People often reminisce about the good ol’ days but those times weren’t always that great. I don’t even remember when I walked into the local bank branch last, but here I was, waiting in line just to let the clerk process a deposit into my daughter’s savings account.
Was the place busy because it was the end of the year? Or is the branch always busy? There was a line for the tellers, every financial consultant was chatting with families, and there were even people waiting at the couches with their free coffee in hand.
Maybe they just needed a place to stay while the rain passed through? This has got to be the reason. After all, you can do pretty much everything online these days without any wait. I certainly wouldn’t have blaze the storm if I took the time to sign all those authorization forms to set up online banking for my daughter’s account.
I’m not really complaining though. I’m just grateful the virtual world allowed me to handle everything electronically and how the innovation propelled my finances higher because making the right moves is so more convenient these days. What do I mean? Let me tell you what I had to do before online banking came along.
I used to pay bills by mail. Tearing the bill along the dotted line, signing a check, putting everything in an envelope, writing the address, paying for postage and getting it mailed used to take hours every month. And when you get a bill claiming you didn’t pay the bill last? You have to go back to your records to figure out whether the check was cashed, stop payment and all the good stuff. Now a good portion of the bills are paid with a credit card and the rest are done by the bank’s bill pay system. Easy peasy.
I have to call an automated line and go through the annoyingly cumbersome menu of choices just to make a transfer to a savings account. Sending money to the brokerage account was worst, because a check had to be written and mailed to the investment firm just to make a deposit! This archaic process also meant that more people were prone to just stick with choices tied to the bank administering their checking account just to save themselves time. They, of course, lost out whenever the competition offered a more compelling product but at least they are saving some money. I’m sure there were many others didn’t even save at all because the mere act of putting money into savings was so cumbersome. Nowadays, you can click a few buttons and the money will be electronically transferred to the best savings or investment account of your choice. You can even go one step further and setup automating savings via scheduled transfers. Set it up to move a portion of your paycheck every payday and you won’t even miss the money. I’ve been doing this and it’s incredible how much money I’ve accumulated after two decades of saving consistently.
I kept quite a bit of money in the no-interest checking account at all times, losing out on hundreds of dollars in interests every year. There weren’t interest bearing checking accounts like they do now either. I could track every bill and manage the account better, but that would take a gigantic amount of time and mental energy because there would be many bills in transit as every bill takes weeks to be withdrawn from my account since each check has to move its way through the USPS system and then the company takes time to cash the checks. There’s almost no chance of over drafting the account even if you keep just a minimal amount in the checking account these days because you only get one credit card statement for all the purchases and payments are managed automatically if you use bill pay. Now if we could get the yield on savings accounts back up, then we can take more advantage of this.
I love talking about the good ol’ days too but I rather live in modern times when banking online is so common and convenient.
Radius Bank certainly agrees because they’ve sponsored me to write this piece about online banking. All opinions are of course my own though. How do you feel about online banking though? Do you remember how banking was like before the Internet changed everything?