The advances in technology over the past decade mean that taking hours out of our busy schedules to carry out banking are gone.
Until recently, consumers were forced to traipse down to their branch, often forgoing their lunch hours or valuable weekend time, to carry out the simplest of transactions, such as transferring money or paying a bill.
Online banking solves a number of these problems, as it is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, meaning a balance transfer to your son in Australia late on Christmas Eve is no longer the impossibility it once was.
While telephone banking is a decent alternative, using it leaves you at the mercy of tariffs that are often expensive.
By banking online, you will be able to set up a number of direct debits to pay bills, meaning you can rest easy in the knowledge that what you owe will leave your account when it suits you, i.e. when you've been paid.
For those who have trouble keeping up with their ingoings and outgoings, internet banking could help immensely, as keeping abreast of balances, direct debits and other payments is only a click away.
Banking online could also prove handy if you run your own business, or have a particularly expensive son or daughter that are about to go to University!
Carrying out your day-to-day banking online will not mean that you will never have to visit your branch again.
Applying for a mortgage or other financial products will often mean one or more face-to-face meetings, but for your more basic business, internet banking could save you time and money.
Understandably, people will worry about how secure their money is, especially in what is a relatively new environment.
However, banks have spent millions of pounds to ensure their sites are as safe as possible, with encryption devices and firewalls galore.
Even so, you should ensure that your computer has up-to-date security software before you begin banking online.
For peace of mind, there are a number of accounts that offer security features as standard.
The Barclays Basic Bank Account, Barclays Current Account Plus and Barclays Additions Active all offer free online banking using a PINsentry system. The hand-held device works with your card and PIN to generate a one-time eight-digit code to use online.
The Nationwide Flex Account is also worth a look of you're thinking of banking on the internet. It also comes with a card reader, which works in conjunction with anti-virus and firewall software.
It also comes with the promise that in the unlikely event of money been taken from your account, a refund will be given.
The Santander Preferred In-Credit Rate Current Account and the bank's Basic Bank Account are also covered by a number of security features and a promise that any funds fraudulently stolen will be returned.
If your computer does not currently have up-to-date security software, the HSBC Basic Bank Account offers free McAfee software for a year once you have registered for online banking.
Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
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