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If you are among those who are not tech-savvy or do not prefer online banking due to security reasons, now is the time to shed that hesitation. The post covid-19 world will take social distancing far more seriously and so digital transaction will become the need of the hour. For the same reason it may be time to teach your parents, who may have kept away from digital banking till now, how to make use of online banking services. Going to the bank for transferring or withdrawing funds or for other routine transaction may no longer make sense.

Many do not use online banking due to security concerns. But there are ways you can work around it. There are payments banks and small finance banks, which now allow individuals to open savings account sitting at home, using Aadhaar for KYC (Know Your Customer). You can open a new account with either payments bank or small finance bank. Start by transferring a small amount that you are comfortable with to get familiar with the digital transaction. Once you feel confident, you can shift to your primary account.

You can do almost all your banking transaction on a computer (internet banking) or on a smartphone (mobile banking). “Customers can avail 250+ features on digital platforms (internet banking and mobile app). Customers can change address, order cheque book, update their KYC, etc., on both Netbanking and mobile app. They can even apply for a new credit card, loans, invest their money in a fixed deposit or mutual funds, among others, within seconds using digital platforms," said Sameer Shetty, head - digital banking, Axis Bank.

Until about a year ago, many banks, especially the public-sector ones, required customers to visit their branches to activate internet banking. But now, a customer can activate internet banking sitting at home. Here’s the common procedure that most banks follow to activate internet banking and start transacting on it.

1. Go to the internet banking website of the bank.

2. You will need to click on the option, which says you are a new user.

3. You will be taken through an authentication process using your customer ID and account number. You can check the customer ID in all banking communications, including on your cheque book and passbook.

4. Most banks send an OTP (one-time-password) on the registered mobile. In addition, they will need you to key in your debit card number and its PIN (personal identification number), too. This is a one-time process.

5. The user will then need to set a password. Once this is done, he can start using internet banking.

When you start with digital banking, just take the following few caution:

1. Ensure that the bank’s website is the right one.

2. The website should start with “HTTPS" and not “HTTP". It means the website has required security installed. Fake websites don’t have the address starting with “HTTPS"

3. When downloading an app, the developer should be your bank. Read the comments to ensure the app is from your bank.

4. All banking transactions should be done on your home WiFi or mobile data. Don’t do banking transaction on public WiFi

Most digital banking services are free, including money transfers. On 24 March, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman provided some relief to individuals for banking services. Banks will not levy any charges or penalties if customers are unable to maintain the average monthly balance or average quarterly balance in their bank accounts.

For regular transfer of money, you will need to add beneficiaries. But most banks also now allow customers to transfer small amounts through digital banking without adding beneficiaries. The quick transfer service allows the customer to transfer up to 25,000 per day, with a cap of 10,000 on each transaction.

Use this lockdown as an opportunity to get used to digital banking as it is the future.

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