But, as Constance Gustke reports in "Are online checking accounts for you?" on Bankrate.com, online banking also has some drawbacks, which can include "deposit delays, impersonal customer service and limited checking options," to quote the story.
One drawback not mentioned is technology glitches, those ubiquitous online equivalents of dead-end streets. You can't go forward, you can't veer right or left, you can't quite turn around, and you certainly can't get to your destination.
Here's an example: Being self-employed, I'm required to make quarterly estimated income tax payments to the U.S. government and the state of California. Those payments are supposed to be sent in with, you guessed it, a form that helps to ensure my payments are credited to my Social Security number.
Unfortunately, the online bank where I have an account offers no way to send a form, or indeed, any kind of paperwork with a check. The only option is to send the payment through the online banking feature and then send the form separately. That might work, but I don't entirely trust the tax authorities to credit my payments properly without their little form.
But wait, you say. Why not use the online banking service to send the check to myself, and then pop the check and the form together into the mail?
That sounds like a workable solution, except for the fact that the online banking function automatically uses the payee on the check as the addressee on the envelope. The U.S. Postal Service is far from perfect, but I have to hope they wouldn't deliver a check made out to the U.S. Treasury to my home, even if my house number, street, city and ZIP code were correct.
That's not a total indictment of online banking. Rather, it's just to point out that there are some bugs in these systems that can be problematic or just annoying.
Whether that outweighs the other benefits, I haven't decided. What do you think?