Some people have asked if bank branches still matter today in the face of fast growing digital/Internet banking. Almost all banking transactions can now be done online, many thanks to Internet and digital banking.
However, bankers have told us that bank branches still matter today.
Online banks and online banking have changed the way we bank (for the better), and some people live entirely without a brick-and-mortar bank account. They earn more money, pay less in fees, and enjoy the convenience of banking from their computer or mobile device.
However, you might not want to ditch the bank (or microfinance bank) branch just yet. Although they may seem old-fashioned, they offer several valuable services that you only miss when you can’t have them.
Does this mean you should close your Internet-only accounts? No way. If you don’t have Internet banking, you are missing out. Also, if you don’t have an online savings account (not to mention current account) you’re also missing out.
According to www.thebalance.com, here are six things your Internet banking or online bank can’t offer. This means that you can only do them at a bank branch. This means bank branches still matter today.
Instant cheque payments or bank draft
Do you need to make a purchase? There are times a card (or personal cheque) just won’t do? For some transactions – like home purchases and certain types of deposits – you will need “cleared” funds. That usually means you’ll need to bring a cheque, wire money, or provide a bank draft to whoever you’re paying.
Some online banks offer cheque – but you don’t get same-day service. You will need to order the cheque online and then wait a few days for the mail (or pay a modest fee for overnight service).
In some cases, you won’t even know exactly how much the cheque should be for until a day or two before your transaction. It’s nice to have the flexibility to change things without tying up your funds.
If you’re on the hunt to rent that perfect apartment or making last-minute negotiations on a home purchase, instant access is a must.
Unlimited cash withdrawals
You probably don’t often need a large amount of cash – but when you do, it’s nice to have the option. Suppose you want to buy a used car on short notice.
It won’t be easy to get everything you need from the Automated Teller Machine. There are ways to get large amounts of cash from online bank accounts, but it takes a bit of legwork.
If you’ve got an account with a brick-and-mortar bank or microfinance bank, getting cash is as easy as filling out a withdrawal slip at the branch. As a bonus, you can also get cash back into your account quickly and easily – so you don’t need to keep unsafe (or tempting) stashes of cash around any longer than necessary.
Safe deposit boxes
Do you have small valuables and no good place to keep them? Are you concerned about what would happen to your files if your house catches fire?
A safe deposit box is a great place to store important documents and small valuables. Instead of reinventing the wheel and creating an ultra-secure (fireproof, theft-resistant, water-resistant) location in your house, let the experts handle it. Banks will store your items at a very low cost, and you just need to get to the branch during banking hours to retrieve your items.
There are documents that you might have, but rarely need. Some of these documents could include birth certificates, copies or originals of certain agreements, and more. If they are just an accident waiting to happen, why not put them in a facility that can do a good job of keeping them safe?
The only drawback of safe deposit boxes is that you might need something when the bank is closed. To avoid problems, don’t put anything in there that you might need on short notice, such as passports and medical care directives.
A place for your coins/notes
What are you supposed to do with all of those coins or bank notes that end up in your coin jar? In Nigeria, coins are no more in use. How about if you happen to have plenty cash at home beyond what you can deposit via the ATM. It’s worth putting them into a form that’s easy to use – whether you spend the money or use it for savings.
If you only have online bank accounts, shipping your cash isn’t feasible (and it’s probably not even allowed). You could pay to have it counted at a machine in the grocery store, but plenty of banks and microfinance banks still accept notes as deposits without taking a chunk of your savings.
Some agreements need to be notarised. That means a Notary Public needs to verify your identity and watch you sign the document. This ensures that it was really you who signed the document, and that you did so willingly (among other things).
By definition, an online bank or online banking can’t really offer this in-person service. But many banks and microfinance banks do – often for free (at least one or two signatures might be free, but you’ll pay a fee if you’ve got a pile of papers).
As with many services at brick-and-mortar branches, getting a document notarised isn’t something you need every day. But it is extremely important on those occasions when you do need it. Alternatively, you could find a local (or mobile) Notary Public to handle any one-off signatures.
We live in a virtual world, and many tasks are easier to accomplish online. Going to handle a simple transaction in-person is tedious and often a major inconvenience.
That said, there are times when it’s nice to sit down with somebody face to face. Communication over the phone or Internet isn’t always clear, and sometimes it’s just better (and faster) to talk and point at things than to type out questions and answers.