It is now possible to open a checking account online with all the advances in today’s technology. Before the development of electronics communication technology, and especially before the birth of the Internet as we know it today, there was no way that anyone could open a checking account online. There was not even an “online” environment to talk about. The environment was an immaculate office space enclosed by solid walls of a banking institution.
A bank client who wished to have a checking account generally had to come personally to the bank, discuss his intention with the staff, and then go through the steps of opening the account.
The guiding principle when you open an account online today is the same as that in the classic, manual way of opening the account: Trust. A checking account is a privilege that is granted only to individuals (and corporations) who can be trusted to use it properly, fairly, and lawfully. If placed in the wrong hands, this account can result in financial losses to others and smear the reputation of the host bank.
In the old days, banks would never allow an account to be opened by persons they do not know personally. Typically, one could open such account only after having established a good track record as a savings account depositor and/or borrower of the bank. That usually meant a year or more of satisfactory bank-client relationship.
Then electronics communication technology entered the scene and the buzz word “online” became a household and corporate conversation topic. When it was new, online banking was not really sophisticated by today’s standards. It was more of automated queries and fund transfers via telephone dialing.
The real bells and whistles of online banking came when the Internet (the Worldwide Web) was born and rapidly developed into a very powerful technology. The Internet redefined many, but not all, of the rules of banking. It also changed the banking service paradigm.