Opening an online bank account in a time when we turn to the Internet for just about everything is very tempting. There are a lot of reasons why people want to leave the concept of the brick and mortar bank behind for a bank that does business strictly online. These modern bank accounts offer consumers a simple and convenient way to manage their money from the comfort of their own home. If you plan to open an online bank account in the near future, these tips will help you do it easily and safely.
Choosing Your Bank
The banks compete on the return on your money (APY) that they can offer, and it makes sense to compare this number as you make your selection. You should also consider the services that are being offered to ensure that you can do everything you need with your new bank. Online bill pay, offering CD's and a number of other options are services that you may need immediately or sometime down the road. Since you are not going to be seeing these people face-to-face, review their track record and length of time in business. These needs to be a comfort factor when choosing a bank. For example, Capitol One 360, formerly ING Direct, is one of the more popular online banks. Knowing that a great number of people bank with your prospective bank can give you a sense of security.
Opening the Account
The banks have made it very easy to open accounts online, and you should be prepared for the whole thing to last about 15 minutes from start to finish. Navigate to the bank's website and select the link to open a new account. As with any other bank account, you will need to supply personal information like your social security number and your contact information. Entering this information is safe and secure as long as you follow standard computer security practices. Online banks are required by law to verify your identity. Make sure that you have a driver's license or another valid form of government identification ready. Make sure to keep a check from your old bank with you as you fill out the information. You may need to enter check data in order to transfer funds from the old bank to the new bank.
Familiarizing yourself with the procedures of your new bank is for your protection. Make sure you understand the overdraft policies for your new account, fees that the bank can charge, and hold times.