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Important Update: Changes in FDIC Deposit Insurance Coverage

The FDIC deposit insurance rules have undergone a series of changes starting in the fall of 2008. As a result, certain previously published information related to FDIC insurance coverage may not reflect the current rules. For details about the changes, visit Changes in FDIC Deposit Insurance Coverage. For more information about FDIC insurance, go to www.fdic.gov/deposit/deposits/index.html or call toll-free 1-877-ASK-FDIC (1-877-275-3342). For the hearing-impaired, the number is 1-800-925-4618.

Summer 2005

A Shopper's Guide to Bank Products and Services

Pros and Cons of Banking Over the Internet

Reasons in Favor

Convenience: You can shop for financial products any time from anywhere you have an Internet connection.

More competition: You may be able to find a better price or a product that more closely meets your needs.

Easy comparison shopping: "With a few clicks of the mouse you can easily find and compare different products and rates," said Aurelia Cardamone, a Senior Technology Specialist in the FDIC's Division of Supervision and Consumer Protection. "Some consumer Web sites aggregate consumer feedback about financial institutions and their products."

The potential for lower fees: Some banks may waive certain fees for online customers, such as those for ATM withdrawals, to attract more users.

Reasons to Think Twice or Take Extra Precautions

No face-to-face contact: You won't be sitting down with a bank representative who can explain key terms or guide you in deciding which product best suits your needs. "It also may be more difficult to investigate a problem since you can't always go down to the branch," Cardamone said.

Some transactions may be more cumbersome or take longer: You may have to rely on the mail to sign important documents, make deposits or conduct other business.

Exposure to Internet risks: Your computer needs a firewall and updated virus and anti-spyware protection to keep your personal information from being stolen by hackers. Be sure you are dealing with a legitimate Web site, and never provide bank account numbers and other personal information in response to an unsolicited e-mail. Also remember that crooks use fake e-mails and Web sites to trick consumers into divulging personal information. For tips on guarding against fake Web sites and fraudulent e-mails, see the brochure You Can Fight Identity Theft on the FDIC Web site at www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/fighttheft/index.html.

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Last Updated 5/17/2005