactions there very easy indeed. BETTER INTEREST As I know from shopping around for an instant savings account only yesterday, the trend is towards offering a higher interest rate for Internet-only products, or those with Internet access (see earlier comment re cutting staff and branch costs). This applies to savings and current accounts alike, but is worth bearing in mind as you may get a better deal for a current account with online access, whether you take advantage of using the online facilities or not! A quick example of the differences, I signed up for a Halifax Internet savings account yesterday, who offer 4.05% gross compared with my Abbey National traditional savings account earning ohh 0.20% gross, rising to 0.40% should I ever amass £25,000 in it. Wow! After a year, taking inflation into account, that £25,000 would be worth less in real terms. How can they seriously expect people to save money in these accounts? I'll tell you ? people who can't or don't have Internet access - the likes of my mum, in the remote wilderness who banks traditionally, doesn't use the Internet and probably never will. SECURITY AND ALL THAT You need Internet access. I know it sounds obvious, but just because you're reading this op doesn't mean you have. A friend might have printed it out for you. Bear in mind the security aspects if you're sharing a computer with friends or on a work or University PC ? don't check any options to save passwords to make logging on quicker, if they appear ? this information could well be available to your friend using the PC afterwards. Online transactions and Internet banking have come a long way but no system is hacker-proof. At the end of the day, banks realise this and have very secure systems in place. I myself have been a victim of Credit Card fraud and the bank was very understanding and
helpful in resolving the issue. To make your money secure, the security process can be horrendous. Every bank has its own methods, but they usually involve a username, password and PIN number. Make sure you can remember your details, so choose usernames etc that you can remember, if possible. Certainly the Woolwich gives you a user account number that you can't change, which is a pain, but you'll soon start to remember it! Other banks may use your standard account number or cashcard number. One thing to watch is the terms and conditions ? if you can't remember your details and write them down you may be responsible for any transactions that a fraudulent person commits using them. I won't tell you it's easy ? with the number of online accounts and emails I have I regularly forget security details. If you are likely to forget your details they can be reissued but bear in mind you won't be able to access your account during that time, so take care if you have an Internet-only account. When I first forgot my Woolwich details, well I can't really tell you how annoyed I was, this being a family channel and all. With the Woolwich if you enter your details incorrectly three times your account gets locked. Even if you then find the original paper with your details on, customer services cannot unlock the account ? they have to send you new details out. And they won't even talk to you about the account ? I had to rely on using the branch and ATMs for the few days it took for the new password to arrive. That said, I was VERY impressed with their security, so I feel that my money (what little I have left after the monthly bills!) is safe with them. IN CONCLUSION? Well that's all I have to say for now on the subject of how to decide whether or not you're joining online banking. There are probably plenty of things I've missed out, but I can probably guarantee this will be amended from time to time! I
have tried to base this on my own experiences, which you'll notice hasn't always been great, but has not been disastrous. Overall I find the convenience of being able to access my account details and pay bills at any time the best thing since sliced bread, but feel free to make up your own mind, though! Here are a few sites that you may find useful in your search, some of which I have already referred to in the text. Oh, and happy banking! :o) British Banking Association: www.bba.org.uk Building Societies Association: www.bsa.org.uk Microsoft Money: http://money.msn.co.uk Cahoot: www.cahoot.co.uk Halifax: www.halifax.co.uk Intelligent Finance: www.if.com Egg: www.egg.com Woolwich Open Plan Banking: www.woolwich.co.uk Abbey National: www.abbeynational.co.uk Lloyds TSB: www.lloydstsb.com Barclays: https://ibank.barclays.co.uk Natwest: www.natwest.co.uk
Well, I guess you can if the leads will stretch that far - but you certainly don't have to leave the warmth of house as often as you used to, if you are a lottery winner or an e-worker then you will do so even less, but for the majority of us what On-Line banking does mean is that we should never have to rush to the bank in our lunchtimes or spend Saturday mornings surrounded by screaming kids, or freezing your 'bits' off on your local high-street trying to get a balance from the temperamental cash machine, or spend hours punching your way through those irritating automated telephone systems - one day we might even have virtual paying in systems, now wouldn't that be nice! I am actually going to be looking at Woolwich Open Plan Internet Account -but firstly: WHO ELSE DOES IT? Well it seems to be these days everyone is at it: * EGG - run solely internet accounts - you can do everything from take out a mortgage, operate your ISAS, credit cards, you name it they offer it - with EGG credit card - they don't even send you a paper statement - just notification via e-mail that your statement is available for viewing - they charge you £2 for the privilege of obtaining a paper statement, although I guess the sensible option would be to print your statement monthly (unless you are like me and keep forgetting to buy ink because you never leave the house) * SMILE - the dedicated internet bank -never meet anyone, never talk to anyone, just SMILE and get everything done for you * MARBLES - Again Credit Cards - you can do EVERYTHING over the internet, including transferring balances, making paymentsm view and query transactions - you can apply on-line, close your account on-line, increase your credit limit on-line, you name it the choice is yours. These are just a few of the companies intruding on the world of internet banking in some form or other. But back to the THE WOOLWICH - who have recently relau
