The world of the internet has taken over almost everything we do.

From work to our schedules to Alexa switching our lights on and off – it’s all around us and without it, we probably wouldn’t know what to do.

The internet has also infiltrated one of our most private spheres – the world of personal banking.

Nowadays, we find a number of financial players on the market which don’t have physical branches where you can interact with personnel. 

These are known as neo banks or online banks.

In this blog post, we’ll talk about some of the advantages and disadvantages of opting for an online bank so that you can make more informed decisions going forward.

Advantages

1. Monitor your account

The beauty of banking at an online bank is that you can monitor your account in real-time.

Gone are the days of accountants tallying up every penny and pound. Today, your accounting is fully automated.

This means you can see your account and statements in real-time. 

And the best part is that they are simple to open and easy to operate.

2. Real-time transactions anytime, anywhere

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got a smartphone, a tablet or you’re working on your desktop computer.

Doing your banking at an online bank has been tailor made to suit and work across any device.

This means you can carry your personal finances with you wherever you go and opening your account and managing it is simple and can be done at a touch of a button. 

3. More services available

Another wonderful aspect of working with an online bank is that you can also have more banking options available to you.

Want to start investing? You’ve got investment options.

Want to take out a loan? 

It’s simple to do this online these days with just a few easy clicks, where you’re required to enter some data that is automatically processed before your loan or overdraft facility is approved. 

4. Increased convenience


All of the above factors combine into one main benefit.

It’s much more convenient to bank at an online bank than it is to go to a physical branch and speak to a teller or cashier. 

Online banks, by their very nature, have made even complex operations easy to handle, so that you can have increased peace of mind. 

5. Low fees and payout of higher rates

Most online banks these days usually cost very little. 

For a small monthly sum which is debited from your account, you can continue operating your finances and managing them whichever way you choose – all at a low cost.

This is likely due to the fact that the expenses of keeping a physical branch open are much higher than offering a service online. 

What’s more is that some online banks offer to pay you out higher rates on your savings or debit accounts, which means you can ultimately save more.

6. Get the help you need 24/7 

Another aspect on the plus side is that you no longer need to wait for a business day to come around.

With call centre representatives and chat bots, you’re likely to be able to reach a customer support member of staff 24/7. 

This improves the service’s attractiveness and you can get the help you need around the clock.

Disadvantages

1. An internet connection is required

As great as internet banking with an online bank can be, there is one drawback.

You need an internet connection in order to be able to use it.

This means that there might be some disenfranchised groups of the population who are incapable of doing so, leaving them to queue at a physical branch to do their banking. 

2. Some technological know-how is needed

In addition to having an internet connection, you also need to know how to use online banking that is offered by your online bank.

While it might be intuitive for the generations that have grown up with the internet all around them, not everyone is as tech-savvy as this group of individuals.

Which button should you press? Where do you go from here?

As much as online banks are made to be user friendly and intuitive, some people might just not be able to use the technology that’s available to them. 

3. Annoying marketing

Another downside to online banks is the issue of marketing.

We all get the dreaded promotional messages from time to time, and in most cases we consider it spam.

However, when opting for an online banking service, we are usually required to tick that box which says you’d like to receive marketing materials.

In some cases, you can opt out of it afterwards, but it’s simply not pleasant to deal with yet another piece of information that you might just find not useful. 

4. Security and fraud

Security with an online bank is another major point that has to be considered.

For starters, you’ll need to remember your passwords, account numbers and login details.

Then, there’s the issue of the bank’s server when this fails. 

You’ll have to wait until it is restored and back up and running.

Finally, if you use more than one device, your personal information will be spread out over several devices, increasing your risk of getting hacked. 

5. No personal relationships

The absence of personal relationships which we previously enjoyed with our friendly bank representatives are no longer available with an online bank.

Most tasks have been automated, with the use of chat bots or call centres to take care of your queries.

That warmth and friendliness, the human touch essentially, is no longer there.

6. Dealing with cash can be problematic

As a final con to doing your banking at an online bank, dealing with cash can be problematic at times. 

It will usually mean that you will need to find ATMs that allow for cash deposits, as there’s no physical branch to visit where you can deposit cash. 

Conclusion

Signing up with an online bank can save you a lot of time, hassles and money when doing your banking.

It’s available across multiple devices and can really be a major source of convenience.

However, it isn’t all a bed of roses and you should be aware of the downsides, too.

In this blog post, we’ve tried to show you both sides of the coin of doing your finances at an online bank. 

With this information, we hope that you will be able to make more informed decisions and bank better and safer at online-only banks going forward.