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What is the definition of "e-banking"?

The term "e-banking" is what I need help with. What is the definition of "e-banking"? Our bank offers on-line banking, however, accounts cannot be opened on line, only transactions. The paperwork is done either in-person or by mail. Is this true "e-banking"?

Answer by Richard Insley:

So far as I know, neither this contraction nor the full term has any official definition in a law or regulation.


Answer by Hussam Al-Abed:

According to “ A Survey of Electronic Cash, Electronic Banking and Internet Gaming “ report By FINCEN

Electronic banking is an umbrella term for the process by which a customer may perform banking transactions electronically without visiting a brick-and-mortar institution. The following terms all refer to one form or another of electronic banking: personal computer (PC) banking, Internet banking, virtual banking, online banking, home banking, remote electronic banking, and phone banking.PC banking and Internet or online banking are the most frequently used designations. It should be noted, however, that the terms used to describe the various types of electronic banking are often used interchangeably.

PC banking is a form of online banking that enables customers to execute bank transactions from a PC via a modem. In most PC banking ventures, the bank offers the customer a proprietary financial software program that allows the customer to perform financial transactions from his or her home computer. The customer then dials into the bank with his or her modem, downloads data, and runs the programs that are resident on the customer’s computer. Currently, many banks offer PC banking systems that allow customers to obtain account balances and credit card statements, pay bills, and transfer funds between accounts.

Internet banking, sometimes called online banking, is an outgrowth of PC banking. Internet banking uses the Internet as the delivery channel by which to conduct banking activity, for example, transferring funds, paying bills, viewing checking and savings account balances, paying mortgages, and purchasing financial instruments and certificates of deposit. An Internet banking customer accesses his or her accounts from a browser— software that runs Internet banking programs resident on the bank’s World Wide Web server, not on the user’s PC. NetBanker defines a “ true Internet bank” as one that provides account balances and some transactional capabilities to retail customers over the World Wide Web. Internet banks are also known as virtual, cyber, net, interactive, or web banks.

To date, more banks have established an advertising presence on the Internet— primarily in the form of informational or interactive web sites—than have created transactional web sites. However, a number ofBanks that do not yet offer transactional Internet banking services have indicated on their web sites that they will offer such banking activities in the future.

Although Internet banks offer many of the same services as do traditional brick-and-mortarBanks, analysts view Internet banking as a means of retaining increasingly sophisticated customers, of developing a new customer base, and of capturing a greater share of depositor assets. A typical Internet bank site specifies the types of transactions offered and provides information about account security.

Because Internet banks generally have lower operational and transactional costs than do traditional brick-and-mortar banks, they are often able to offer low-cost checking and high-yield Certificates of deposit. Internet banking is not limited to a physical site; some Internet banks exist without physical branches, for example, Telebank (Arlington, Virginia) and Banknet (UK). Further, in some cases, web banks are not restricted to conducting transactions within national borders and have the ability to make transactions involving large amounts of assets instantaneously. According to industry analysts, electronic banking provides a variety of attractive possibilities for remote account access, including:

  • Availability of inquiry and transaction services around the clock;
  • worldwide connectivity;
  • Easy access to transaction data, both recent and historical; and
  • “ Direct customer control of international movement of funds without intermediation of financial institutions in customer’s jurisdiction.”

OPENING AN ACCOUNT There are several ways to open and fund an electronic banking account in the United States. Customers who have existing accounts at brick-and-mortar banks and want to begin using electronic banking services may simply ask their institution for the software needed for PC banking or obtain a password for Internet banking. Either approach requires minimal paperwork. Once they have joined the system, customers have electronic access to all of their accounts at the bank. New customers can establish an account either by completing a PC banking application form and mailing it to an institution offering such a service or by accessing a bank’s web site and applying online for Internet banking. In either instance, the customer can fund the new online account with a check, wire transfer, or other form of remittance. No physical interface between the customer and the institution is required.


Answer by Richard Insley:

Thanks, Hussam. This is much more informative, and the term "umbrella term" is the perfect description.


Answer by Trent Fleming:

This is basically the banking industry's attempt to jump on the "e-business" band wagon. E-banking is a term that attempts to broadly describe today's alternate delivery channels. Different banks - and vendors - will describe this differently, but if you are offering on-line banking, you can certainly say that you are "into" e-banking.

Rather than spending too much time on the term, I'd suggest you open a dialogue with your customers about the types of services they are interested in, and begin to prioritize your investment in these new services. Ideas would include image delivery via Internet, Internet Commercial cash management, and on-line bill pay.

First published on 8/18/03

First published on 08/18/2003

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