Banking on the Internet is the bizz
1 April 2005 | 0
Online banking can have some very tangible benefits for a small business. Ciaran Scallan, service delivery manager with the Bank of Ireland’s online banking service, Business Online, sees the convenience factor as a very compelling reason for business managers to make the switch from cheques and paper-based transfers to electronic transactions.
‘Without holding on a customer service line, managers can get the balances on multiple accounts, and ascertain as to whether a particular cheque has hit a supplier’s account from the comfort of their office or home PC. And the fact that the service is 24/7 means that business managers can do their banking at home in the evening and at weekends, so it frees up more time for the running of the business.’
The Bank of Ireland service also offers cost savings to small firms. Scallan estimates that the average cost of sending a cheque in the post is 90c whereas an electronic transaction costs an average of 24c.
BOI’s online banking service currently boasts 17,000 customers and for a subscription payment of €15, the service offers the user the ability to check debits from a business account, perform payroll and direct debit transfers.
Scallan promises that by early next year, the service will be fully integrated with the most popular small business accounting packages. For those managers worried about security and privacy, the service is protected by 128-bit SSL encryption and a PKI solution that requires a subscriber to have a user ID, password and digital certificate before they can access the service.
James Clarke, marketing executive, Bank of Ireland, is pleased with the success of the service so far: He remarks ‘It took ten years to get 2000 customers, ten months to get the second 2000 and ten weeks to get the third.’ As for security concerns, a Business Online satisfaction survey conducted by BOI in March 2002 revealed that 93 per cent of users were satisfied with the level of encryption attached to the service.