nched their open-plan internet banking site on an unsuspecting public in the form of a more user friendly system capable of doing most things - previously you could check balances and make bill-payments, nowadays you can do a whole lot more - although the hardest part particularly in the early days is remembering all the extensive security information required to access the system in the first place. On entry, you will see all your accounts grouped together including ** Current account ** Savings Accounts ** Investment accounts ** Borrowing accounts (assume includes mortgage, loans and credit cards) ** Protection accounts (? don't really know what this is as I haven't got one) So what can you do once you get there? * Well you can view your balance * Check transactions on a 'live' basis, including see what direct debits have gone out, where you drew your money out from last night in a drunken frenzy - what bills you have paid and which ones you haven't, whether all your direct debits have gone out (Sorry Egg but I didn't think to check whilst sunning myself in Lanzarote) * Move money around from account to account * Make bill payments, AND dictate what date you want the money to leave the account - ADVISE CAUTION - I made a payment to my credit card account and set the month to 3 months later accidentally, luckily I realised what I had done, otherwise I could have had a nice £20 charge from the credit card supplier * View all your direct debits in one go * Check what money is due to go from your account * Cancel direct debits and set up new standing orders * Set up new bill payments - for this you will need the sort code and account number of the destination account - your credit card number/account number will be the reference - once you input the account details the system will identify the supplier for you - so less risk of making a mistake - new payee
s will be added within a few minutes of submission, or the next working day if outside normal business hours - so much for 24 hour service - I guess if it is that urgent you can always phone the call-centre. * Make product enquiries - providing the Woolwich with the date and time you want them to call you - saves you a few bob on an 0845/0870 number * The site includes a range of FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions) so if you do have a query, check here first. * Identifies all regular payments, the reference details and the date of the last payment made from the account * Print summary statements - although you will still receive monthly statements encompassing all your accounts with the Woolwich if you are on Open Plan * For queries, on the previous account there used to be an instant ring back-facility - but they have removed this, providing you with a list of contact telephone numbers instead, and referring you initially to the FAQ's to determine whether these can answer your question. ========= As far as I am aware this service is only available to Open Plan account holders with the Woolwich, I am not aware, what if any internet banking is available to standard current account holders - if there are any left. How do you find out more? including a demonstration? www.woolwich.co.uk All facilities can also be accessed via Sky Digital and over the phone. ============================== Although I must confess that this launch was only made available after the takeover by Barclays, so it could be this was originally a Barclays service subsequently made available to Woolwich Customers - in the early trialling days it used to fall over quite regularly, but more recently has proved its reliability and seldom causes any problems (famous last words) - the system will automatically log you out if your account is idle for longer than 15 minutes. I suspect that this s
ystem is probably little different to the on-line facilities available from most high Street Banks - but for me, it was the catalyst to keep me (again) at a time when I was becoming disillusioned with this company and ready to move on. Sue
No doubt you will have read or heard about the tales of accounts being hacked into and people losing their money due to the weakness of on-line bank's security. As I have worked for an Internet Banking for several years I feel quite well qualified to speak on this subject. First of all I am speaking in general terms for the whole industry as I know it, I do not feel comfortable giving specifics for the company I work for as it might not be a good career move! But I would say I truly believe our security is better than the other on-line banks I have dealt with, having had accounts with three others. There is no such thing as total 100% security, even putting your money into a branch can be risky as BCCI customers will testify to, they went bust about 10 years ago but most customers were businesses rather than individuals. By far the biggest risk and weakest link is the fact that people have difficulty remembering passwords and either write them down or store them on their computers. Don't do it, if someone finds your details either by hacking or other means you wont be covered, the bank's terms and conditions will almost always state you were at fault which is fair enough I suppose, if you give your car keys to a car thief what will the police say if you report it stolen? If you really can't remember passwords then there are lots of ways around the problem. You can write the password down in the middle of other stuff so it isn't obvious what it is or I personally use a word with numbers embedded in it. If you deliberately spell your password wrongly that is also quite a good way to increase security. One of the biggest problems I encounter is people who have had laptops stolen and they have stored their password in a text file on the computer. So far nobody I know of who had their laptop stolen in this way has had their account accessed partly due to the procedures we have in place for such events. I can
