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Online Banking Survey Results, Part 3 of 3

The following comments and opinions are a portion of the many received in response to the following request:

I pay my monthly bills through my bank account, online, and I watch it regularly. I have Quicken 2000, but I do not go online with it, as I am afraid of all the opportunities for "spies." I tried it and didn't like it, it was confusing.

Before I changed my mortgage, I watched the rates, finally used my regular company here in Indianapolis. Online was a big mess.

I have a Vanguard IRA and also a Mutual Funds account. I am notified when to do it, and download my reports instead of having them sent by mail.

I have also watched long-term care programs, they are not available for me.

Microsoft has been increasingly helpful, IBM so-so, ATT Worldwide seems to be trying very hard, but Mr. Modem has been the best fit for me so far.

I use online banking to monitor my account balances. I don't pay bills online because I like having the control over when I pay rather than having someone else decide. I also like having my cancelled check as proof of payment. I know our society is getting closer by the day to a cashless or paperless system, but I'll go kicking and screaming. I do shop online without fear of security breeches, and I surf a lot.

I thought I would participate in your online banking survey. I have a feeling it will help get me over the hump to know what others are doing. I have until now only checked balances online. I do have a fear that I will lose control of my accounts and that one of my payees will access my accounts without my permission. I have a strong feeling that you will say this isn't so, but I have been extremely hesitant to take that step.

I use the Internet for retirement planning by surfing the "Over 55Ē mobile home parks in Florida - which, incidentally, my husband of almost 49 years is not the least bit interested in. I watch our retirement accounts, but donít do any online bill-paying. Itís not that Iím afraid of it, it just is so foreign to me, I donít know where to start. I felt the same way the first time I had to pump my own gas. I just sat there and looked at it.

I bank online only -- no branches. Checking account is with Netbank. I pay 95% of my bills online. 50% of bills are now set up as e-bills. I research and purchase investments and insurance online (sometimes research online, but buy by phone or in person). I transfer funds online, sweeping between accounts to get the best interest rates. My entire portfolio is set up on Quicken and with one touch (and a password) our portfolio is updated. I download credit card transactions into Money and track against a budget.

For over a year now I have paid almost all of my bills online and, where available, using ebills. Early on, I had a bad experience when the bank paid the wrong utility with money addressed to another utility resulting in my receiving a water shut-off notice. But that only happened once and the bank improves on their methods each month. I have transferred funds without any difficulty. I have not tried any of their other services primarily because I don't need them.

As a closet agoraphobic, I do everything that I possibly can online. I use my bank's online service linked to my Quicken program so I can use the "One-Step Update" feature of Quicken to instantly download my checking account info. If I had a savings account, I'd use it for that, too.

Most of my bills are paid automatically by Electronic Funds Transfer set up individually with each company when it's available -- car insurance, phone, cable, electric, car payments, mortgage, IRA investments; basically everything except credit cards.

Credit cards, I pay online, but not automatically, because sometimes I want to pay less than the full amount due.

Whenever possible I choose the "No paper bill" option, to avoid having to wait for the mail and risking missing a payment because the bill never arrived.

I do as much shopping as possible on the Internet, but I use mostly companies that I'm familiar with or that I've researched at least a little. I've never had a bad experience shopping this way. I buy gifts, cosmetics, nutritional supplements, some clothing and shoes (if returning them isn't a hassle), books, CDs, videos, office supplies, office equipment -- just about anything.

I'm not a big investor, but I do pay my husband's and my Roth IRA accounts automatically every month online. My husband's retirement and disability checks are direct-deposited.

I've used the Internet to compare long-term insurance plans and mortgage rates. If I were in the market for a new mortgage, I think I would try Lending Tree. We're now in the process of planning a move from Boston back to Wisconsin, and we're using the 'Net extensively to gather info on moving as well as selling and buying real estate. We'll be listing our home on a for-sale-by-owner website called "," which is a well-known and widely used regional company sponsored by East/West Mortgage Company. We're hoping to avoid up to $50,000 in broker commissions by using this system.

Overall, I'm totally happy with using the Internet for online banking. Ive been doing this for a couple of years, and I can't think of even one bad experience. I'm really not worried about security. I just use common sense, deal with known reputable companies, and religiously follow your advice.

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