ONLINE BANKING
On a typical list of New Year’s resolutions, you’ll probably find at least one relating to money. Save more, spend less, start a budget. Sound familiar?

How about tackling several at once — with Online Banking? Security fears have faded, thanks to the ubiquitous Secure Sockets Layer technology, and more and more people are choosing hands-on Internet accounts. It can be a convenient way to pay your bills and monitor your money. It can even help with financial planning.

“It gives you the ability to download all your information into personal finance software,” says San Francisco certified financial planner David Yeske. “That’s huge.

You can do analysis, education planning, retirement planning; you can even export into personal tax software.”

A longtime online banking procrastinator, Yeske took the plunge earlier this year. He says he’s probably typical of most people who think the switch will be a hassle. “I anticipated it would take a lot of time to set up and learn how to use it,” says Yeske, who’s also incoming president of the Financial Planning Association. “It took about 30 minutes. I was kicking myself for not trying sooner.”

One caveat: Don’t forget to back up your data often or print out hard copies for your files. And shop around, just as you would for an “in-person” account. Check out www.Bankrate.com to get information on the kind of account you need and where to get the best rates and lowest fees. Then start crossing off that list of resolutions.