If there is one type of bank account that will benefit the most from online banking, it is a current account. As a refresher, a current account is a bank account that allows you, the account holder, to have prime access to your bank funds. A savings account merely allows you to deposit and withdraw money, although with sterling interest rates, of course. Meanwhile, current account can do so much more. It allows a bank account holder to transfer funds directly from his account to another, pay bills, and do standing orders, among other things. Current account is the bank account of entrepreneurs and businessmen who have the constant need for bank deposit accessibility and connection with other saving accounts and current accounts.
The online connection
So how is online banking beneficial to a current account? How would your banking habits change if you have online access to your bank funds?
Consider this: as a retailer, you need to transfer funds to your store supplier immediately. You don’t have the time to write a cheque, give it to your supplier, and wait for it to be cleared. You can go to your bank, withdraw money, and deposit the money to your supplier’s bank account, but that would take too long -- you need the money sent now!
So what you can do, with your online banking access, is this: you can log on to your online current account banking portal, check your funds to see if you have enough funds for the transfer, and send it through the internet -- as if you’re sending an email or accepting a friend request in a social networking account. This saves you time, and in a way, it can save you money.
In a nutshell, this is how online banking can affect how you use your current account. Current accounts have numerous functions, and online banking allows you to have access to those functions with your fingers and through the computer, literally. Besides transferring funds, you can pay for your bills online using your current account funds, you can connect your savings account to your current account, you can set standing orders and stop payments for your concurrent checking account, and you can amend direct debits.
With this general idea of how online current account works, it’s easy to see why it is necessary for those who use their current accounts constantly for official business. For one, it makes bank functions so much easier, giving you full control of how you can make your current account work. Owning a current account will also require you to check your bank balance frequently. The online banking function that allows you to do this just makes it so much easier.
This isn’t to say a savings account or any other bank account doesn’t need the online connection. After all, in this day and age, everything is easier with online connectivity. But consider the limited functions of savings accounts and fixed deposits account. Savings account does not have that function for maximum access, and more so with fixed deposits account. There are just more functions to explore and use with current accounts, so it allows you to use online banking to its fullest. What’s the point of online connectivity with a fixed deposit account when all you can do with it is deposit money until the end of the maturity period?
Are there risks?
Many are hesitant to connect their current accounts with online banking because of the suppose risks involved. For one, it is a known fact that online banking can be risky due to the presence of hackers and prevalence of identity theft. This isn’t to say normal bank accounts are not at risk. They are, as well as your credit cards and debit cards and your credit line. However, many believe the additional online connectivity adds probable risks to the already potentially in danger bank account.
While these concerns are valid, they shouldn’t be used as a reason not to connect a current account with online banking. There are several steps you can employ to make sure your account remains safe and out of the reach of scammers and cyber crooks.
The key is to find a bank that offers maximum protection for your money and to you as a current account holder. What are the steps taken by your bank to make sure your funds are safe online? And in case your online current account has been hacked, what can they do to ease the damage done to you and your funds?
Do you need it?
Of course, convenience is always a good thing—but not all convenience is necessary. You will have to figure out whether you need it or not, especially for your current account.
If you’re using your current account for official business, online banking may be helpful. Although you will need to check with your bank about the services that online connectivity of your current account entails. Remember that the online link-up of your current account might cost you money. It’s pointless to pay for a service that’s hardly useful at all. The cost itself should be considered as well, since a number of banks -- if not most of them in Singapore -- don’t really charge you for the link-up itself. Using the online services, however, may be a different matter all together. So you will need to check this current account feature with your bank.
And even with the online link-up, don’t forget that the focus of your current account should always be the basic functions and services such as the overdrafts, the debit card, the checking account concurrency, the savings account to current account hook up, the standing orders, the “sweeps” option, and many others. Online banking has become quite common in Singapore’s banking industry so don’t be fooled by banks claiming that it is “special feature.” When opening a new current account, always consider the account as whole, with all the features completing the service. Do not look at it as if one service will dictate how you will use your current account.