Did you know over 65% of adults in the UK use internet banking more than once a week? From creating easy online banking solutions to budgeting apps, money management has officially gone online.
Although one in five adults still use paper bank statements, the majority of Britons use online banking to keep up with their finances - with one in five using websites and apps more than once a day. Digital banking services are a fantastic way to keep a closer eye on your money - whenever, and wherever you need.
As with everything since the rise of the internet, banking has slowly but surely moved online. In the past, a paper bank statement in the post, or a visit to a high street branch, were the only ways to get access to your personal financial information. And with early closing times and limited opening hours on weekends, trips to the bank have been in decline for a few years now.
The transition from paper to online banking gathered pace in 2012 when RBS, the Bank of Scotland, Halifax and TSB announced they were cutting the frequency of statements in the post. A spokeswoman suggested better ways to keep up with finances, including mobile banking and text alerts. Since then, most banks have followed suit.
The benefits of online banking
These services have revolutionised the way we spend money - making it quicker and easier to spend, save and sort your funds. Not only does online banking enable you to access account history and make payments at the click of a button, it also gives you 24/7 access.
We’ve all struggled with fitting a visit to the bank around our work hours or commitments. Now, we just need an internet connection and an app - in 2015, the number of payments via banking apps rocketed to 54%! All major high street banks now have apps, plus payment systems like Apple Pay and Android Pay allow you to link your card to your phone for instant transactions.
Budgeting on the go
Speaking of apps, there are also plenty of online tools to help manage your money better. Services like Yolt and Cleo are a great way to keep track of your spending.
Download the Yolt app and link it to your bank account, and it’ll track your transactions and provide you with smart money insights like what you’re spending most money on, and how many days there are until payday. Don’t worry - it’s backed by Dutch bank ING and uses bank-level security to keep your details safe, plus it only uses information that you’ve agreed to share with it.
Described as an ‘artificial intelligence money-managing assistant’ (try say that three times in a row!), Cleo works in a similar way. The app links your bank account to a money-managing chatbot. Via Facebook Messenger or texts, you’ll get real time information on your account balances or transactions. Want to know your balance? Simply text and ask Cleo!
The future of banking?
One app is taking on-the-go money management a step further. The Monzo card describes itself as the ‘bank of the future’, built for your smartphone. It’s a digital mobile-only bank that operates through a mobile app and prepaid card, offering a great way to keep track of spending and create budgets.
Plus, Monzo is an excellent travel companion - you can withdraw cash and make payments abroad and it’ll automatically give you the best exchange rate possible! Monzo have over 342,000 international customers and plenty of bank-level security to keep your money safe around the globe.
Online banking and banking apps allow customers to monitor their money in a much easier and more accessible way - but they’re not without risks.
Online security is a big concern for the banking industry and its customers, but it’s easy to take simple steps to ensure your financial safety. Here are our top tips for staying super safe online:
- Opt for two-factor authentication - an extra layer of security that requires not only a password, but another piece of information that only the user knows - for example, your mother's maiden name or first pet.
- Stay vigilant against spam emails, texts and websites - they might seem convincing, but it’s always best to go directly to the bank’s homepage rather than following a link that may not be legit.Protect your computer & phone with up-to-date security software.
- Use strong passwords - go for something over 10 characters, with upper and lowercase letters, plus numbers AND symbols, and don’t use anything related to you, such as your birthday or your pet's name. Try a password generator to randomly create one.
- Be wise about Wi-Fi - if you’re on a public wireless network, your information might not be protected.Logging in on a shared device? Make sure you don’t leave your online banking password saved or stored.
If you take care to ensure your personal and financial information is safeguarded, you’ll likely find that online banking is an incredibly convenient tool for your money - eventually you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it!
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