Virtual banking habits boom during the pandemic, experts expect trend to increase from here

(Source: WAFB)
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) -- Whether it’s accessing your money online or using mobile banking tools, finance experts saw a trend for online banking even before the COVID-19 outbreak.

“More and more people were getting comfortable with online banking,” said Kimberly Palmer, a personal finance expert with NerdWallet.

With some branches closed or operating hours reduced, it feels like our option is to check our accounts electronically. That feeling isn’t going to go away when coronavirus subsides.

“We expect that to continue and the coronavirus is really speeding up that trend that already existed,” Palmer added.

Of course, some people feel safer or enjoy the convenience more of not having to walk into a bank for a transaction. Even completely online banks, like Ally, exist now. But it’s not just the big banks that offer a safer virtual experience.

Baton Rouge local bank, Neighbors Federal Credit Union, provides a service at its branches called live tellers. Customers can drive or walk up to these systems and connect with a live Neighbors professional. Chief Operating Officer Greg Inman thought these modern touches are an addition, not a replacement.

“Some would question, ‘Why are you doing this?’” said Inman. “Are you losing the personal touch? Are you replacing people with technology? I’ll tell you, we have more employees now than we ever did.”

Inman also watches over Neighbors’ online banking activity and he saw the same virtual growth from its local customers.

“Online banking is obviously going to continue to increase. It’s not going to retract by any means,” he added.

Inman predicts we’ll continue to see a growth in the mobile-friendly services, especially. But if you aren’t on board with the virtual experience, usually your bank will listen to your needs.

“Banks are typically very aware or conscience of the fact that there is always going to be some consumers, some customers who don’t want to switch to completely virtual meetings,” Palmer explained.

You can always give your bank a call and explain what service works best for you, Palmer suggested.

She also gave some advice so you can have a better online banking experience. Have a strong password and use the two-factor authentication feature. Also, make sure the banking website or accounts you use are FDIC insured.

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