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Telephone banking is a service provided by a bank or other financial institution, that enables customers to perform a range of financial transactions over the telephone, without the need to visit a bank branch or automated teller machine. Telephone banking times are usually longer than branch opening times, and some financial institutions offer the service on a 24-hour basis. Most financial institutions have restrictions on which accounts may be accessed through telephone banking, as well as a limit on the amount that can be transacted.
The types of financial transactions which a customer may transact through telephone banking include obtaining account balances and list of latest transactions, electronic bill payments, and funds transfers between a customer's or another's accounts.
From the bank's point of view, telephone banking minimises the cost of handling transactions by reducing the need for customers to visit a bank branch for non-cash withdrawal and deposit transactions. Transactions involving cash or documents (such as cheques) are not able to be handled using telephone banking, and a customer needs to visit an ATM or bank branch for cash withdrawals and cash or cheque deposits.
To use a financial institution's telephone banking facility, a customer must first register with the institution for the service. They would be assigned a customer number and they may be given or set up their own password (under various names) for customer verification.
To access telephone banking, the customer would call a special phone number set up by the financial institution. The service can be provided using an automated system, using speech recognition and DTMF technology or by live customer service representatives. After calling the number, they would enter on the keypad the customer number and password. Some financial institutions have set up additional security steps for access, but there is no consistency to the approach adopted. Most telephone banking services use an automated phone answering system with phone keypad response or voice recognition capability. To ensure security, the customer must first authenticate through a numeric or verbal password or through security questions asked by a live representative.