Open thread here: what did you do before online banking?
This might sound like a silly question, but for as long as I've been managing my money, I've been banking online. I honestly don't know life without it.
But you might.
How did you manage your money before you had access to the Internet? Did you use software like Quicken, or keep a hand budget?
How about balancing your checkbook? (I've never done it before.)
Did you (do you) keep all your receipts? I just check my charges online, since I pretty much only use a debit card.
Let us know: what did you do before online banking?
As a reader of this blog, you already know that there are some pretty attractive returns available to you in the online realm.
In addition to earning a higher rate, you can pad your account even more by taking advantage of programs such as "Refer A Friend."
ING's program is perhaps the most popular of this variety. You refer a friend who funds a new account with at least $250, and the friend receives an extra $25, and you get a bonus of $10.
ING says you can earn up to $500 in bonus money through this program (that would be 50 successful referrals!), but I know that just recently they cleared their lists so people have the potential to go beyond even that amount.
I have successfully referred probably four people to ING. I'm happy to earn the money, and I'm also glad I can help them save. ING makes it very easy to send the referrals; I just wish I knew more people who wanted to invest online!
Another large bank with an online referral program is Bank of America. Though I don't know if this is a standing offer, they are currently offering a bonus of $25 to both the referring party and the one who opens a new checking account.
Unlike ING, BofA has fairly complicated rules about forfeiting the money in the case the new checking account closes before a certain amount of time passes. The process also isn't as streamlined as ING's, but if you know someone who is looking for a free checking account and doesn't mind signing up online, this is a nice deal.
I'd be interested in finding out what percentage of new accounts and/or balances comes from these referral programs. If anyone knows of any similar programs offered by other banks, or other types of bonus programs, let us know in the comments section.
Tom Valenti is a marketer and project manager who currently works for a financial institution in New Jersey. For more info, visit him at http://tomvalenti.com.
I just came across this video today on Snopes.com, depicting what online shopping and banking would be like in 1999.
Believe it or not, this video was made in 1967.
Check it out.
It's actually pretty accurate, although the details are obviously different.My favorite part has to be the description of paying for products — that the woman will purchase them on her computer and her husband will pay for them on his. Classic!
ABC's Nightline recently profiled ING Direct and company CEO Arkadi Kuhlmann, who rails on banks that know their customers don't know how to handle finances, credit card interest rates and the subprime mortgage crisis.