If you ask your parents what’s the first thing that comes to mind when opening an online bank account, they’ll probably say long queues, documents to carry, and many signatures needed. This is often followed by an exhausting sigh.
Times sure have changed. We now get everything from food and cabs to dates on our phones with the tap of a button. Opening a bank account online is no different. It takes about as long as making yourself a cup of coffee, and it is in fact getting quicker and more accurate.
A digital bank account is a fully online bank account, where all the actions, transactions, requisitions and resolutions are done digitally. This is not exactly the same as the mobile banking account of your physically opened bank account.
It’s an account with a digital bank where all your banking activities happen online. If you prefer traditional banks with added convenience then digital banks can be your thing. With digital banks, the account opening is now paperless, takes a few minutes and can be opened from the comfort of your home by simply using the PAN and Aadhaar card as primary requisites.
And the best part?
An online bank account usually has no minimum balance requirement. In India, regulations mandate that online bank accounts are not fully digital from a bank’s perspective. This means that although you may be allowed to open the account digitally, your money will actually be held by a bank with physical branches.
Digital accounts come with the option to create a virtual debit card, you can use your digital bank account for online shopping, bill payments, money transfers etc. as well.
The short answer - just about anyone with a smartphone. If you’re someone who’s used to ordering food online, or streaming movies and shows on your phone, then you’re going to benefit from online banking as a whole. Online bank account opening takes pretty much the same effort as shopping online.
Most traditional banks have imbibed technology in their ecosystem and now offer digital bank accounts. So, here are some factors to look out for while choosing your online bank account:
While no online bank account can offer the interest rates you get while keeping your money safely in a fixed or recurring deposit account, competition will make various banks dish out aggressive interest rates. It’ll always be beneficial to compare.
Having an online bank account will be of little use if the transactions you can make are limited. Apart from making digital payments, you should have other value-added services — checking your balance instantly, figuring out expenses, downloading statements, auto-paying bills, investing your spare change with a single screen tap, etc. That's where Fi comes in; check it out.
While many online or digital bank accounts don’t require you to maintain a minimum balance, some banks may, or a specific type of account may. And when the criteria are not met, they may charge a penalty. There could be other transactional fees involved too, like SMS charges, ATM withdrawal/deposit charges, charges for exceeding transaction limits, etc. Psst… did you know a Fi account has no hidden fees?
It is always beneficial to digitally have a variety of payment methods while on the move. You should ensure that the digital account offers various transaction options like a debit card (virtual and physical), UPI, digital wallet etc.
If an online bank account makes your life simpler, and more convenient and provides benefits similar to any other traditional bank and much more, then it makes sense to consider them, right?
That’s exactly what Fi does in partnership with Federal Bank.
Did I have apprehensions before opening a savings account with Fi? Well, maybe a tad bit. How long did it take for those apprehensions to disappear? Less than the time it took to make my cup of coffee. Why?
To begin with, no paperwork. You are able to open the account online while sitting on your sofa and sipping your coffee. And it’s also lightning quick and clutter-free. The fun won’t end here. In fact, it will intrigue you to know Fi has features such as:
Your digital piggy bank will give you a 5.45% return on savings per year.
You can save automatically each time an event occurs, that could even mean you order food online. These are decided on the basis of conditions defined by you, and these conditions are called FIT Rules. You can set up FIT Rules even to invest money for you in a Mutual Fund.
Another terrific feature! You can link your accounts from other banks to Fi for convenient on-view financial management.
Zero Forex charges on a debit card that works using VISA power and will get you discounts and deals across a variety of online services.
If you’re stoked enough, then here are the steps and requirements of the Fi account opening process.
And? That’s all, folks. You’re set, and by updating your physical address, you can receive your debit card in a few days. Now, when someone asks you, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you open a bank account? Your answer should be just a few taps on your phone!
Digital banking delivers largely on grounds of superior experience as compared to physical or traditional banking methods. Most digital banks are essentially services that are built on top of a traditional Regulatory Authority approved savings account hosted by a partner bank. Where digital banks win is in offering a great user experience through an app. Digital banking apps usually have apps with clean design, user-focused features like lower (or no) charges, tech-based enhancements like automation and more. The list goes on.
But features aside, digital banks provide one thing that traditional banks currently cannot - and that is accessibility. You can open an account from anywhere in India with a good internet connection, or even request for a statement, a cheque book, invest, and more.
With most digital banks, all you need is a smart phone, a good internet connection, good lighting, and your PAN card. With Fi Money, your online account opening can be done in 3 minutes. Read our detailed guide on it here.
In general, it's not possible to open a bank account with a virtual card alone. While a virtual card can be used for online transactions, it's not considered a valid form of identification for opening a bank account. In most cases, you will need to provide a physical ID such as a passport, driver's licence, or Aadhaar card to open a bank account. However, some banks may allow you to complete the account opening process online or through a mobile app, but you may still need to provide physical ID documents at some point in the process.