What is online banking?


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What is online banking?

A lady checking her online bank account on her laptop computer

What's coming up?

In this activity, you'll learn what online banking is, and how it can make many common banking tasks easier and more convenient.

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What is it?

Online banking is when you use a computer to check balances and pay bills instead of going to a branch, use an ATM, or telephone your bank.

Managing your bank accounts online can be done at any time of the day or night - you don't have to wait for the banks to open.

A desktop computer screen showing our fictional Squirrel Bank logo
Some of the things you need to bank online include a computer, mobile phone and access to the internet

What do you need for online banking?

There are a few things you need for online banking. These include:

  • an internet connection
  • a desktop or laptop computer, smartphone or tablet
  • a bank account that's been set up for online banking
  • a username and password to log into your account
  • a mobile phone number.

How do you bank online?

You can bank online with a desktop or laptop computer, a smartphone or a tablet. While online banking may look a bit different on a computer compared to a smartphone because of the different screen sizes, the way it works is very similar.

For the activities in this course, we'll use a computer in our examples.

A laptop computer, desktop computer, mobile phone and tablet can all be used to bank online
A typical online banking website showing the bank's logo

Connecting to your bank online

Your computer comes with a web browser, e.g. Chrome, Safari or Edge, that connects you to the internet. You use your web browser to access your bank's website.

Bank websites are designed to be very secure, and, provided you keep your password private and do not share it with anyone else, the information you access when you are logged onto your online bank account cannot be intercepted, seen or changed by anyone other than you. This makes it extremely safe to use.

You do not need a special bank account

Your regular bank accounts are also your online bank accounts. With online banking, you will be able to see all the transactions and balances in your regular bank accounts on your computer at home.

A typical dashboard page for an online bank account showing a summary of all your accounts
Some of the things you can do with online banking include paying bills, making transfers and buying goods

What can you do online?

You can use online banking to do almost everything you need. You can:

  • pay a bill
  • send money to a friend
  • buy something online
  • transfer money between your accounts
  • set up automatic bill payments or transfers so you don't have to do them manually.

If your transaction doesn't involve getting cash from the bank, you can do it with online banking.

Well done!

This is the end of the What is online banking? activity.

Up next, we'll find out why you should use online banking in the Benefits of online banking activity.

Purchasing goods online using a credit card