't say the same for the other banks though, I know one bank which is now no more who you had to WRITE to in order to change your password, not very helpful if you forgot it and had to wait around a week for them to WRITE back to say they had updated it! Not sure how secure this is either, not all postmen are 100% honest you know. Other than having laptops stolen the main worry I have to listen to is about viruses, more specifically Trojans. These are programs which can infect your PC usually through e-mails, especially if you use Outlook Express which is a main target as it has or had a lot of security holes. The Trojan can monitor keystrokes on your keyboard and send the information by e-mail to the hacker, theoretically they can then find out your password. One well known virus checker is supplied by Norton at - http://www.symantec.com/ You may also want to install a firewall which will block access to your PC while online, a good one which is free of charge is found at - http://www.zonealarm.com/ This is countered by the banks in numerous ways. Some will only ask for a few random letters from the password which is not enough information for the hacker to use and other use a combination of passwords and drop down menus for you to enter details, this is very hard to send as an e-mail as mouse movements and clicks are more difficult to decipher. But even if the worst comes to the worst and someone gets into your account either with your password or by hacking. What can they do? They can't print your cash out using their printer can they? No, they must transfer it to another account using the BACS system, which only pays to UK accounts and takes 3-4 WORKING DAYS! So you may notice if someone withdraws all your money and you have time to stop them, the audit trail left will let the authorities know exactly who has the money and their location. The only stories I know of involving security are as fo
llows. First and most serious was an online stockbroker who had a customer log on and could see another customers portfolio, and was able to buy and sell stocks for them. They couldn't withdraw any cash so it was a major breach as they could of bought loads of shares which would of potentially lost their value. Second case was when a customer logged on and saw another customers account. They reported this before trying to do any transactions but it appears the questions the bank asked when logging on were too ambiguous, for example mother's maiden name and primary school attended etc. It turned out both customers had the same details. The final one was where fraudsters opened false accounts using duff information and were given several thousand pounds in loans, but the bank realised this due to the security the employed and the perpetrators were arrested. I will not name the banks involved as I am not absolutely sure of all the facts and don't want to get sued by anyone thanks. If on-line banking were not secure then do you think the banks would offer it, or the government allow it? I suppose the conspiracy theorists would say that every time there is a hacker who gets through the security they pay them to keep quiet but I think otherwise. If I had the knowledge the hackers have (and they are clever cookies some of them) then I would not bother with the piffling sums in personal bank accounts. No offence but the average account has a few hundred or maybe thousand pounds in it and the owner will quickly spot any dodgy dealings. No, I would attack the banks own "miscellaneous" accounts which have millions of pounds in them and with a bit of inside information you would know what descriptions to use for the naughty transactions so the staff wouldn't spot them. By the time they did when the auditors were around you could be long gone in Mexico or probably more likely Afghanistan! The banks can affo
rd to lose a few million in this way as they make so many billions each year. All the banks that I have used state in their terms and conditions that you are responsible for keeping your password secure and PC virus free. But if your account is hacked the bank is liable for any losses. Let's see what the lawyers make of that! I am not going to bore you any more by explaining how encryption works (all banks I know use 128 bit), suffice to say it is virtually impossible to crack the codes used and by the time hackers can crack it they will be using 256 bit encryption! You can learn about encryption at this website - Http://www.fool.co.uk/banking/articles/secure.htm A couple of tips to make sure your PC is secure. Firstly don't touch any attachments you receive unless you are expecting them, especially if it says "I Love You"! When you log on to a secure server, you should notice the address starts https to indicate a secure session and also a padlock appears on the screen, bottom right corner of your task bar. Double click the padlock and you will see a certificate to show the site is secure. Overall I would like to assure people on-line banking is safe you are not in risk of having your account hacked, but you need to be careful when crossing the road as an asteroid is more likely to strike you!
