Preppers: Your Money Is Not Always Safe With Banks In Particular Online Banks
A cost comes with technology, and in some cases, the cost is tremendous. You can now use your Smartphone to do banking online, and people love the idea. This is convenient and a customary practice today and some simply do not know of any other way of doing it.
How good is your Smartphone however, when your banks’ online services crash? Can your phone direct you to the bank, so you can go inside and speak to a teller to access your account to withdraw cash from a real person? Where is the slot on your Smartphone, the slot where it dispenses cash by the way?
Is there a brick and mortar location where you can go to if the online services are not available? Internet services can be disrupted, and this can create a financial situation that may be difficult to recover from.
Websites crash and online banks or your home computer or phone can be “hacked” and if all you have is an online bank, you may find it impossible in some cases to recover your funds. If your bank is not a brick and mortar establishment close by, how do you get your money, how do you even prove you have an account when the records are lost in cyber space?
Direct deposit is popular, no more collecting a paper check and waiting in line at the bank to cash that check on Fridays. People now can have their paychecks loaded on to a debit card, no more cash in hand to pay utilities, mortgages and car payments. A majority of banking transactions are now done online, online until technology fails.
Everything is paperless or so everyone thinks, but if you do not print out hard copies of all transactions from your online account, where is your proof. The only paper that is saved is on the businesses end, you need to stock up, so you can print, print and print some more so you have proof.
As recently as late last week, a major savings and loans in the country had (still ongoing) what the bank representatives called a “glitch”. The bank virtually went “dark” and has been dark for over three days. Online accounts could not be accessed, debit cards did not work and if a customer could access their account online, their balances were in the negatives. Directs deposits of paychecks were not reflected on the balances. People could not access their money and it was the weekend.
Fortunately, for some the bank was also a brick and mortar establishment and backup bank records allowed some account holders to sort out the mess, the old-fashioned way. What happens if you only have an online bank account? Who can you call? The phones lines would be tied up for days. You could be hours on hold only to be told the problem is being addressed.
The banks’ computers according to representatives somehow failed, no one outright admitted culpability however. Today’s reality is that institutions fear litigation so a certain amount of what is done is “cover against litigation”, and this does not bode well for the average customer.
The only way to access accounts and to reconcile those accounts was to go into the bank, with documents in hand proving your identity and proof you have an account. Once inside a bank teller actually had to sort through paper documents to find your account, no computer look up. No rapid tapping of keys, licking the finger and turning the page got the job done. Grueling and time consuming but pen and paper saved the day.
Banks obviously do not want to panic their account holders. People in fear of losing their money will make a run on the bank collapsing the bank in the process, so the company line is always that computer problems are routine maintenance or small hiccups, “nothing to see here, please move along, whose next please”.
What happens when your bank is across the country? You rely on your debit card for purchases, and to make payments, but now you cannot. Soon you may be in the “dark” as well. Sitting there wondering how to access your cash, money you earned hoping it will still be there when the bank’s technicians sort out the problem. You wait and you have no control.
Of course, some of you remember how it used to be done. You cashed your check and put some cash in your purse or wallet. You wrote checks and put them in the mail or paid in cash. Today many people do not even have a checking account, nor do they know how to write a check. Some now only have a debit card that accepts their paycheck every two weeks. The card allows you to withdraw cash at any ATM and to make online purchases and payments. This is convenient until something happens.
Can We Go Back To How It Was
There is no going back, but what you can do is have your paycheck go to a financial institution that has a physical address in your community. Far too many people sign up for online banks that do not have a brick and mortar business. There is nowhere to drive to if there is a problem. You have to call or attempt to resolve any problems online. Some people’s banks are literally in the “clouds”, clouds that can turn into a pie in the sky.
You can write checks and thus you have proof a payment was made, because if computers fail then receipts for payments may no longer exist. You can pull cash out and limit your debit card use as a start. Obviously, some of you cannot or simply do not see the need to do anything. Change is difficult especially if it requires more effort and time. People today put a high price on their time and thus are always looking for the quick and easy.
Prepping is not just about stockpiling water or food it is paying attention to all aspects of your life. Some believe paper money will not be any good during a crisis and this may be true in some cases. However, cash in hand speaks volumes regardless of the crisis, and it will be months if not longer before the lure of cash is no longer there.
This article is simply to get you to rethink some of your banking practices. There are never any guarantees, but you have to do what you can to mitigate losses. No one can afford not to have access to their cash on a weekend, and if it happened at one bank it can happen to any bank, even yours.
Technology is a wonderful thing and the more complicated it becomes the harder it will crash and the greater impact it will have on people. What do you do when your online banking representative tells you “we have people working on it”? You may eventually sort it out, but in the mean time the lights go out, the car is on empty and the cupboards are bare all because you cannot access your bank account.