The emergence of new technologies has turned banking into a round-the-clock business. Automated teller machines (ATMs) now make it possible for you to do much of your banking whenever you choose . ATMs are computers that are much like limited-service bank branches. You can use them to make a withdrawal, make a deposit, make a loan payment, transfer money from one account to another, or check your account balance. In many cases, automated teller machines of different banks are linked together in networks so you can use them when you travel to a different town, another state, or even another country. All you need is a plastic card from your bank and your own password.
Another electronic banking service available today is direct deposit. This service makes it possible for you to have your money electronically added to your checking account every payday. Instead of receiving a paycheck, you receive a statement that tells you your money has been deposited in your account. Direct deposit is popular among people who receive Social Security checks or pension checks because it saves them the trouble of travelling to the bank to deposit them in person.
Electronic funds transfer (EFT) is a service that allows a bank to transfer large amounts of money to another bank by sending an electronic message. Electronic transfers take only an instant. An electronic message instructs a computer to deduct a certain amount of money from one bank account and then add the same amount to another bank account. The message is sent, and the appropriate amount is transferred. No cash or paper changes hands, but money is transferred just the same.
Possibly the most popular advance in banking through the use of technology is online banking. The emergence of online banking has ushered in a new era of convenience and security in managing money. The service is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day. The system gives you the freedom to choose your own banking hours, giving you greater control of your finances. It's secure, fast, and easy to use. Online banking allows you to check your balance, pay your bills, view statements, transfer funds, view transaction history, and much more. Online banking services include:
Banks have found online banking so much cheaper than traditional in-bank methods that some have encouraged depositors and other customers to bank from home or via machines by charging them fees for the privilege of talking to a teller! Some banks are completely virtual and have no physical branches. So-called click-and-mortar, or hybrid, banks appear more viable than completely virtual banks at present.
Further technological advances have led to the creation of automated banking machines (ABMs). ABMs are combinations of ATMs, web sites, and dedicated customer service telephone lines that allow customers to make deposits, transfer funds between accounts, or engage in even more sophisticated banking transactions without stepping foot in the bank.