by Simon Wright
One of the greatest advantages of online banking is the ability to send money online. It means that you no longer need to wait for the bank branch to open and you don't need to stand in a queue behind screaming children and be served by a cashier who has a terrible cold.
When the banks first started to launch their online banking services, there was a general reticence by many to sign up. In part, this was fueled by security concerns but what market research confirmed was that it was more a fear of the unknown. People were concerned that they would make a mistake and would accidentally send $1000 rather than $100. That was many years ago, however, and since then online banking has become mass market. Indeed, most banks now offer online banking demos so that new customers can try out the service, and familiarize themselves with how it works, in a completely safe environment.
So let's say that you have taken the step of registering for your bank's online service. What options are open for you to send a money order online? The answer is that there are typically two main methods of sending money. These are:
1. Funds transfer to other accounts that you hold with the same bank.
This is where, for example, I want to send money from my checking account to my savings account, where both accounts are held with the same bank. There will typically be a menu heading of something like Transfer Funds' and then drop down boxes to select the account that you want to make the transfer from and the account that you want to make the transfer to. There will also be a field for you to select the amount you want to transfer and it will probably include guidance on how much money is available to transfer. Then all you have to do is hit the Submit' button and the money should transfer instantly to the desired account.
2. Payment to another person or to an account you hold with another bank.
Making a payment to another person is a little bit more complicated but still pretty easy to do. You will click upon the Payment' menu option and will then be asked to create a mandate for the payment that you want to make. That probably sounds a bit daunting but an easier way of describing it is that you are just going to be asked to enter the account details of the person to whom you wish to send the money.
You will need to have their sort code and account number details to hand and will be asked to enter these. This, in effect, creates a payment mandate. You then select which account you want to pay the money from and how much you want to pay. You may also have the option of entering a payment reference. You then hit the Submit' button and the money will be sent to the other person's account. The same approach applies if you are sending money to an account that you hold with another bank.
Unlike a funds transfer, however, the money may not reach the destination account immediately. Typically payments can take up to three days to go through the banks' clearing system.
The other handy thing that you can do is to request a future dated payment. All that means is that you are saying make the payment but don't make it until this date in the future.
Online banking is now used by many millions of people and helps to make our lives that bit easier. It means that you can send and receive money online without ever needing to speak to a bank official and aren't constrained by the bank's standard opening hours. So if you haven't signed up already, then what are you waiting for. Get yourself to your bank's website and get registered. In no time at all you will have gained a much greater control over your own finances and will look back with amazement at the days when we had to visit a branch to affect a transfer of our own money!