PC Alamode
Reviews Columns Features Archives

 PC Alamode

Online Banking
My Experience

Vade Forrester is a longtime contributor to PC Alamode and a working Alamo PC volunteer. He is a past president of Alamo PC and has served three terms on the Board of Directors.

I hate their commercials. But thatís about all I can find to complain about. Jefferson State Bank offers a robust online banking service, which has steadily improved since its inception. Originally accessed via dial-in modem, about a year ago it transferred its access to the Internet.  Although at first there were a few anomalies, like large discrepancies between the ATM computer balance and the daily ledger, those seem to have been worked out.  The cordial personal support from the Jefferson State Bank staff has been a definite asset, helping work through some of the difficulties with early software problems. Their support staff, although available only during banking hours, are extremely friendly and genuinely helpful. When I have identified problems to them, they have made obvious attempts to fix them. 

Jefferson State Bank uses web-based software for its banking services, so all you need to use it is a browser. All sensitive parts of their web pages are encrypted to provide security. Some encrypted sites are downright slow, but not Jefferson State Bankís. After logging on, the first screen you view is an account summary, which shows you your account balance. There are four options you can then pick: detail, statement, history, and transfer to/from. Detail shows you all account activity for the last month. Itís useful to verify a check has cleared. An Update Balance button is available to make the bank computer run an update on your balance to be sure it recognizes the latest transactions. 

The Statement option actually computes a monthly statement for you. Itís just like the printed statement you receive every month by mail. You can print it out if you like. The History option lets you display or download account information between any specified dates. Downloads may be in Quicken, Money, or several other formats. The Transfer To/From option lets you move money from one account to another on a particular date. Transfers can be either one-time, or on a recurring basis.

Another option, accessible though a button on the banner at the top of the page, is a Payments option. This lets you make electronic payments through funds transfers. It is not recommended for paying taxes, since the payment would arrive without your tax return. Payments can be either on a one-time basis, or recurring. 

A User Services button lets you manage your account. You can change your password or address, or set user preferences (like which view you see when you log on). You can also take standard banking actions like stopping a payment, ordering checks, request documents (like loan applications), or buy savings bonds.

A Messages button lets you send a message to the bankís staff. These are secure messages and are only viewable from within the encrypted web site. I have always received prompt, courteous replies to messages I have sent.

So with software like this, do you still need Quicken or Money? Maybe. Those programs are far more powerful and store more info. The Jefferson State Bank software doesnít tell you what a check was for, only the check number and date it cleared the bank. So for doing budget analysis, Jefferson State Bankís software is a bust. But thatís not itís purpose.

Although I picked a predecessor of Jefferson State Bank as my bank before online banking existed, Iím very pleased with their services. Online banking is only as good as the bank behind it. From my perspective, Jefferson State Bank is a great bank to deal with, online or in person.

Copyright© 1996-2010
Alamo PC Organization, Inc.
San Antonio, TX USA