Over the years, banking has drastically changed and has affected the lives of millions of individuals around the globe. E-banking or virtual banking, or net banking or internet banking is an electronic payment system wherein customers of a given bank can perform all their banking transactions.
In other words, e-banking refers to all the financial transactions undertaken by any financial institution over the internet. From paying bills and transferring money into accounts to applying for loans, you can take advantage of all the facilities that a traditional bank offers – without even having to get off your comfy couch!
Everything has its pros and cons and e-banking isn’t an exception. Let us look at the advantages and disadvantages of e-banking:
Advantages of e-banking
All the advantages of e-banking are closely related to each other; from convenience to efficiency, we list out 10 advantages of net banking.
- Benefits and Rewards
- Notifications and Alerts
- Faster Transactions
- Easy Access
- Speed and Efficiency
- Lesser Limitations
- More Features
- Better Customer Service
Let us look at them one by one.
1. Benefits and Rewards
A lot of online banks offer more benefits and rewards to their customers that not only benefit the bank but also benefit their customers. Online banks are willing to offer higher interest rates and better transfer services to their customers who regularly use online banking.
This happens partly due to the fact that the banks have to bear reduced costs when serving online customers. Therefore, the overall banking experience is obviously better than that of visiting a physical bank branch and handling the same transaction.
2. Notifications and Alerts
Customers are instantly alerted or notified about new changes in the system. From changes in the policy to logins from new devices, customers get instant notifications and alerts. However, if you’re associated with a real bank, you would probably get a text alert or a customer service agent will call you to notify about major changes. Chances are, you’re missing out on a lot of changes.
Banks also endorse new products, services and schemes like new investment options, changes in the loan policies, etc. to online customers first.
3. Faster Transactions
You don’t have to wait for your turn to transfer funds – you can do that with a single tap of your finger or a single click of your mouse. Funds from one account will be transferred to another in a matter of a few seconds. Anything that requires quick payments can be done with the help of e-banking.
For instance, you are required to immediately pay your child’s school fees. You can do it via the bank’s app or website or you can physically go to the bank to withdraw cash and then going to the school to deposit the fees. You’ll probably end up wasting half the day to perform this transaction which with the app’s help could’ve been performed in a matter of minutes.
You can conveniently handle your account transactions without all the hassle of being in the queue on a sultry afternoon. E-banking is extremely convenient if you have a decent internet connection (wifi or 3G/4G data). You can access the website from anywhere without actually having to visit the bank. If your banking needs don’t involve the assistance of any staff member or a manager, online banking is the best option for you.
With internet banking, you can always monitor your account activities. This not only serves as a history of all the transactions but also helps you identify threats and suspicious activities before any severe damage can be done to your account.
Online accounts are protected with encryption software that ensures complete safety to the user. Alerts related to passwords and digital signatures are sent periodically to maintain the security of the account.
6. Easy Access
Customers can enjoy easy access with online accounts by simply typing in the log-in credentials. In addition to that, customers can also handle several accounts at a time. Since the internet remains the medium of connection, users can also access different accounts in different banks from a single device.
7. Speed and Efficiency
In a hurry to apply for an educational loan? Or quickly need to pay bills? Or perform any banking transaction without having to waste half your day? Do it via the internet. There’s no waiting nor do you have to rush through anything – you can take your time and perform all banking transactions with patience and it will be done in nearly 1/10th the time spent on actually driving down to the bank and getting it done.
8. Lesser Limitations
Traditional banks have several constraints like operating hours, the physical location of the bank branch, holidays, etc. You don’t have to wonder if it’s a holiday with online banking, or what time is it to perform a transaction. Be it Sunday or the middle of the night and you will still be able to do everything (and even more) through their app or website as it’s available twenty-four hours a day, throughout the year.
9. More Features
Apart from being flexible, some banks go out of their way to satisfy their customers by not penalizing on withdrawals on certificate of deposits, letting customers maintain accounts with no minimum balance, etc.
