August 23, 2007


As people become more technologically savvy, more and more financial products are being offered online. There have been many resulting benefits: faster processing times, broader access to financial products, convenience, and cost (often competitive interest rates and lower fees than traditional brick-and-mortar financial institutions). If you haven’t yet taken the “e-banking” plunge, perhaps you should consider.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York provides useful instruction regarding online banking
. A brochure on “Tips for Safe Banking Over the Internet” is also provided to benefit consumers.

While the Internet offers the potential for safe, convenient ways to conduct business 24/7, safe online banking involves making good choices to avoid costly mistakes and scams. Is XYZ bank legitimate? Are my deposits insured? Is my personal information private/secured? What are my rights? All of these questions are addressed in the Tips for Safe Banking, free New York Fed brochure.

Where to begin looking.
If you’re trying to find the best rates for savings accounts, CDs, and other financial products, a great place to start is the Bankrate website
. Bankrate offers information that is free, objective, and as comprehensive as any site I’m familiar with. A couple of other resources I’ve come across recently are Banking My Way, and a blog that is dedicated to these issues.

Several online banks are currently paying 5%+ on FDIC insured savings accounts – some of the prominent ones [which have no minimums to open the account and have no fees]:

- Amboy Direct

- AmTrust Direct

- Capital One

- Emigrant Direct

- E-Trade

- First National Bank of Omaha

- Flushing Savings Bank

- HSBC Direct

- Savings Square

- UFB Direct

- Univest Direct

- ING Direct
, the pioneer of online banking, currently offers a rate of 4.5% on savings – they also offer a high yield checking account (4%). They have a promo offering $25 to individuals opening a savings account – you can e-mail me if you want promo code info …