Magazine article American Banker

Weekly Advisers: Offering Internet Convenience without the Internet

Magazine article American Banker

Weekly Advisers: Offering Internet Convenience without the Internet

Article excerpt

No one can be involved in banking today without giving serious attention to the role of the Internet.

I know several top bankers who privately say that the Internet will probably have little effect on their institutions but who nevertheless have established Web sites and are offering as much computer-initiated banking as anyone.

Why? It is a sign they are up-to-date. If they do not offer Internet service, customers may wonder what else they neglected.

But even community banks that are not quite ready to go on the Web can take some steps to provide the convenience of Web banking.

Consider the services that other banks offer on the Web. Consider whether you can't be provided in another way. Also, consider whether they are really worth providing.

Internet banking articles talk about eliminating the snail-mailing of bills, the writing of check to cover them, and customer worries about late payments and late charges.

Is this new?

A quarter-century ago, banks and thrifts were offering automatic bill paying over the phone.

A second alternative to Web bill payment is direct debit, which in my area is called ZipCheck.

I have six bills a month, for utilities and phone service, that still come in just as they used to except that now I don't have to respond. With ZipCheck I look them over and make sure I'm satisfied, and then I just keep track of the date when the money will be removed from my account.

That's it. …

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