Getting started with online banking
You can now manage your finances online with most banks and building societies – once you are set up you should hardly ever need to visit a branch or post office.
To get started, open your web browser and search for “register for online banking” and your bank name. A link to your bank’s registration page should appear near the top of the search results.
When you have finished registering online, your bank may send you further information by post before you can start using online banking – this varies depending on the bank. You will also need to register at least one contact phone number that you can be called on, which will occasionally be used for extra security to verify a transaction.
What you can do online
With online banking you can do almost everything that you can do at a bank branch – including checking your balance, making transfers and paying bills.
To make a payment to someone you need their sort code (6 digits) and account number (usually 8 digits) – then select the option to make a payment and enter these details and the amount where requested.
CAUTION: there are scammers out there sending out false account details. Always check bank details directly with the person you are making a payment to, and carefully check that you have entered their payment details correctly before confirming the payment. Be particularly aware of any emails claiming to be from someone you are about to pay telling you that their payment details have changed – these are usually from a scammer trying to divert the payment to their own account.
Banking on a smartphone or tablet
Banks also provide online banking apps for your smartphone or tablet, which you can use when you have registered for online banking. To get going visit the App Store (Apple devices) or Google Play (other devices) and search for your bank. Download the app and follow the instructions – you may need to verify the device using a code sent to you in a text message before you can start using the app.
With some banks you can now pay in cheques using a smartphone – you do this you by logging into your online banking app and taking a photo of the cheque.
More than just banking
You can go online to do other financial transactions too. For example, you can set up an ISA, search for a savings account and download useful apps to help you manage your money.
When banking using a computer always go directly to your bank’s website (e.g. lloydsbank.com, natwest.com) or via a link from a search engine such as Google. Don’t follow any links in emails or texts sent to you as these often take you to fake websites that could steal your personal details. This is called ‘phishing’ and is very common.
Online banking is very secure – the banks’ reputations depend on this – but always remember to log off when you have finished.