Moreover, banks generally offer more offers and discounts on credit and debit cards used by customers who have online accounts.
10. Better Customer Service
Banking websites and apps come with customized web pages to solve customer queries and often have a dedicated ‘Frequently Asked Question’ (FAQs) section that helps in answering common customer queries. You can chat with a customer service agent or call them if you need more help. This not only saves the time of the customers but also that of the bank employees who can shift their focus to more important things.
Disadvantages of e-banking
“Every bean has its black”
Everyone and everything has some shortcomings. Similarly, there are some limitations of net banking; from security to technology issues, we list out 10 disadvantages of net banking.
- Difficult for Beginners
- Trust and Responsibility
- Inability to Handle Complex Transactions
- Financial Jargon
- Security Issues
- Technology Issues
- Virtual Assistance
- Complicated Websites
- Other Limitations
Let us look at them one by one.
1. Difficult for Beginners
Newbies often face difficulty in trying to get the hang of e-banking. Initially, customers are scared of losing their money and are often hesitant to explore all the options and features that are available on the website or on the app. New users often give up and stick to traditional banking if timely assistance isn’t provided.
2. Trust and Responsibility
Fake websites and phishing sites are common in this age of technology. Can you really trust all websites? Is it wise to trust an online site with all your money? What if the website folds up and all your money is gone? This wouldn’t happen in a real bank. There is trust between the bank and their customers – you know your money is safe with the bank – because they take the responsibility for your money. Real banks are permanent and reliable while some websites are not.
Sure, online banks are open throughout the year but they are a serious cause of inconvenience in certain instances. For example, if you get locked out of your account you will be unable to perform any banking transactions. However, in a real bank, you establish relationships with the staff, who know you on a personal level and will be willing to assist you in such cases. You wouldn’t have to be on the phone explaining your situation to an unknown customer service agent which by the way, might also take several days.
Also, a few online banks don’t allow cash deposits. To deposit cash, you will be required to email a check and transfer money from another account or bank, or use their e-check deposit service.
4. Inability to Handle Complex Transactions
While you can easily pay bills and transfer funds, you can’t perform complex transactions online. When a large sum of money is involved, it is advisable to visit a real bank and sort it out in-person rather than doing it online. Some financial transactions also need a document verification (like buying a house) so it is better to submit them physically than digitally.
5. Financial Jargon
Financial jargon can often get between you and your money. Knowledge is power-or, in this case, knowledge is money. Though financial literacy can’t be achieved overnight, it can be helped along by a grasp of the basic terms that are commonly used by advisors, analysts, economists, and commentators.
6. Security Issues
Sure, most banks are well-reputed and established, there are times when you face security issues. There’s always a risk of actual and/or identity theft. It’s also possible to get unauthorized access to your account via a stolen or hacked log-in credentials.
7. Technology Issues
If you don’t have a decent connection or there are bugs in the software, or say, there is a power cut or maybe the servers have gone down – websites are bound to crash and you will undoubtedly face a lot of technological issues. While you may get various types of customer service at the moment but sooner or later, you will get frustrated. However, someone is always around to help you in a real bank.
8. Virtual Assistance
When you need assistance during e-banking, your concern is generally assigned to an anonymous customer service agent who is unlikely to know you. Wouldn’t you rather talk to a personal banker when you’re in a fix than an unknown agent? A personal banker will also know your transaction history, your personal details and will be in a better position to assist you.
9. Complicated Websites
Some websites look like a page straight from a super complex scientific experiment. Written in a secret code language with bizarre fonts and colors. I mean, sure some websites are simple and you can get all the things done in a jiffy. But some websites are downright complicated and confusing. With pop-ups, errors, links, and interlinks, redirections to probably a million pages, it gets really difficult to understand.
10. Other Limitations
E-banking isn’t for everyone. Illiterate and the elderly cannot use online banking. Neither can an individual access their accounts if they don’t have an internet connection.