Your Money & The Internet

Internet/PC Banking FAQs

Internet/PC Banking FAQs – Answers

Why do customers choose PC or Internet banking rather than traditional banking methods?
Banking from your PC or over the Internet is:

  • Convenient – you can conduct your banking affairs when you want to – any time, day or night. This allows you to pay bills, set up and amend standing orders and make transfers whenever it suits you.
  • Time-saving – you don’t need to visit your branch to carry out your banking business.
  • Easy and quick – you can manage your money more easily, transfer excess funds into high-interest savings accounts or switch money from your savings account to avoid overdraft charges on your current account.
  • Reassuring – with most systems you can easily confirm whether the cheque you paid into your account has cleared.
  • Profitable – many direct banking packages link into proprietary spreadsheets so that you can forecast your finances, plan ahead and improve your money management.

What is the difference between PC banking and Internet banking?
PC banking is conducted from your PC using a modem and special software supplied by your bank. Internet banking can be carried on anywhere using any PC with an Internet connection and your password. Some banks offer one or the other, others offer both.

What can I do from my PC or over the Internet?
It depends on what your bank offers, but typically it would be some or all of the following:

  • pay bills;
  • transfer money between accounts;
  • look at statements;
  • adjust standing orders and order statements/cheque books, etc.;
  • apply for loans or credit cards and open savings accounts;
  • arrange insurance and other additional services;
  • access information on accounts, services and interest rates.

How safe is my money and personal data?
The banking industry continually invests in developing and implementing enhanced security measures, including the variety of checks needed to establish that instructions are genuine before authorising payment. Keeping customers’ money and information secure has always been a central part of the banking industry’s responsibility. Provided you keep your password confidential and ensure others cannot observe your PC screen when you sign on, the safety of the system is comparable to the high standards of other direct service channels.

Are there any precautions I should take if I share a computer with others?
If you use your account on a computer which is shared with other people (whether at home or at the office) you could:

  • protect your security by clearing your browser’s cache when you exit;
  • consider disabling your browser’s ability to remember password and user names, if it has such an ability, in order to ensure an appropriate level of security;
  • NEVER store your password on your computer’s hard disk;
  • consider setting up separate access accounts if your computer supports it.

Is PC/Internet banking free?
This depends on the bank. The majority of services are free; on some there is a small annual fee. Using the Internet carries the usual phone charges.

I understand how you can set up standing orders through PC or Internet banking, but a direct debit or recurring transaction has to be originated by the company I am paying. How can I do this through Internet banking?
You need to provide written or telephone instructions to the company you are paying to set up a direct debit or recurring transaction. Although you can’t use the Internet to set up these transactions, you can review the arrangements you have made from your PC or Internet banking service.

How can I make a payment to someone through Internet/PC banking?
The screen typically prompts you to say which account you wish to credit, with how much on what date etc. So you need to know the account number and branch sort code of whoever you are paying – this information is often shown on the bill you may be responding to. Typically the screen will also show you your account balance so you know how much money you have available.

If I want to pay a bill through Internet banking, how quickly will the billing organisation receive the funds?
It will take three to five working days.

If I want to pay, for instance, a gas bill through Internet banking, how quickly will the utility company receive the funds?
It will take three to five working days.

How do I get started on Internet banking? Can I just access the bank’s website and sign on or do I have to ask my bank first?
Methods vary according to the bank. Go to your bank’s website: if they offer Internet and/or PC banking there will be clear instructions telling you how to sign on. This website lists banks which offer PC/internet banking if you wish to shop around. The websites of most of these banks have demonstrations so you can see on your screen how this type of banking works in practice.

What will banking be like in the future?
There will be even more choice than there is now. The options are likely to be branch, telephone, PC, Internet, and mobile phone facilities. With people leading increasingly busy lives many value delivery channels which fit in with their lifestyles – so if you can sort out your banking needs at your PC at lunchtime, or make a quick phone call from home when it suits you, you are likely to welcome this diversity. Some banks are currently trialing banking via interactive television and palm-top organisers.

What if a computer system crashes? Will my money be safe?
Yes, in just the same way as it is if you use any other form of banking. It is possible that if your computer crashes the transaction on which you were working may not be completed. In this case it would be sensible to contact the bank by phone to check the status of the transaction.

Will the bank keep my personal details confidential? How can I be sure that I won’t be flooded with junk e-mail (or ‘spam’)?
The Banking Code requires banks to treat all your personal information as private and confidential. It also states that unless you specifically request it, or give your express consent, banks will not pass your details to any company (including other companies in their group) for marketing purposes.

Is shopping on the Internet safe?
As the Office of Fair Trading says “Your shopping experience should be no more risky than buying by mail order or on the phone, but you need to be aware of possible dangers and should take certain precautions to make shopping on the Internet safe.” This leaflet should help you to know what those precautions are.

How can I tell that the business I want to deal with on the Internet is genuine, by looking at their website?
The vast majority of businesses operating on the Internet are genuine. However, criminals can set up websites masquerading as businesses in order to obtain card details. You should keep a record of the business’s street address and a non-mobile phone number, and cross-check the details in a telephone directory, to help verify it is a legitimate business. A separate but vital recommendation is that you only give your card details to organisations which encrypt transaction data. You can tell whether an organisation uses encryption by clicking on the security icon on your browser – this will show whether it has an encryption certificate and what level of security is used. Also note that a certificate does not vouch for the integrity of the company to which it is issued, it only ensures that the connection between you and that organisation is secure.

The ‘Your Money and the Internet’ document is reproduced with the permission of BBA Enterprises Ltd. Copyright of this material remains with BBA Enterprises Ltd.

All rights reserved. © BBA Enterprises Ltd 2003-2013

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