Making the Most of Telephone Banking

by admin on March 20, 2011

Telephone banking is a subset of Internet banking, which many bank customers prefer in this day and age. There are some people, though, who choose traditional telephone banking services that financial institutions still offer. Usually telephone banking services supplement the banks’ Internet services in case of technical difficulties, but they are also quite efficient in terms of loan and overdraft applications.

A common concern with phone banking is whether it is safe. Anyone can listen to and record your conversation, right? Actually, this is far from the truth. Phone banking can even be safer than Internet banking. You have never heard the expression “phone fraud”, have you? There is a reason for that. With the Internet, the incidence of financial crimes, including crimes like identity fraud, is continuously on the rise.

There is also a nice, traditional, soothing side of phone banking. Some of us still prefer to talk to a human being instead of a machine or doing things online, stuck in front of a grey lifeless monitor, your senses bombarded with digits and other overwhelming, unpleasant information. Despite the great efforts most banks and other financial institutions are making for their web sites to appear easy to navigate and work with, you are always bound to be left with an unanswered question on a site. With phone banking, you can ask each and every question (related to your specific financial case or situation) that comes to mind, including such that are usually not included or allowed on a web site.

What are the benefits of phone banking? As mentioned, the major ones are the ability to speak to someone about banking aspects that may not have been mentioned online and getting information about any and all payments waiting to go into or out of your account. This information, as you are aware, is not available online.

Now we come to the most important consideration – security issues. Yes, your calls will most likely be recorded, and this will not happen without your consent. This is done to reduce the likelihood of financial crimes and identity fraud occurring and for the purposes of staff training. It is very hard to break into your account using telephone banking. In order for that to happen, the perpetrator must have a lot of information on you, including all of your passwords.

Telephone banking is sometime done with the help of automated systems and multiple clients can be assisted at the same time. Simple questions are answered, such as branch hours, bank locations, and account balances. In this way, associates and operators are less involved in handling these inquiries, which don’t really require human assistance. Operators can provide assistance through customer service and answer more complex questions. Of course, automated phone systems have their flaws as well, especially old ones. The latter may not recognize different forms of input and even voices. New automated systems have improved, but some go with menus that are not easy to navigate.

The only major disadvantage that comes to mind where phone banking is concerned is that not all financial institutions offer 24/7 phone banking. If all you want to do is check your recent operations or find out what your balance is, you could probably contact a 24-hour operator or go online without a problem, but for anything more complex, it can be a problem. Also, keep in mind that phone banking is not possible on major holidays like Christmas and New Year’s, which is not the case with online banking.

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