3 pitfalls of using an online bank


When it comes to opening a check or savings account, you have the choice. You can use a brick and mortar bank, or you can use a online bank.

Online banking certainly has their advantages. On the one hand, they don’t have the same amount of overheads as physical banks, so they can often offer better rates on savings accounts and certificates of deposit (CD). And they tend to charge lower fees for the same reason. Plus, many online banks offer great customer service, in part to compensate for not giving you the same personal touch that physical banks do.

But if you are considering opening an online bank account, you might run into your share of hiccups. Here are three drawbacks you should be aware of.

1. Technological problems could prevent you from accessing your money

Websites crash all the time. But if your banking website is down when you need to make a transaction, you won’t have the option of just going to a branch and doing your banking in person instead. On the contrary, you will be at the mercy of the technicians responsible for solving the breakdowns and putting your bank’s site back into service.

2. You cannot make cash deposits

You can go to a physical bank with a cash envelope and deposit that money into your account. This is not the case with an online banking. And that could be a problem if you tend to get your hands on a lot of money.

Say you have a lateral restlessness like babysitting or dog walking where your clients frequently give you cash payments. Or let’s say you work as a waiter in a restaurant and receive most of your salary in cash tips. In these cases, online banking is unlikely to serve you very well.

3. You cannot use the peripheral services that you want

When you have an account in a physical bank, you often have access to a variety of services that can prove useful. For example, physical banks often have a notary whose services are free to account holders. Online banking doesn’t provide you with these side benefits, and while you may not need these services regularly, they can come in handy on occasion.

Is online banking right for you?

While there are many good reasons to use a online bank, you might run into pitfalls if you only open an account in an online bank and not in a physical bank. You can consider opening an online savings account or CD to take advantage of the best rates that online banks tend to have. But you might also want to keep a separate checking account at a physical bank in your neighborhood (or other convenient location) that you can link your account to online. This will give you the best of both worlds and help you overcome the above limitations.

A safe haven for your money

In times of uncertainty, it’s a good idea to make sure your money is safe. But many Americans miss an opportunity to protect their money and miss out on guaranteed returns as their money languishes in a big savings bank account.

You can rest in peace by putting your money in one of the best online savings accounts where your money is insured by the FDIC. Best of all, The Ascent’s best online savings accounts earn 8 times more interest than the national average.

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We strongly believe in the Golden Rule, which is why the editorial opinions are our own and have not been previously reviewed, endorsed or endorsed by the advertisers included. The Ascent does not cover all the offers on the market. The editorial content of The Ascent is separate from the editorial content of The Motley Fool and is created by a different team of analysts. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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About Eleanor Blackburn

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