One concern people have with internet banks is the lack of paper documentation. When you open an account at a brick-and-mortar bank, you’ll likely receive a paper document showing that you have opened the account. When you make deposits at a local office, you’ll receive a paper receipt showing the deposit into your account.
With internet banks, you may not receive the paper documents that you’ve grown used to at brick-and-mortar banks. One reader commented about the new GE Capital Bank. The account opening process went well, but he was dismayed to learn that he won’t receive any paper proof of deposits. It is common for internet banks to provide no paper receipts for deposits. However, when accounts are opened, many internet banks do mail paper confirmation letters. I have received confirmation letters at both Ally Bank and Discover Bank showing my initial deposit, interest rate, account number and other account information. Once the account is opened, you typically won’t receive letters confirming deposits.
One method that I use to confirm deposits at internet banks is to record the confirmation numbers when I initiate transfers. Most all of my deposits are done by initiating a bank-to-bank ACH transfer. When you submit the ACH transfer request, the bank should provide a confirmation page with a confirmation number or transaction number. I record that number, the time and the amount of the transfer. This confirmation page can also be saved or printed out. If there are any mistakes, I can use that information to ensure the mistakes are fixed. I have never experienced mistakes or problems with ACH transfers so I’m not aware of potential complications. If you have experienced problems with ACH transfers, how did you resolve the problem? And how easy was it to get the problem resolved?
With internet banks, you can monitor accounts daily to ensure deposits and withdrawals are properly made, and to make sure there are no fraudulent withdrawals. Most internet banks allow you to set up notification alerts to email you when certain transactions take place or when your account balances reach certain levels. This makes it easy to closely monitor your bank account.
Many internet banks will mail you paper statements unless you choose to only receive electronic statements. I now prefer electronic statements over paper statements. Instead of printing them out and wasting ink and paper, I just save the e-statements to a USB flash drive.
Is the lack of paper documentation at internet banks a major issue for you? If you have accounts at internet banks, what methods do you use to ensure your accounts are free of mistakes and fraudulent transactions?