Are You Online Banking Yet? Here Are a Few Reasons Why You Should

Do you remember when the internet started and most of us were apprehensive about doing little things on the web like publishing photos of ourselves or shopping online? Back then the concept of sharing where you are and what you're eating would have been preposterous. And banking online? Insane. We Foursquare, Instagram, and some of us even bank almost exclusively online. I'm one of those people and today I'll share three online banking service I've used and highlight services/features that brick-and-mortar banks aren't offering...

Schwab Bank
This is a bank I've personally used for years, and there are several reasons I'm a satisfied and loyal customer. Most important are reimbursed ATM fees and solid customer service. When I first got my Schwab online account they were one of the first banks to offer total reimbursement on all ATM fees. This means I can go to any ATM nationwide, no matter which service or bank affiliation, use my debit card, and accept the transaction fees with complete disregard — because they'll get reimbursed to me automatically every month. No questions asked, no hassle, automatic for the people. There are a few other online banks that extend this same courtesy and it may very well be the best reason for going to an online-only bank. The freedom and peace of mind of no-fee ATM transactions can't be underestimated.

The next important feature is customer service, and quite frankly Schwab offers the best telephone customer service I've encountered anywhere. Period. I never have to wait long for a representative even during peak hours and I always get a well-spoken, highly-educated individual that solves my inquiry without confusion. You always hang up wishing every customer service experience was like it.

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Choose because:
• ATM fees reimbursed from every ATM nationwide
• Exceptional customer support

Other Features
• No minimum opening deposit
• Electronic Check Deposit through iPhone app (you simply take a picture, submit and you're done)
• Interest on Checking (as of 10/26/2012): 0.15%
• Interest on Savings (as of 10/26/2012): 0.25%

Ally
Ally is another online-only bank that offers similar features to Schwab. You've probably laughed at some of their humorous commercials without realizing some of their great offerings. Their model is to provide competitive rates and some of the best terms on CD's by cutting out the expense associated with maintaining physical locations.

Like Schwab they provide a debit card you can use at any ATM nationwide, and they'll automatically reimburse all transaction fees each month. Their interest rates are usually ranked among the highest for checking, savings, and CD's (which have a unique no penalty feature that lets you withdraw in a time of need worry-free).

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Choose because:
• ATM fees reimbursed from every ATM nationwide
• History of offering some of the highest interest rates on Checking, Savings, and CD's

Other Features:
• No minimum opening deposit
• Electronic Check Deposit through scanner and computer (iPhone app coming soon)
• Interest on Checking (as of 10/26/2012): 0.40%
• Interest on Savings (as of 10/26/2012): 0.95%
• No-Penalty CD: 0.95% (withdraw at any time with no fees)

Simple
Simple is an online bank with a great concept that merges a debit card with the other thing you carry in your pocket, your smartphone. Every swipe of the card generates an online reciept of the transaction on your iPhone almost real-time. The iPhone app these transactions are populated into let you jot down notes and assign categories so its easy to track spending, and set budgets / goals. The interface is clean and well, simple, and there are also great tools for sending money to friends and paying bills.

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Choose because:
• Almost real-time transaction receipts
• Embedded category and spending tracking tools

Other Features:
• Allpoint ATM Network (transaction fees incurred at Allpoint network ATMs are reimbursed at the end of each month)
• Customer service messaging support available through web and mobile app
• Electronic Check Deposit (through iPhone app coming soon)
• Invitation only for now (request one here)

If you're considering one of these online options you may be asking yourself "where do I deposit my cash?" Good question. Luckily nowadays cash transactions are so few and far between I don't even worry about it. When the occasion does arise however, I have kept my local bank account open. I just don't keep much money on balance, choosing instead to offset my funds to these online banks with higher interest and more features.

(Images: 1.Shutterstock, 2.Schwab 3.Ally 4.Simple)

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