Despite the growing popularity of digital banking, physical banks cannot be discounted

In current times, especially in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, both employers and consumers are relying heavily on technology. However, for business owners, in particular, technology is not the answer to all their issues. Specifically, although online banking has become more prevalent and widely used, businesses must consider the advantages of physical branch banks and the limitations of digital banks.

Financial advice

Especially for small business owners, the ability to speak and meet with someone face to face is beyond beneficial. Business owners may seek guidance from financial professionals and experts at physical banks. 

For one, the responsibility of packaging, deliveries, maintenance and customer service may lead to mismanaging money and even cash flow difficulties that may result in business closures. Speaking with the right advisor can offer accurate projections and observe growth trends to decrease risks and increase economic and investment opportunities. 

Overall, the presence of a professional at a physical bank is unmatched when it comes to advice on how to grow a company. Whether you need business loans, advice with international trade or services for managing cash, real-life bankers can provide big-picture solutions specific to your business. 

Ultimately, technology will not cater precisely to your needs. That is something mainly physical banks and financial professionals can only provide, tailored to your needs and delivered to you in-person

Loans and lines of credit

Business owners must also consider the stages of their company’s growth. Loans and lines of credit can offer solutions when needing quick access to capital needs or to fund long-term investments. Take, for instance, a situation where you desire to remodel a building and need a large sum of money. You will likely need to take out a loan, which is something physical banks can definitely provide, while online-only banks may not. In fact, digital banks don’t usually offer loans, but physical banks can easily support your needs given that you meet their prerequisites.

However, loans are not only applicable when faced with large projects. Short-term business loans and lines of credit are especially useful for owners when they need to buy extra inventory or pay employees during a slower season. Taking out loans and lines of credit are not a rare occurrence for business owners. In fact, employers will reasonably rely heavily on what physical banks offer.

Access to cash

Although the pandemic has pushed both consumers and business owners to cashless commerce, there are clear disadvantages and implications for inclusion that a cashless society produces for especially vulnerable groups of people.

In fact, a survey conducted by Pew Research Center in December 2018 found that 34% of black people, 17% of Hispanic people and 29% of those earning under $30,000 rely on cash for most of their purchases. Simply put, there are large numbers of customers who cannot relinquish their access to cash for various reasons. Should business owners desire to target multiple groups of people and be inclusive when expanding their audience, cash-free may not be the answer. 

Furthermore, going cashless may result in inconvenient and devastating fees. According to the National Retail Federation, the fees imposed on businesses for credit transactions are over $70 billion per year. And, because the United States does not have a cap on the fees they can charge, the average fee is around 2%; the European Union caps fees at 0.3%. The cost of accepting card payments will add up and may hurt your business’s growth in the long run.

From consumer demand to card payment costs, business owners must have access to cash and bank branches to thrive. However, although check deposits are not difficult and some online banks have systems in place to deposit cash, it is exponentially tougher to deal with high-volume cash deposits at an online-only bank. 

The takeaway

While the use of online banking is becoming increasingly popular, digital banking simply cannot replace the numerous advantages of physical banking. 

Business owners cannot disregard the invaluable face-to-face contact that physical banks provide, as it is crucial for success. From practical advice to loans and credit card fees, businesses should consider banking with physical branch banks rather than digital banks, no matter how technologically advanced the world seems to become.

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Ohnyu Che

Ohnyu Che

My name is Ohnyu Che, and I am a Journalism Intern for Meadowlands Media and the Meadowlands Chamber. I am currently a senior attending Bergen County Technical High School in Teterboro, New Jersey as an Automotive Engineering and Design student, and I hope to pursue journalism in my future college endeavors. The below portfolio represents the full body of my work taken from Meadowlands Media as well as my voting advocacy blog, Raising the Sixty (raisingthesixty.com). I can be contacted at ohnyuche@gmail.com.

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