Americans are increasingly adopting online banking. This year, 75.4% of the population will engage in digital banking. In 2022, an estimated 200 million Americans will take advantage of their bank or credit union’s web or mobile services. However, even during the pandemic, some people remained hesitant to begin banking through a screen rather than in person.
Perhaps you think that online banking isn’t as easy or convenient as stopping by your neighborhood branch to withdraw your spending money. Or perhaps you’re concerned that the customer service won’t be as strong with online banking or that digital bank transactions aren’t insured. You’ll find that all of these are myths. Let’s look at these and other myths — and debunk them — so you can decide if online banking is right for you.
1. Myth: Online banking isn’t secure.
You’re right to be concerned about the security of online banking. Identity thefts and cyber thieves are constantly inventing ways to steal your personal information. The number of digital fraud attempts was up 25% in the first four months of 2021 compared to the last four months of 2020.
There’s no foolproof way to keep your information secure. However, the belief that you’re at a higher risk for identity theft or fraud because you use mobile banking isn’t true. Reputable financial institutions are just as concerned about security as you are. The federal government also legally obligates them to keep your information safe. Banks and credit unions work diligently to set and maintain security standards, such as encryption and two-factor authentication, to keep your information safe.
Additionally, debit card charges are tracked just as credit cards are. Any potentially fraudulent charges are flagged. With mobile access, fraud alerts, emails, or texts may even alert you to potential problems more quickly than via traditional methods such as the phone. Catching these falsified charges more quickly may help you prevent further fraud from taking place and lead to a quicker resolution.
Most security lapses happen because of people, not technology. So, the best way to keep your account secure is to be security savvy. Key strategies include not writing down your passwords, making your passwords complex yet memorable, remaining skeptical of emails that may contain phishing scams, stopping yourself from clicking on unfamiliar or suspect links, and tracking your financial transactions closely. Additionally, it’s wise to avoid public WiFi and logging into your bank on unfamiliar devices when conducting your financial transactions.
2. Myth: Online banking is complicated.
If you aren’t tech-savvy, online and mobile banking may feel complex. However, after your initial account set up, which requires entering some information and setting up credentials such as a username and password, it’s quite easy to navigate. And if ever you find it isn’t, customer service representatives are available to assist you.
3. Myth: Online banking lacks customer service.
Some people worry they won’t receive the same attentiveness they’re accustomed to from in-person interactions. While there’s no replacement for real-life service with a smile, mobile banking has several elements of customer service built-in. First, online banking is extremely convenient. You can do it anytime, anywhere. That in itself earns digital banking top marks for service. Second, there’s still a human behind your online platform. If you encounter any problems, many banks, including State ECU, offer dedicated assistance and support via phone, email, and live chat.
4. Myth: Banking online isn’t insured.
Accessing an account digitally doesn’t change how it is insured. The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) or the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), depending on whether you have accounts at a credit union or traditional bank, insure your accounts. This is true whether you’re accessing the account online or in person.
5. Myth: You still have to go into a branch or visit an ATM to deposit checks.
Most mobile apps offer the ability to deposit checks digitally. The app asks a few simple questions, like the account you’d like to send the money to, and guides you through photographing the front and back of the check for the deposit.
Now that we’ve challenged a handful of the most common online banking myths, we hope you feel more comfortable with online banking and the many advantages it offers.