Microsoft Money: How Do I Sign Up for Online Banking or Online Investing?

Microsoft75 Microsoft Money: How Do I Sign Up for Online Banking or Online Investing?
Stephen L. Nelson, CPA asked:

Individuals and small businesses sometimes balk about using personal finance and small business accounting programs like Microsoft Money for online banking or online investing. However, the sign-up process is usually very straightforward. And–and here’s the good news–the signup process is usually the only task that requires any true effort on your part.

Signing Up for Online Banking

To sign up for online banking, you need to talk to your bank. Specifically, you need to get the bank’s online banking application form, complete the form, and turn it in.

After you have turned in the form, your bank will send you a letter that explains how to connect to the service—this is really very easy—and give you a personal identification number, or PIN, that you’ll need to supply to Money so it can communicate with the bank’s online banking system over the Internet.

NOTE Your PIN may come in a second letter for security reasons.

Typically, once you’ve signed up for online banking, you use the service to pay bills, transfer money, and get up-to-date account information from your bank.

But let me make a quick observation. Although online banking can be a very helpful tool, the feature isn’t so powerful that it warrants switching from one bank to another. Switching banks is a headache.

You definitely don’t want to move from a well-run, convenient bank to a poorly run or inconvenient bank. What’s more, while online banking might save you time, it isn’t quite the silver bullet some of its proponents would have you believe.

Signing Up for Online Investing

Online investing services work roughly the same way as online banking services. To use online investing, you need to sign up for the service with your online broker. This probably means you complete an application, and then receive and follow instructions on how to set up Money for use of the service.

One clarification: You don’t actually buy and sell securities from within Money. Money’s support of online investing works like this: You buy and sell securities in the usual manner—probably using your web browser and an online broker’s web site. Money helps with your investment record keeping for this activity. What you may be able to do, what you should hope you will be able to do, is have the online brokerage web site automatically send investment transaction information to Money. By doing this, you won’t have to enter transactions in the Money investment registers. The online broker’s web site will do it for you. This is a great time saver—especially if you are an active trader.

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