I had to pray really hard before entering a bank to withdraw or transfer funds. I was so afraid of being robbed, mugged or caught in a CCTV being robbed. Not to mention, the long lines and red tape that banks usually bundled with their services. These financial institutions could really kill me – out of fear, stress, distress and frustration.
That is no longer the case today. I now use their internet banking facility. With it, I can do a whole lot of things with ease. Without the fear of death.
Every month, I get my allowance from my sister abroad through remittance. The money flows directly to my bank account, which I can check through the net. Whereas before, the modus operandi was door-to-door banking – now, it’s bank-to-bank internet banking. The hassle of waiting for the smelly delivery guy for the money, making sure that I stay home to receive it, or of dropping by the remittance facility's nearest branch, is all but history. Now, I can check my balance anytime, at the comfort of my own bed, while writing a blog.
In addition, I didn't have to withdraw money over the counter or at the ATM. I use internet banking to transfer funds to my other accounts. The risk of carrying large amounts of money (not that I carry HUGE amounts) and losing it through negligence or robbers is minimized. I have peace of mind.
I can even pay bills directly from my account. The bank lists various merchants which can be enrolled in the “Pay Your Bills” service, and you cherrypick which ones you want to pay – cellphone bills, insurance premiums, water and electric bills, credit card bills, even prepaid load. Gone are the days of lining up at the bank or ATM, withdrawing money, carrying it nervously, lining up again and paying over the counter. You can now do it with the click of a mouse, without the danger associated with money-hungry thugs, without wasting precious time.
Now, you can do everything without ever leaving your desk and lifting your ass. You just have to lift a finger.
But of course, all these technological advancements, while proffering great benefits, also pose potential harm. What does that mean when it comes to internet banking?
For starters, how do you prove that you've paid? There’s no paper trail. Unless you avail of the print button, paperless transactions rule the day. The same thing applies to fund transfers and remittances. So in order to protect myself, I print and save the ‘Acknowledgement’ page.
And don’t forget your well-educated thieves called hackers who are out to steal your bank information. Just to be safe, use secure connections – HTTPS. You’ll never know the wily predators who man those supposedly ‘harmless’ websites. Online forums are replete with stories of people who got scammed online, losing thousands in the process.
When money gets electronic, the robbing becomes electronic too! People still get robbed. . .big time. (Without the robber getting off his ass and at the comfort of his own bed.)
Now that I think about it, this internet banking thing really gives me the creeps!
Diana Lutgarda P. Bonilla, Entry #4