Consumer Banking – Then and Now

Traditional banking for decades required a person to go into a bank institution and apply for permission to open a bank account. The bank management would review the applicant’s background, employment, and credit information before approval was granted. Then the account-holder would deposit his funds and continue to do so, earning the favor of the bank for additional benefits as his assets grew.

Modern Banking

Today, banking has evolved into a multi-platform affair. While the traditional bank model still exists for the masses, flexible options for online bank accounts have grown popular over the Internet that didn’t exist ten years ago.

Internet banking is stable, reliable, and far cheaper than brick-and-mortar banking. An account holder can save funds as well as operate a checking account. In addition, many institutions running such websites also offer user-created certificates of deposit, linkage to stock brokerage accounts, and retirement accounts such as Roth IRAs.

The ability to accept credit card payments is also now commonplace. Individuals can take electronic payment via Internet websites specifically designed to charge credit cards of other parties upon their approval. The monies are then held for the account holder until he decides to transfer them to his home bank.

Faster Information

Additionally, account holders can see their banking activity in real time. In the old days a person would have to wait until the monthly statement arrived. He would then have to reconcile his checkbook to the bank statement to make sure no transactions were missed. Many people would purposefully keep a buffer in their check account just to make sure they were never overdrawn. Today, electronic access allows account holders to download their activity from the current day and before, allowing daily reconciliation and balancing.

Risks

With all the electronic benefits, however, come greater risks. Use of passwords provides some protection, but hackers use programs to either get account holders to give up the access information unwittingly or they get the data via hacking files with the information on them. As a result, the possibility of being a victim of bank theft is far greater today than it was thirty years ago. This requires a greater amount of attention and monitoring by account holders of their information and accounts.

The Near Future

Two trends will likely become widespread over the next decade for banking. Those include swipe or tap banking, where a person just needs to wave a device to perform a financial transaction, and mobile device banking. Both technologies are in their infancy but consumers are already beginning to use them. As mobile devices continue to proliferate into daily life, people will be increasingly reliant on electronic banking tools for just about every financial transaction a consumer will likely need.