This week, we're discussing integrating the web into our real lives. So far, we've discussed how the internet has replaced the need for a phonebook, newspaper, or encyclopedia for many people, and that "social networking," is the new "networking. Now, let's talk about a real stickler for a lot of folks - handling financial transactions online.
In the days of yore (circa 2001) we wrote "checks." These were little pieces of paper, which kept records of money being transferred from one person's account to another person's account. They were safer than cash in many cases, because there was a paper trail, a record, which could be used to retrieve money in some cases if it were intercepted by the wrong party (unlike cash). These little pieces of paper traveled through countless hands, and sat on countless desks - just asking to be fraudulently used. This number increased if the checks had to be mailed.
So, someone sat down, and realized that it would be safer to minimize the number of people handling these checks, and came up with the idea of electronic billing, which really required only two people - the payor and the payee. And a new way of doing business was born.
It wasn't really as simple as all of that, and of course there is also the opportunity for fraud in electronic banking and billing, but the fact remains that the fewer people w ho handle money, the fewer opportunities there are for theft and fraud. Nowadays, people are safely making purchases, handling their bank accounts, paying bills, paying taxes, and making donations online. We're going to talk about online shopping later in the week, and it is important to know that many online retailers and service providers do not accept checks - they require electronic payment. So, it is important to learn how to complete electronic financial transactions correctly and safely.
Following are some great resources:
Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is a trainer and tech writer in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking. Her weakness is the mocha frappuccino.