Net Banking

Every month, you would be woken up in the middle of the afternoon with a shrill call on your mobile phone. It was a customer service rep reminding to pay BPL mobile bill to prevent services from being terminated. You would than do the rush-rush thing-that is, until your bank rep told you that you can now pay your mobile electricity and MTNL phone bills through your HDFC savings account online.

Little wonder that, more and more bank customers are hooked on to internet banking. It’s not just the hip private banks, but even nationalized banks are getting cyber savvy. As a customer, all you have to do is fill up a one-page net-banking registration form at the bank of your choice. All this is completely free of cost because it saves the bank time and energy as well.

Indeed, gone are the days of standing in serpentine queues at the bank freezing amidst creaky air conditioner or dealing with moody personnel. Now paying your mobile bill or even buying a railway pass is just a click away. New age internet banking is here, and it looks like it’s here to stay.

Apart from being able to check transaction history, balance enquiry in real-time and getting mobile alerts, you can transfer money to any bank across the country or even world. This means that you can free yourself from writing out demand drafts or pay orders and do away with the worry of misplacing cheques. After logging into your account, all you have to do is mention the payee’s account number, his bank and branch. The online transfer takes place in a day or so while traditionally, transfer took a minimum of three working days.

One of the net-banking pioneers, ICICI Bank, also allows you to use your debit card online in order to make purchases. Then, you can recharge your prepaid mobile too. The bank has tie-ups with major service providers like Airtel, Vodafone, BPL, Reliance and Tata Indicom.

It is so convenient says an executive, who works with a multinational company. He often would be left with no balance on his prepaid mobile card. He says “I dreaded the last day of the month because you have to make time, go to the mobile gallery and deposit a cheque in the drop box. Now, I can recharge it in the middle of the night, I don’t have to worry about how far the gallery is or what time of the day it is”.

In addition, the bank also allows you to pay your electricity bill. A resident at Mumbai says they pay their home electricity bill through the net only. Servants and peons most relieved, he laughs. You can even pay the school fees of your child in some schools through the net and even book a railway pass online.

Since this has happened life has been much easier. Waiting in those long sweaty queues is a real nightmare. Most of who need to travel by trains have signed up online as well. It is just much simpler and you end up saving a lot of time too. The pass is delivered to you at your doorstep but the facility is limited to Mumbai, Thane, Nashik, Surat and Pune. The bank charges Rs10 and a service tax at 12.36%.

At HDFC, registering for net banking is made even simpler than it already is. You can call up the phone banking number or fill in a form. Most of these banks also offer options for opening fixed deposit accounts. You can do it through simple online funds transfer. Some banks even allow you to buy mutual funds, apply for loans and constantly receive new product information.