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Online Banking Applications: How Do You Benefit?

2007 Online Banking Study Results

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Over 900 Forbes.com newsletter subscribers responded to surveys for the 2007 Foresee Results The State of Customer Satisfaction with Online Banking . The study results were released on April 17, 2007 and participants fell into one of three categories:

  • Used online banking applications and paid bills online through their bank's website.
  • Used online banking applications but not online bill payments.
  • Used no online banking activities whatsoever.

Of these three groups, those who used online banking were basically satisfied with their banks, but those who paid bills through a bank website and used online banking services where the extremely satisfied with their financial institutions.

Online Banking Security Concerns

Those who chose not to engage in online banking activities of any kind and those who chose not to pay bills through their bank's web site cited security concerns as a reason for not using online banking features to the fullest. Generally speaking, online banking through your financial institution is as secure as you can get. In comparison, while many dedicated online software applications available on non-banking websites offered by (such as Mvelopes and other online financial software) and Internet-based services in desktop personal finance software offer this same level of security, not all do (see Tips for Online Financial Software Security for details). As the ForeSee/Forbes.com study indicates, financial institutions need to educate customers and potential customers on the safety and convenience online banking offers.

How You Benefit from Online Banking

You, the banking customer, have great advantages when using online banking and bill payment. The following online banking benefits are from the Foresee Results Online Banking Study with my additional observations:

  • More control over your finances and a better banking experience: See banking activity for all your services at one financial institution on one web site. Schedule payments to pay bills at a later date, review loan balances and payoff quotes, etc.

  • More control than ever over what FI you use: You can easily move on if you are not happy with your current bank. The current online banking environment offers free account set up, low minimum balances and other perks, so switching banks is generally easy and cheap or free.

  • Location is not an issue: Online banking knows no geographical constraints, making your bank's physical location practically irrelevant. You no longer need to rely solely on local banking services.

  • Ease of comparing banking services: The Internet makes it very simple for banking customers to find a financial institution that offers services they need, from basic, free checking accounts on up to tailored financial services all offered on one web site by one financial institution. Online discussions on financial web site forums offer those shopping for online banking services a way to further compare online banking services. Use these forums as well as conversations with your peers to learn which banks offer reliable online experiences and which are not so convenient.

Consider Credit Unions

The Foresee Results Online Banking Study found that customer satisfaction with credit unions far outpaced satisfaction with both large banks and community banks. Credit union members are much happier with their banking experience whether they use online banking, online banking with bill payment services, or they use no online banking at all. Be sure to include credit unions when considering online banking alternatives.
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