This is a great way to do all your banking, no queueing at lunchtime to pay your mortgage and bills, this can all be done from the comfort of your own home. Abbey national offer a simple to use website with clearly marked sections to lead you to the product you wish to find. I find the site very secure using your bank card number and two passcodes to even access your own details, both numbers will be provided upon registration but I recommend you change these to something you can remember easily. Registration for E-Banking is simple, firstly you need to be an Abbey national customer, then you can either speak to a member of staff at your local branch or register using their telephone banking phoneline. Once registered you can manage all aspects of banking from your P.C apart from being able to deposit/withdraw cash, obviously. It is possible to transfer funds between accounts, pay bills, arrange standing orders and such like. It is also possible to apply for overdrafts, replace cash cards and print off summary statements. It is so simple, the site is simple to navigate and all the mumbo jumbo financial stuff is written in plain english so we can all understand what is being said without being fleeced. So if you havnt registered yet or were thinking of openeing an online account look at the Abbey National, you can even browse around the website before you decide, give it a try you might enjoy it, I know that I do. www.abbeynational.co.uk
I am a big fan of online banking. I bank with barclays and opted to bankonline a few moths ago. It is so easy to sign up, if your bank offers online banking then ask them to sign you up or you can apply online, they will then send you a membership number and a personal pin number. I think there are many advantages and a few disadvantages to online banking, they are If you desperately need to know your balance and it is a weekend, obviously the bank is closed but you can check your balance online 24hrs a day. If you want to pay a bill then you can do this online If you want to transfer some money into another account you can also do this online Disadvantages could be that someone could see your details if you do not log off properly. Hackers getting your details The best advantage I have had whilst banking online is that I needed a loan and did not have time to go into the bank, so I applied for one online, they approved me straight away and sent me the paper work to sign. This does save a lot of time and you can do it in the privacy of your own home. The benefits of banking online in my eyes far outweigh the disadvantages of it
Online banking is now the new way of banking. Forget ques in banks or having to spend ages at the cash machine, online banking has to be the quickest and easiest way of accessing money. Even banks prefer it because it saves them money on staff. Almost every bank offers online banking now and you can easily set up an account. But you do have to visit the bank to do this. This is a new way of saving and you can't just take it out whenever which is excellent for those who want to save but can't (like me!). You can also set up standing orders which will transfer a certain amount of money each month into your online account. It couldn't be any easier. You can even call oyur online account whatever you like. The best online bank, I think, is Barclays, all you have to do is go into a barclays bank and set up an account. Then it is open and very secure so that no one apart from you can access your money. All you have to do to get money out is transfer the ammount you want into a normal account thn after a couple of days you can take it out. This is certainly a superb way of saving. The Website is also excellent to use, it is laid out neatly and everything is easy to find. It is all divided up into sections which makes it better. There isn't much more to say except that this is a great new way of banking and that soon everyone will be doing this. I love online banking and find it very easy to use. Give it a try!