Mind On My Money and My Money Online

Lucky for you, thanks to the wonderful technologies of the 21st century, there is something you can do to keep your eyes in your head…at least until another cutie walks by.

Welcome to the world of online banking, which a third of Americans use to manage their money now.  Online banking gives customers the opportunity to access and manage their account through a private, bank-secured website.  All you need to do is sign up for it at the local branch of your bank.  You’ll either create or be issued a user ID and pin number to access your account and, “BAM!” (thanks, NeNe), you’re ready to go.

Once you’re all signed up, you can quickly reap the benefits, now being able to monitor and impact the daily activity of your checking and savings accounts online, so it’s easier to keep up with transactions.  You’ll see what charges are pending and what deposits are cleared – all of which will help you avoid overdraft fees (that are as costly as they are irritating) and fees stemming from using foreign ATMs (that are often infuriating ­- see Where Da Cash At?).

Online banking is also more efficient – allowing you the ability to manage assets like CDs and IRAs, and pay bills, too. You can also transfer money between accounts and in some cases, send money to people who use different banking institutions.  And you can do all of this, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at much faster processing speeds than any ATM or bank teller.

For those looking to save a lil’ more, there are banking services offered solely online. Banks like ING Direct usually offer higher interest rates, lower fees, and often no minimum deposits, all giving you a bigger bang for your buck.

Online banking helps banks too, bringing them new customers and saving them money by eliminating expensive paper costs.  With free checking on its way out, this is definitely a worthy alternative to traditional banking (no offense, RUSH card).  And really, we should all be pushing to help save the trees. BP has put Captain Planet on antidepressants. Let’s all give him a reason to smile again.  Even if that means making the US Post Office frown by cutting costs on postage (Kanye shrug).

Naturally, there are some disadvantages to keep in mind.  Initially, it may take some time to learn how to properly navigate a bank’s site.  Be sure to take the virtual tour and check emails they send to keep abreast of the site’s functions.

There is also the issue of privacy.  If you access your account on a public computer, be certain there is a lock & key at the bottom right side of your browser or “https” in the address bar.  Moreover, make sure you log out before leaving the computer, don’t help criminals rob you.  That would suck more than the speech that Jimmy McMillan from The Rent Is Too Damn High Party gave.

To be safe, we advise you to compare your actual store receipts with the charges that appear on your account online.  Mistakes do happen, and so does fraudulent activity. You don’t want anybody using your change to make it rain in Spain.

We know how much you love standing in long lines to talk with tellers who would likely rather be dancing on tables at happy hour than deal with customers who dance on their last nerves. So, why not avoid all of that and opt for dancing in your underwear in front of your mirror, while banking from your home?  We would. U DEFINE SUCCESS