9 safety tips for internet banking

Today internet banking is very easy to access and is one of the most

convenient ways to bank. All you need is access to an internet

connection but be careful: Here are some safety tips.

1. Never use a public terminal such as an internet cafe. Ideally use

your own computer or smart phone, or terminals inside the bank.

2. Becareful of wireless connections. Unless you have a very secure

connection, this is where interventions may occur.

3.Avoid connecting via a link. Always type the full name of the

internet banking site into your browser. This is the safest and best

way to go.

4. Have no other websites open while you are banking. Any intereference

is possible, and besides, banking needs your full attention.

5. Ensure your user ID and password are known only to you and cannot

easily be worked out by friends or colleagues. Change your password

regularly but be sure to keep track of the changes.

6. Always log off and close the page when you are finished.

7. Beware of emails that request your bank details. Don’t give them.

8. Never give your password and user ID over the phone, even to so

called ‘banking officials’ if they call you. If you call to query the

operator may need the information to check your account.

9. Keep a close check on the balance so you can identify any suspicious

transactions. If you notice any debits that are unauthorised, contact

your bank immediately.

How does interest work

After a few months of managing your credit, you will better understand

the concept of interest and how it works. Interest is a two-sided coin

with positive implications on one side and negative implications on the


If you have paid late, or paid less than the required instalment shown

on a particular account, you will be charged interest. This is negative

interest and takes money out of your pocket. This is dangerous and very

expensive interest sometimes as high as 25 percent. If at all possible

you should try to avoid interest charges. Beware of higher purchase

where they offer you between 6 and 48 months to pay. Although the

seller may offer you terms with monthly amounts that sound manageable,

you will end up paying up to more than double the original cost of the

item – fridges, tvs, computers, household furniture. Rather buy

secondhand or more affordable items that you buy at the original ticket

price. The only purchase you should buy over a term is your home. Very

few can afford to buy a house in cash, and this is where a bank or

homeloans institutions help you by offering terms, in some cases, up to

30 years.

Paying a high price for interest
Nonetheless, the same applies. You will be paying more than double for

your house by the time you have added up all your payments over 30

years – but you will have done a lot of living in that house and it

will have paid off in other ways. On the other hand, a fully paid up

bond, is a great achievement, and reduces financial pressure to a great

extent. It is something worth striving for.

Positive interest.

When you save money in a bank savings account, for example, FNB, Absa,

Capitec, Nedbank, you have the chance to earn positive interest. So

instead of the store or the bank charging for lending you money, they

pay you for saving money.

When you decide to put your money in the bank you will have several

account options to choose from. Some accounts offer more interest than

others. Some accounts have higher charges than others and other

accounts must have a minimum balance to offer the full benefits. The

minimum balance may be R1,000, R5,000 or R10, 000 depending on the type

of the account. These are sometimes called investment accounts, but

again it is the starting amount and the length of time the money must

stay in the bank to earn interest.

There are some accounts that are fixed over time – say 12 or 24 months

– they also have minimum balance requirements but they generally pay

higher interest. Some accounts are more flexible and allow more

frequent withdrawals.

Savings account options

It’s a good idea to spend some time finding out what the different

banks offer. FNB has been in the spotlight for a number of new and

exciting saving products. But all banks have many pamphlets that you

can read through to see what is on offer. You should go to a consultant

to ask questions and make sure you understand the differences between

one account and the next.

Banking offers a number of services that making the way you handle

money much safer. Money in the bank is guaranteed. Even if the bank is

robbed and loses a lot of money, the bank must pay you what you have

put in, if you want to take it out.

Banking services are not free. Some of the fees are very low and

sometimes can even be avoided. At entry level banking the fees are very

low to encourage new account holders (previously unbanked individuals).

Then there are special cost structures for minimum balances. The bank

wants you to keep your money invested and they are willing to reward

you for doing this by offering reduced charges.

E(bits)da – Every bit saved does accumulate

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