Banking online in the UK is now massive. It wasn't all that long ago that it was the preserve of geeks, early adopters and those afraid of walking into banks to talk to people. Now however every one from your Mum to your technophobe mate does a lot of their banking online. One of the first banks that spearheaded Internet Banking UK was First Direct. The main reason I am writing this article is to express my thoughts and passion for online banking.
Over the years that major high street banks started introducing Internet Banking as a service to their customers. The online offerings of the major UK banks were also joined by other internet only off-shoots, such as Smile, Intelligent Finance (IF) and Cahoot. This started with SMS alerts, which I have benefited from through First Direct for as long as I can remember, and it costs nothing (as long as you pay in at least £1500 per month the whole banking service is free). "Payment Alerts your account ending 1010" or "A balance alert for current account ending 5342" - Pointless.
The evolution of the SMS alert banking is of course Mobile Banking, where you can access your account details, and perform transactions on a mobile device. Some of the banks provide dedicated apps, or cut down versions of their full blown internet bank sites when you visit them from an iPhone of a Symbain smart phone for example. So anywhere you have a mobile signal (i.e. 98% of the UK) and some juice in your mobile, you can do most things with your money that 15 years ago required you to walk into a high street bank during working hours. Obviously for some people still, they like the face to face interaction, like to queue up and get a bank clerk to perform transactions (which are increasingly done on a version of the same system that is provided as the online banking service) and some people need the assistance of the banks to do what they need to do. But gradually high street banks are changing, becoming places where you can pop in to do your internet banking or phone banking, and to speak to someone regarding major new business such discussing mortgage options of life insurance/investment accounts. If you are with one of the major UK banks and don't currently use online banking, it is worth your while setting up an online account. The banks can help you with this, but be warned that some of the web sites are much better than others. I'd even go as far say that it is worth considering switching banks to one that provides the most user friendly, functional, secure and fast online banking service. The other factors on current accounts such as interest rates, fees and customer service may vary, but not a lot these days. Google "Online Banking Reviews" to see what others think and how your bank is rated, and make up your own mind.