We have all had to make changes to our normal routines as a result of COVID-19. For many people, one major change was transitioning to online banking. It has become very clear that the ability to manage finances anywhere, anytime is crucial in today’s world – and not just because of the pandemic. So whether you’re looking for a completely digital bank or a bank with a mix of physical branches and online tools & resources, here are 6 things you should think about.
Keeping your information safe while banking online is of the utmost importance. While you should do your part by choosing a strong password and keeping an eye out for any unusual activity, your bank must also provide the technology and resources you need to protect your information.
The US News reported, “Your bank website should use strong encryption to protect your data when accessing your account. The current standard is 128-bit encryption, and the bank’s site should block you from using a browser that doesn’t support its security standards.” In addition to encryption, it’s important for banks to offer fraud monitoring and FDIC insurance on your deposits so that your finances remain secure.
One common reason people hesitate to commit to a fully online bank (no physical branches) is concern about accessibility. Many people wonder, How will I access my funds? Where do I go if I need cash? Who do I turn to for customer service and financial advice?
Think carefully about the types of features you need from a bank or credit union to determine the level of online banking that works for you. Do you need ATM access? How about online access or a mobile app? Are you comfortable working with customer service representatives and financial advisors online? Many institutions will even link to your other accounts to make it even easier to transfer and manage your funds.
Account & Product Options
Make sure to check that if an online bank offers all the accounts and products you are looking for – or to make sure you know if you need a particular account in order to take advantage of certain banking benefits. Some common needs are checking or savings accounts, credit or debit cards, and personal or business loans. But have you thought about everything you might need?
If you need additional services such as Certificates of Deposit, overdraft protection, treasury or investment services, or others, make sure to check with the financial institution to understand in detail what they can do for you.
Fees & Interest Rates
Before you open an account, make sure you understand the schedule of fees and know what interest rates are available to you! Some accounts have annual fees, or guidelines that explain why you might incur a fee. Some have overdraft fees – but may also offer overdraft protection for extra security. It’s also important to note interest rates for the accounts you’re interested in. Check out Business Insider’s other tips about making your money work for you – many of their recommendations can be followed online!
Know Your Limits
Knowing your withdrawal and deposit limits up front can save you trouble down the road. If you need to withdraw more cash at one time than your limit allows, knowing your limits can give you time to withdraw in smaller chunks or transfer funds to accounts that allow larger withdrawals. If you need to deposit large checks remotely, knowing your limits can help you figure out which account will allow you to deposit the checks you need. And if you check your limits find they won’t work for you… you’ll know to keep looking for the right financial partner.
Each factor, at its core, comes down to something very important: trust. Do you trust your bank or credit union as a financial partner, not just an institution? That’s why we at Liberty Bank are all about Uncommon Courtesy. We see more value in putting a smile on someone’s face than putting a dollar in our own pocket.
Liberty Bay combines this member-first attitude with first-in-class banking products and resources, including stellar online and mobile tools, physical access to over 5,000 partnering branches and nearly 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs nationwide, excellent security, competitive products, fees, and interest rates, and much more. We want to do more than simply provide all of this to you: we want to help you find the right options for you.
Become a Liberty Bay Credit Union member and experience our Uncommon Courtesy today.