If you are among those who are not tech-savvy or prefer to avoid online banking due to security reasons, now is the time to shed that hesitation. The post-covid-19 world will take social distancing far more seriously and digital transaction will become the need of the hour.
Many don’t use online banking due to security concerns. But there are ways you can work around it. There are payments and small finance banks that are now allowing individuals to open savings accounts sitting at home, using Aadhaar for KYC (know your customer) norms. Open a new account, transfer a small amount to it and use digital banking to get familiar with the concept. Once you feel confident, you can shift to your primary account.
Remember that most digital banking services, including money transfers, are free. Last month, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman also provided some relief to individuals for banking services. Banks will not levy any charges or penalties if customers are unable to maintain the average monthly or quarterly balance in their bank accounts.
“Customers can avail of 250-plus features on digital platforms (internet banking and mobile app). They can change their address, order a cheque book, update their KYC, among others. They can even apply for a new credit card, loans, invest their money in fixed deposits or mutual funds using digital platforms," said Sameer Shetty, head, digital banking, Axis Bank.
Until about a year ago, many banks, especially public sector ones, required customers to visit their branches to activate internet banking. But now you can do so sitting at home. Here’s the common procedure that most banks follow to activate internet banking.
Go to the internet banking website of the bank and click on the “new user" option. You will be taken through an authentication process using your customer ID and account number. The customer ID is mentioned in all banking communications, including your cheque book and passbook. Most banks send an OTP (one-time password) on the registered mobile number. You will also need to key in your debit card number and its PIN (personal identification number). This is a one-time process. You can then set a password to start using internet banking.
Precautions to take
Ensure that the bank’s website is the right one. The URL should start with “https", not “http". It means the website has the required security installed. Fake websites don’t have the address starting with “https".
When downloading the mobile banking app, make sure the app developer is your respective bank. Read the comments to ensure the app is from your bank.
All banking transactions should be done on your home WiFi or mobile phone data. Never use public WiFi.
Use this lockdown as an opportunity to get used to digital banking as it is the future.