Why Going 100% Online in Bank Services is Not a Good Idea. Yet

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Many say that online banks have changed the way we bank forever, and it is only for the better – we can earn more money while paying less in fees and enjoy the convenience of it without stepping a foot from our home. So do you want to abandon your bank branch union already? I personally would hold onto it a little while longer. 

Even though it may seem old-fashioned, these brick branches can still offer a number of valuable services, that you will miss severely, if you will lose the chance to use them again. It is not a question of what type is banking is better or more convenient, here we will simply list some of the things, you can only get by visiting a bank in person.

Unlimited Cash Transaction

It is not often when you need a significant amount of cash on your hands. But when you do, it is nice to have the option of getting it without a problem. And getting that kind of amount from your favorite ATM can prove to be one. There are of course some ways of withdrawing a substantial amount of cash from your online bank account, but you may need to visit a credit union that will be willing to process that type of request.

But with a physical account at your bank, getting that amount of money is as easy as ordering a pizza. As an additional bonus, you can also get your cash back into an account quickly and without a problem. Keeping huge amounts of cash is not safe, so there is not much reason in keeping it around longer than needed.

“In a world where most paychecks are direct deposited overnight and you can pay back a friend for the dinner check instantly with an app, bank branches can seem like the financial equivalent of a neighborhood Blockbuster Video. But don’t consign the branch to obsolescence quite yet. There are some tasks that bank customers still prefer to do in a branch — dealing with serious account problems, opening new accounts, and making big transactions.”

— Claes Bell, Mobile Editor for Bankrate.com

Safe Deposit Boxes

You often may have various pieces of valuables, that are either have a special place in your heart or simply cost too much, to simply let it remain in your home, where one day it could get easily stolen. In a situation like that, having a safe deposit box is a great solution to have. Instead of trying to make your own house safer, let the experts solve that for you. Banks can usually store your items at a rather meager cost and you can always get to the branch during its working hours if you want to collect them.

Every person has a lot of life-important documents that he need to be stored safe, but which he rarely use – Social Security Cards, Birth Certificates, copies and originals of certain business and non-business agreements, etc. Why risk losing them, if you can store them in your local bank and be sure of their safety.

The only problem with safe deposit boxes I personally see is that sometimes you might need your document on super short notice and the bank can be closed. But this all can be simply avoided if you keep remembering about cases like that beforehand and being prepared accordingly.

“Self-service channels have become the basis through which customers get access to their bank. Most of us use mobile and online banking for our everyday needs. In spite of this modern phenomenon, brick and mortar branches still continue to be an important part of a bank’s operation. Bank branches continue to provide vital customer service value. At the center of this are bank tellers who are often seen as the face of a bank. They are at the frontline and it is imperative that tellers are equipped with the most up to date systems and technology. This will not only help a bank to separate themselves from the competition but also enable them to demonstrate their unique services.”

— David Mitchell, President at NYMBUS

Face to face interactions

We live in a virtual world, and most of our transactions are being processed online employing complicated secured protocols developed and maintained by IT experts in financial sector. Most of us today are either in a constant rush or traveling and we simply have no time to visit our bank in person if we want to solve a certain problem for example.

But human interactions should not be underestimated – it is always more convenient and definitely nicer to sit and talk to someone face to face, especially if it is that important of a matter as our financial one. Communication over email or mobile phone is not always clear and productive, so sometimes it can be better and faster to talk with a specialist and tackle the matter together. Typing your questions and answers may be convenient, but remember that it is not necessarily always the best solution.

“Bank branches still matter. But do they matter because banks’ online and mobile and kiosk-based solutions are poor, or incomplete? I don’t think that’s the heart of it. The banking industry — like the airline industry — has done a pretty good job developing their self-service tools, in part because they’ve been working on it for a long time. I think when you get down to the appeal of the bank branch, at the heart of it, is the desire of human beings to get some reassurance and interaction from other knowledgeable and attentive human beings.”

— Micah Solomon, President of Four Aces Inc.

Branches are not completely out of the picture since they are constantly trying to evolve and almost every bank values it as its biggest asset. Historically, banks established their branches to gather old and new customers, but things definitely have changed in a course of recent years. Today customers do not need to visit banks anymore if they want to open a new account or make a deposit for example. This why it very important for banks to highlight their branch strongest points and look for new ways to make them viable if they plan on surviving. And judging from some of the comments I have highlighted today, they are definitely are.