Online Banking: What You Should Know

(NAPSI)-Only 15 years ago, the world of personal money management changed forever with the introduction of online banking.

Today, with high-speed Internet access common and mobile phones even more so, people not only appreciate but demand the ability to bank "anytime, anywhere."

While it's possible to simply check your balance online or transfer money--among the first two services offered--today, most banks offer a wider variety of services.

Here are a few that may save you time and money and help the environment:

Budget: If you have trouble making ends meet each month--or if you want to get a better handle on what's coming in and where it's going--try online budgeting.

Many banks also offer the option to track your spending automatically with a tool such as Wells Fargo's My Spending Report.

Save: It's now possible to set up an automatic savings plan online to help meet a specific goal like a down payment, or a long-term objective like retirement.

Spend: Online bill-pay services enable you to pay bills quickly, cheaply and securely. And newer services such as person-to-person payments let you easily transfer money, making it more convenient to split the check at lunch or to pay your babysitter.

Go: New mobile banking services allow you to do all your banking on the go, and the newest--text banking, offered by some banks--don't even require that you sign up online first!

The technological innovations that have revolutionized the way people manage their personal finances have changed small-business banking as well.

Jennifer Hogan owns a successful women's accessories company called Toss Designs (www.tossdesigns.com) and once spent hours each month at the bank sending wire transfers and reconciling accounts.

"I thought the technology that allowed me to bank over the phone was amazing, but now we do everything online with Wells Fargo, which is even more amazing--I save at least 10 hours a week," she said.

The ability to manage invoicing and receivables online can speed up payment and maximize cash flow.

Whether you're an individual or own a small business, if you haven't tried online banking in a while, it may be time to take another look. Today's online banking is faster, cheaper, greener and more secure than ever before.