Some people do not need physical bank locations, and web-only banks do exist. But there are advantages and disadvantages.
Most American banks offer on-line banking services, and now there are banks that exist only on-line. The question is whether on-line only banks are a good place to put your money.
Web-only banks are an alternative for people who never visit the brick-and-mortar location of their current banks. But there are advantages and disadvantages to banking on-line only.
In the busy 21st century world we live in, the first advantage is pretty clear: there is no waiting for a teller. Many workers get their paychecks direct deposited, and any other checks received can be deposited via automated teller machines (ATMS), so that you never have to stand in line for a teller.
Most web-only banks have very low or no fees at all, since they have very low overhead. As a result, they can also offer competitive interest rates. Also, because they don’t have to pay employees in their physical locations, many web-only banks have increased staffing of customer service lines.
Losing the need to make a physical visit to a bank branch also saves money in terms of gas and (since time is money) time.
There are disadvantages, however, and one of them involves cash. ATMs have limits on the amount of cash deposited or withdrawn, and they don’t accept coins, if you ever have a piggy bank to empty.
If you make any payments with specially ordered checks such as cashiers checks or money orders, you will probably require a bank branch that will charge you for the service. Some physical banks offer such checks for free to account holders.
Any time you need a notary, the same problem exists.
As with physical banks, a customer must make sure the web-only bank is FDIC insured (the FDIC website has that information), and there are scammers who try to impersonate real web-only banks with realistic-looking web sites.
Also, web-only banks need to have proper encryption standards to keep your accounts secure. Websites that start with “https” instead of just “hittp” often have security icons indicating their safety standards.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.