Choose a local bank with an array of online options. (Photo: StockSnap)

If you’re reading this, you know the convenience offered by the internet. You know how it simplifies tasks and saves you time and effort. You know how it has changed the way you interact with family, shop for necessities and research topics of interest.

You also know, but maybe haven’t considered, how much online access has impacted the financial industry. Whereas anything as simple as checking your balance used to require a trip to the bank, all kinds of transactions can now be done online. If you’re in the market for a bank, make sure you choose one whose online features offer the following.

Sending money
Choose a financial institution that makes sending money to friends and family easy. You shouldn’t have to take time out of your day to drive to a branch just to put $20 in your daughter’s account for gas money or to pay your brother for the repairs he made to your HVAC unit.

“You should also choose an institution that allows you to do this even if the recipient banks with a different company,” saidĀ Sarah Wilson, vice president, electronic banking core solutions manager.

Depositing checks
Most of us don’t deal in checks anymore, so when you do have one, perhaps you carry it around crumpled up in your wallet for a month before you remember to stop by the bank to deposit it. When checks were commonplace and you had to go to a bank all the time, things were different. But now, you have the option of choosing a bank that allows you to make mobile check deposits. You endorse the check, take a picture of it, choose an account for the funds and you’re done.

“At SmartBank, the deposited funds for approved checks are in your account within one hour of the transaction,” Wilson said.

Paying bills
If you’re still sitting down, writing checks, stamping envelopes and dropping bill payments in the mail every month, consider simplifying your life by going to a bank that offers free bill pay. Not only is it easier and more convenient (and greener, too!) to pay your bills directly via a bank’s website or mobile app, but a tech-forward bank will even let you set up recurring payments so you don’t have to worry about missing a payment due date.

“You can also set up times for certain items to come out so you know when the funds will be taken,” Wilson said. “This eliminates worry of overdraft.”

Free to download, use
If you’re a customer of a company, their app should be on the house. You shouldn’t have to pay to access the features of a mobile app, as that convenience is basically a necessity for today’s on-the-go lifestyle. Also, make sure you aren’t charged fees for doing things that are free when done traditionally (i.e., in person).

“With our app, you almost never have to set foot in a branch,” Wilson said. “We love to see our customers, but we strive to give them the best options for handling business online as we can.”

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