One of the most exciting things about the internet is that it’s made it possible to take care of so many things from the comfort of your own home simply by using the computer. Gone are the long days of running errands all weekend or tediously wasting time waiting in line – today you can shop, learn, plan your holiday, book a table reservation and manage your finances all before getting dressed in the morning.
Banking is no exception; these days it’s possible to pay bills, transfer money, manage investments and apply for credit cards safely and securely on the web. It’s a service that’s available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so you don’t need to worry about getting to your local branch before it closes to keep up on your accounts.
Managing your money at home
If the idea of taking care of your money online feels daunting, you’re not alone. But there’s no reason to be nervous; banks invest a huge amount of resources into creating safe and secure portals that make logging on and managing your money possible.
Bank websites are all encrypted and take extensive security measures to ensure no one but you can use your information to log in. There are plenty of advantages, too – many banks now offer incentives to go paperless and receive statements online rather than in the mail, and there are even simplified bank accounts that have been designed specifically to be managed online. Your statements are also updated in real time – meaning it’s easier than ever to spot any inaccuracies or keep an eye on your spending.
If you’re already in the habit of online banking, or like the idea of a bank that’s an expert in online technologies, guides like this one to online banking accounts on Moneysupermarket.com can help you compare some of the top-rated online accounts from banks across the UK.
Setting up online with your bank
If you’re not already using online banking to manage your money, it’s easy to get signed up – each bank has its own process, so make sure you check what you’ll need to do with your bank.
In general, to get started with online banking you’ll need to register by providing your basic details like your name, account number and postcode. For security reasons, most banks do the registration process in a few steps – after you initially sign up online you may be asked to visit your branch or you will receive a letter in the mail with a password or sign-in instructions. Many banks also use security card readers to help you securely log in each time you want to go online, so you may need to wait for that to arrive in the mail as well.
To get started, check the individual registration process for the bank your account is held at – banks like Barclays, Nationwide and HSBC all have useful guides on their websites about how to get started. If you’d like to get an idea of how online banking looks, Santander offers an online banking demonstration – though this will be most useful to existing Santander customers, as each bank has a slightly different process for its online banking system.
While it might seem overwhelming at first, within no time you’ll be familiar with how to manage your money online and take advantage of online banking’s best features. And, if you get stuck along the way, most banks have an online FAQ section, as well as a customer service number dedicated specifically to questions and concerns about online banking that you can use at any point in the process.
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