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> Internet Bank Account - UK Guide
In a nutshell
A bank account that is managed online via the Internet.
Best Bank Account For
Anybody with regular and secure Internet access that wants to bring their bank account online.
Internet bank accounts can make it incredibly easy to access and manage your money as you are given complete control of what you do and when you do it. So, they have no restrictions on when you can access your account, for example, and you won't be stuck with bank opening hours. Internet bank accounts are generally available 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
So, you can check balances, move money, make payments and order cheque books, for example, all from your own PC. And, as the majority of banks nowadays offer Internet access to their standard bank accounts, you can even use Internet banking for existing high street accounts without having to change accounts/banks. So, if you prefer, you can mix and match Internet banking with high street banking if that's what suits you best. You can even access your Internet bank account from other PCs anywhere in the world. So, if you're on holiday abroad, for example, you can still get into your account if you need to do something. Many specific Internet banks are also able to give higher rates of interest for your bank account if you're in credit, simply because their expenses are lower than traditional high street banks. So, you may find that your money earns more with an Internet bank account than it would if you ran it in the traditional manner. This is also true of high street bank accounts - banks want to encourage online banking as it is generally cheaper for them. You'll also find that banks are extremely committed to security and safety online - so you also don't need to worry about how secure Internet banking and your money is.
What to look out for
Some specialist Internet banks may charge you for services that high street banks offer as standard. So, for example, you may be given a cash card with your account but you may only be able to use it at certain types of ATM without charge. Use it elsewhere on the high street and you may be charged for the transaction. It's worth spending some time looking at the terms and conditions for this kind of charge before you choose an Internet bank account. Getting used to Internet banking can take some time - especially if you use a stand-alone online bank with no high street associations. You may need to pay in money by post, for example or to rely on telephone calls or emails if you have queries. Although all banks offering Internet services tend to be incredibly committed to developing and using secure technology there is no cast-iron guarantee that your account will be safe from hacking and other types of Internet fraud. You may be wise, therefore, to fit out your PC with a firewall to give you some added protection. Although your rights in these cases are generally protected - as long as you take care of your account details - this may not always be the case so you should be careful to make your own use of any Internet bank account as secure as possible. You should also think about whether the PC you'll primarily use and its Internet connection are suited to online banking if you'll be using this kind of account regularly. Any PC can potentially be used for this kind of account - as long as it meets certain performance standards - but, if your connection or PC is slow or erratic, then you just won't get the best out of an Internet bank account and you may find the whole process quite frustrating.
If you're worried about any of the issues with online account management for an Internet bank account then you can always look at standard high street accounts as an alternative.