Thursday, December 30, 2010

Coins   Calculator

Technology has the knack of simplifying our lives. From the good ol' telephone to the most modern smartphone, from the ancient Hindustan Motors’ Ambassador to the latest Tata Nano, from the light bulb to the trendy LEDs (we could go on) - technology has made our lives easier, faster and livelier. But in our quest to do more and more with technology, have we forgotten the very bank which stores our money that buys us this awesome technology? Well maybe. In this article, The Indian Geek looks at banking and how technology has touched and changed it for the better.

1. ATM / Debit Cards

Card

Well even though this seems to be a no-brainer, we believe that debit cards are still not used to their maximum capabilities. Debit cards are available for all savings accounts from almost all banks. With this piece of magnetised plastic, we can withdraw money and shop, be it online shipping or at a neighbourhood store. Debit cards can be used to buy rail, air and bus tickets, pay your telephone bill, electricity bill and virtually any other bill you can think of. We encourage you to start using your debit card to do more than just withdrawing money and paying the bill at your store with it. Please note that as per the Reserve Bank of India order, you can make 5 cash withdraws per month from other banks' ATMs for free, so next time you see a big queue at your own bank's ATM you can head over to the next nearest ATM and withdraw the cash to fulfill all your gadgety desires.

2. Electronic Fund Transfer

Ethernet CablesThis is a lesser known banking function. (Seriously – we’re not talking to the geeks out there who live their banking lives online) EFT allows you to transfer money from your account to any other account in India. Some banks charge a modest fee for each transaction. You need to collect your Internet Banking username and password from your bank to get started with this feature. Some banks may ask you to apply separately for transaction rights. With this in hand, go to your bank's internet banking website and log in to experience the ease and efficiency of EFT. You will have to use National Electronics Funds Transfer (NEFT) , operated by the Reserve Bank of India to transfer funds upto 5 lakhs of Rupees and Real Time Gross Settlement (RGTS) to transfer funds between 2 and 5 lakhs of Rupees. The RTGS system is the fastest possible inter bank money transfer facility available through secure banking channels in India, currently.

3. Mobile Banking

Mobile phone

Mobile phones are used today by banks for securities, payments and funds transfers. Major banks send a security pin to your mobile phone to start secure internet transactions. Most banks also offer instant account updates, letting you know when money is deposited and withdrawn from your account. Airtel has introduced MobiChek, an application by which you can recharge your mobile and direct to home TV connection as well as pay postpaid bills. The possibilities seem endless. Banks such as CitiBank and ICICI have mobile applications, for compatible phones. Using such dedicated mobile banking applications, or SMS banking is way faster than trying to login to your bank’s website using your swanky new smartphone – which is also a possibility, if you have a GPRS-enabled device which can handle HTTPS websites.

4. Internet Banking

Open Notebook PCMajor utility providers allow us to make payments through their websites. Payments can be made either by using your debit card or your bank's internet banking portal. Services such as ICICI’s B2 bank accounts (Branchfree Banking) can be used to obtain virtual debit cards, which work much like credit cards. This feature has been very useful in instances where only a Credit card can be used, but you don’t want to use a Credit card. (Keep in mind that such a virtual debit card is virtual – you will be able to use it only for online purposes)

With various such advances, banking has come a long way from tokens and queues to usernames and passwords; these advances in technology have made banking a stress-free and simpler experience. But we would also like to note that this new technology has opened up a whole new avenue of crime namely cyber-crime. Using e-mail as a primary weapon, cyber criminals trick you into disclosing your username/password and debit card numbers giving access to your world of banking. The Indian Geek would like to provide some very simple, but easy to follow tips to prevent your accounts from being hacked.

a. Never disclose your banking username/password to anyone.

b. Do not tell anyone or write down your ATM/ Internet/ Mobile personal identification number(PIN).

c. Do not respond to any email that seems to have been sent from your bank asking for any of your personal information including those mentioned above.

d. Be careful for people who maybe watching you while you are entering your PIN at your ATM. Be a stickler for privacy, and politely ask onlookers to move away when you are using the ATM; trust us, it’s worth it.

e. Logout from any internet banking session that you have opened.

With such banking techniques and options, you can be happily banking like the geeks out there… and become an Indian geek!

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