Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Visa’s tips on Internet banking

By Abigail Kwok

With the advent of the Internet, consumers can do just about anything without leaving the comforts of their own home. Some of these include paying bills, shopping, and Internet banking. Almost every bank now offers online banking, allowing its customers to do their transactions with just a few clicks.

Internet banking has several advantages. Not only does it save consumers a lot of time, but they will also be free from any miscellaneous fees or charges usually imposed upon when they go through ATMs. With Internet banking, balance inquiries and bills payments are rendered free of charge.

Through Internet banking, one enjoys the ease of automating their financial transactions. Some of these are:

• Automatic Bill Pay -- you can arrange with your bank to automatically pay some of your bills through online banking. Many banks are offering this feature and some even offer freebies and discounts when you apply with their online bills payment
program. Although this is of convenience, you should also be careful especially if your cash flow is sporadic. If so, then you can face penalties for lack of available funds.
• Automatic Transfer -- online banking allows customers to transfer money from their checking accounts to either their savings account or investment fund. This is very easy to do and all you have to do is contact your local branch to find out how.
• Automate Your Records -- with online banking, you can easily update your financial records and balance your checkbook in just easy steps.
• Bank From Anywhere -- because you no longer have to step out of your own home, online banking is very easy. Managing your accounts and paying your bills is easy and you can do it even when in your pajamas. You can even do it when you’re in another country as long as you have an Internet connection.

One of the dangers, however, posed by online banking is identity theft. This happens when your personal financial information gets into the wrong hands, which can lead to devastating results. Below are some steps to avoid falling victim to identity theft:

• Practice Safe Internet Use -- always delete spam emails that ask for your personal information, and always keep your anti-virus and anti-spyware software up-to-date. When shopping online, go only for those with secure web pages (check the bottom of your browser for an image of a lock or look for “https” in the address bar). Do not send credit card numbers and other personal information via email.
• Destroy Private Records -- tear up or shred credit card statements; ATM, credit, or debit card receipts; bank deposit receipts; loan solicitations; and other documents that contain private financial information.
• Beware of Scams -- Always be on the defensive with your private information. Never give out personal information to telemarketers or respond to emails from someone claiming to represent your bank, credit card company, a government agency, a charity, or other organization. If you think the request is legitimate, contact the company directly to confirm their claims.

Visa believes that one of the most important financial tools is not a product but knowledge. That is why Visa has been developing financial literacy programs that teach individuals how to spend, save and budget responsibly. In 2009 Visa committed to reach 20 million people worldwide with financial education by 2013.

Visa launched this year's financial literacy program through a FIFA Financial Football game to complement Visa's sponsorship of the FIFA World Cup 2010. The interactive and educational game ( allows players to gain financial knowledge and put their money management know-how to the test.