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Online banking:  What will it do?

Technology now in use is very definitely capable of handling online banking.  Why are we just now getting into banking by wire?  Really it has been in use for more than ten years, but limited to using the telephone.  The Internet fad has led many people to own computers with modems providing wire communication capability.  That installed base means that banking by wire is commercially viable, but this has happened quite recently.  Any online banking requires that your computer be equipped with a modem, whether or not you currently use it to access the web. 

To become a commercial reality, programs had to be developed to run with banking accuracy, and to mesh with existing banking software.  This has taken time.  To judge from questions in the CompuServe QuickBooks Forum, very few people have had problems using these services.  The reason may be that very few people so far have tried to use them.  Should you decide to participate, you may find the activity to be more of an adventure than a smoothly polished operation.

Online payment is implemented in QuickBooks as capability to generate a payment order in your computer.  The order is sent by wire and put into effect by a receiving agency. If you have only online payment, the receiving agency is designated by the QuickBooks displays as Intuit Services Corporation (ISC.)  In practice, Intuit has sold ISC to Checkfree, and that company now operates the service.

Online Banking includes online payment.  I set up online banking with one bank.  This bank merely passes the payment orders to Checkfree, who appears to handle the payments the same as any other online payment.  Online banking includes other features.  You can retrieve reports of transactions received by the bank, and automatically merge them into the bank account in your QuickBooks company.  Other features, such as access to credit card accounts, are at the option of the bank. (Financial Institution is technically correct, but cumbersome, so I shall call them all banks.)

Although direct electronic payment is discussed, I have not been able to actually make that happen.  One bank account is set up with online banking, and online payment has been connected to another.  Each of these accounts is set up for return of the actual checks to me.  Payment through either account are made on the same form, called a draft.   The draft looks like a check, but with no signature. Where the signature would be is the legend No signature required.  This check has been authorized by your depositor.  For Information, call 630-300-3020.  That number connects to Checkfree Customer Service. The name of the payor (business) and the name of the bank are printed onto the checks.

Unless a distinction is needed, the word bank includes Checkfree.

Fees for online banking with online payment are set by the banks and seem to be about $9 to $30 per month.  Some banks waive the fee for a limited time after enrollment.  The fee may include a limited number of online payments, with charges for additional payments.  ISC currently charges about $10.  The banks which I contacted all said payments were handled by ISC or Checkfree.

 

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Last modified: May 21, 2004