If you’re used to the idea of making a trip to the bank to transfer money from one account to another, pay a bill, or deposit your paycheck, the idea of using online banking may be foreign or even very strange to you. Yet unfamiliarity is no good reason to avoid online banking; there are many good reasons to bank online.

Security is one of the top reasons online banking is a good idea. Many people are worried that their account information may be compromised, but simple tips for safety and common sense go a long way to ensuring your online banking information is secure. Rather than withdrawing money at an ATM where you could be held up, you can transfer money online to pay a bill with little fuss and risk.

The convenience of online banking is another top reason people choose to use it. If you live in a cold area, you probably don’t want to go outside in the winter just to transfer money from one account to another. Plus, no matter where you live, gas prices are often high, and your time may be scarce. It’s inconvenient to have to arrange your trips around the hours that the bank in your area is open, but online banking is frequently available 24/7 all year round, with very few delays or outages.

To encourage people to move to online banking, reduced fees are available for many online banking options. Some banks even offer the option of online banking for free, while charging a fee for telephone banking, for instance. If you receive your statements by email or through your online banking center rather than mail, you can sometimes save a small charge, and you can see your bank account more easily before you do anything that might incur a fee.

There are increasing benefits to using online banking accounts. Some banks operate a “branch” online that deals exclusively with online bank accounts, keeping your money safe in a virtual way. This can include reputable companies like ING Direct who have been established for quite some time and have special, high-interest e-savings accounts to reward you. They can afford to do this when they don’t have to build, staff and maintain physical buildings. Also, some online banking centers are tied in with reward points systems and other ways of getting extra value for your dollar.

The procedure for enrolling in online banking varies depending on what institution you hold your bank accounts with. Some automatically enroll you in online banking, others require a small setup fee or ask for you to visit the branch for a tutorial, and so on. The best way to ensure that your bank supports online banking is to visit your branch, call the help line, or look on the website for information about online banking options. Most banks will also provide you with safety tips to ensure that you remain safe while using this option, as you may be understandably nervous about it at first.

Online banking has a number of advantages over the “traditional” way of banking, and while the latter isn’t likely to phase out any time soon, early adopters of this technology are already benefiting from the pros of online banking.