0 hidden charges. 0 forex

Online-first banking vs traditional banking: What's the difference?

Reviewed by
Created on
March 28, 2023


What’s Inside

Online-first banking is the banking equivalent of ordering food through Swiggy or Zomato vs. going to a restaurant’s takeaway counter. You can do pretty much anything related to baking digitally today thanks to internet speeds, digital security and the availability of mobile and laptop devices. Maybe with the exception of things like a cheque deposit, or signing physical forms, pretty much everything is possible. Even cheque deposits have alternate methods today.

Anyway, in this blog, we’ll compare e-banking and traditional banking and perhaps make a case for online-first banking.

Traditional or virtual banking: which is better for business?

Online-first, virtual banking is clearly faster and more convenient than traditional banking. You are able to access your account online, view balance, make payments, clear dues, and even open new accounts, pretty much any location. All you need is an internet connection and an electronic device. 

Traditional banking requires your physical presence at a bank branch. Also, banking hours are limited to certain hours of operation, and this poses more restrictions.

That said, there are certain procedures where it is either mandatory or preferable for you to visit a bank branch. Such as taking a housing loan for a large amount, or consulting with a relationship manager for value-added banking services like wealth management. Simply because in some cases, it’s better to meet and speak to another person before trusting them with your money.

So, depending on the amount of money or time at stake, you can choose either option.

Differences between a traditional and an online-first account 


Aspects of Banking

Traditional Banking

Digital Banking


Through ATMs and bank branches

Through mobile apps and other means online

Operational Hours

Restricted hours of business

Available 24 x 7

Fees and Charges

High charges and fees depending on the bank

Low or nil fees since processes and services are conducted online


There is a requirement of more time, effort and paperwork

Quick and convenient processes through user-friendly portals 


Rapid and very easy through menu-driven and clear methods

Customers are required to make personal visits to banks and this takes more time and more effort. 


Conventional security

Efficient and advanced technology-based security standards

Customer Service

Over a phone call or when a customer visits a bank branch

Available via chat or through email


As mentioned at the start, a virtual account feels like ordering food online instead of going to a restaurant. It's faster, more convenient, and available 24/7. You can do almost everything online, from checking balances to making payments. While there are times when you may need to visit a bank branch, an online-first account covers most of your day-to-day needs. It's simple, saves time, and offers as much if not better security. Customer service is also accessible through online channels. Traditional banking has its place, but an online-first account wins for accessibility, convenience, and speed. As technology advances, online-first banking will likely be the go-to choice for most people. So, why not embrace the digital revolution and enjoy the benefits it offers?

Looking to open a savings account online? It takes all of 3 minutes

Fi Money offers a seamless way to manage your money. Open a zero-balance savings account online for free. Enjoy a VISA Platinum debit card with no hidden fees. Safely save, make instant payments, track expenses, and budget smarter. Upgrade for premium features and earn up to 4x rewards. Experience the future of financial management with Fi Money. Also, depending on your needs, using Fi can be very rewarding; there are wide range of account types you can check out right here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the advantages of traditional banking?

Traditional banking provides personalised guidance and in-person interaction for big loans and specialised services. It offers tailored solutions for important financial decisions, while an online-first account focuses on convenience. It's about finding the right balance between personal touch and convenience.

What are the advantages of a virtual savings account over traditional banking?

A virtual savings account is faster and more convenient than traditional banking. You can access your account, make payments, and open accounts from anywhere. No branch visits or limited banking hours. However, for important transactions, like large loans or personalized advice, branch visits may be necessary. It depends on the amount of money and time involved. If you value convenience, go digital. For complex matters, consider in-person interactions. Choose the banking option that suits your needs.


Fi Money is not a bank; it offers banking services through licensed partners and investment services through epiFi Wealth Pvt. Ltd. and its partners. This post is for information only and is not professional financial advice.
Share this article
Copied Link!
Online-first banking vs traditional banking: What's the difference?


View similar articles in
Get the Fi app