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The Internets popularity has risen greatly in the last few years and its popularityhas forced most industries to go online The Internets millions of users have attractedcommercal banks People are increasingly using the Internet for financial services inaddtion to using the Internet for research education The last few years have seen an explosive proliferation of the Internet with millions of usersaround the world logging on for a growing number of purposes People shop research takeclasses and file their taxes on the net and increasingly are using online banking services tomanage their personal finances Personal computers telephonic banking and increasinglysophisticated automated teller machines are becoming commonplace as consumers abandondaily or weekly trips to their local bank branches in favor of more convenient electronic financialservice Although consumers appreciate the speed and convenience of electronic banking thereis growing concern over the security of Internet transmissions HR 2937 for example providesfor the recognition of digital authentication in place of signatures a move that has supporterspraising the technological savvy of the banking industry but leaves some critics deeply concernedat the possibility of misuse by criminal hackers While ATMs are a more secure form of electronic banking consumers are paying in other waysFifty-four percent of the nations banks add surcharges for the convenience of using the ATMs oftheir competitors banks and many independent ATMs operated by non-depository institutions arecharging fees as well Critics led by Sen Alfonse DAmato D-NY are calling for a ban of thesesurcharges saying that banks are profiting by gouging customers with outrageous fees Othersargue however that banks make little or no profit off the surcharges and that independent ATMoperators -- who place their ATMs in traditionally unprofitable yet highly convenient locations likeairports and grocery stores -- need to charge nominal fees just to break even Electronic banking is here to stay and is growing along with the Internet as a whole This sectionlooks at the impact it will have on consumers and the banking industry the conflicting
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