As the Internet grows and becomes more robust it’s becoming easier and easier to do the majority of your daily tasks from the comfort of your own home or even on your smartphone on the go. This has even gone so far as there are no completely online banks that don’t have any brick-and-mortar storefronts anywhere. With banks adding more online features and businesses automating billing and payments it might seem like there really aren’t many reasons you’d want to go into a brick-and-mortar bank location. If you are thinking that joining an online bank might be the right solution for you take a second look and understand the risks and rewards by reading on below to make sure it’s the right decision for you.
Do you rack up bank fees frequently? If so, online banking might make things worse
If you happen to be one of us who tend to rack up an occasional overdraft fee, or maybe a lot of overdraft fees, then you need to think hard about whether online banking is right for you. One of the benefits of online banking is that they keep their overhead costs down by not having physical branches for you to walk into, but this could work against you if you are prone to fees. Many times you can simply walk into a branch and ask to negotiate lower fees or have some fees forgiven and banks will be willing to work with you. Being able to get to know employees by having regular face-to-face interaction might be worth hundreds of dollars if you can get somebody on your side to help you with your fee problems.
Just like with fees, if you have a working relationship with bank employees that you have frequent face-to-face interactions you can use your relationships to your advantage if you are going to need a loan. Online only banks don’t give you the opportunity to get to know bank employees and all they have to go on for your loan application is the information you have provided and your credit scores. In the situation that the bank is on the fence about giving you a loan based on your application, it is immensely valuable to have a friendly bank employee who knows you to go to bat and recommend they push the loan forward. Compare this scenario to an online bank and you may submit your application online, then talk to a representative in Utah, who has to ask their supervisor in Florida about loan rates, who has to run your special situation to the underwriters in Arizona and by the time you get off the phone you still have no idea if your file is representing you correctly for your loan application.
Investing advice, college planning, and the value of professionals
There is a huge amount of information available online, in finance blogs, or financial magazines that can help to educate you on the different products available for many different situations. The problem with self educating about different financial products is that there are so many of them that might be a good fit for you, but might not be the best fit for you. Knowing that you can walk into a bank and sit down with a trained financial professional is very valuable, and is a benefit you have available to you as a customer of a bank that has storefront locations. These financial professionals can look at your specific needs and your entire financial picture to determine the range of products that will meet your needs the best and can even help you find the best prices on these products. Many times customers may not even know they have a financial need that isn’t being addressed until they talk to a financial professional who is trained to spot these issues. While you may have the ability to call and speak to somebody but without being able to share documents, and relay in person the needs you actually have they may not be able to give you the advice you need.